Dunskey Castle

Dunskey Castle, Dumfries and Galloway

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Castle Bay Holiday Park,


Off Portree Terrace, A77



The magnificent ruins of Dunskey Castle are picturesquely perched on a rocky outcrop jutting out into the Irish Sea.

Access to the castle is through the adjoining caravan park where with consideration you can park with a short walk to the castle.

The views along the rugged cliff tops are spectacular, as is the castle itself which is well worth exploring.

~ History ~

1455 ~ Gilbert Kennedy, 1st Lord Kennedy of Dunure obtains the ward of Kynhilt and with it Dunskey Castle.

1456 ~  Rolland Adair comes of age and enherits Dunskey Castle, for which Gilbert Kennedy is compensated for losing.

1486 ~ With the death of Rolland Adair and his heir William still a minor, Dunskey Castle is granted to Alexander Bruce until his maturity.

1488 ~ William Adair of Dunskey Castle & Kinhilt and McCulloch of nearby Ardwell, Stoneykirk, are attacked by sheriff Quentin Agnew of Lochnaw Castle and his band of men.

1489 ~ Agnew is pursued before the Lords of Council and is forced to pay for the goods taken, but is entitled to a rebate if he returned them in good order.

1496 ~ Dunskey castle is captured and burnt by Uchtred McDowell of Garthland and Sir Alexander M'CCulloch of Myrton, in retaliation for the murder of Dionysius of Hamilton at Wigtown, win which William Adair of Dunskey is implicated.

1500's ~ William Adair, who is married into the powerful Kennedy Clan through his wife Helen Kennedy, builds a new castle protected on three sides by sheer cliffs and a deep ditch on the landward side.

1513 ~ William Adair is killed at the Battle of Flodden. His son and heir Ninian inherits his fathers estates. He sets about making improvements to the castle.

1523 ~ Ninian's son and heir William, is recorded as being the heir of Dunskey Castle following the death of his father. He is however still a minor and so the castle is placed into the care of Gilbert Kennedy, 2nd Earl of Cassilis and Lord Maxwell

1620 ~ The castle is purchased by Viscount Hugh Montgomery, who adds a new wing connected to the north of the existing tower.

1640's ~ Hugh's grandson, also called Hugh, supports the Royalist cause during the Wars of Three Kingdoms and predominantly fights in Ireland where the majority of his estates are located. He remains a committed Royalist throughout the wars but ultimately surrenders to Oliver Cromwell after which his property is confiscated and he is sent into exile.

1652 ~ Although allowed to return in 1652, Hugh's estates are withheld and instead he is given a small allowance.

Throughout this period of exile Dunskey Castle is in the hands of James Blair, to whom Hugh had leased the castle in 1648.

1660's ~ Hugh's financial troubles afford the Blair family the opportunity to take full ownership of the castle but they also acquired numerous other estates at this time and Dunskey became superfluous. It is abandoned soon after and its coastal location meant the castle quickly deteriorated.

1684 ~ The castle is reported as ruinous.