Dunluce Castle close to Portrush is associated with both the McQuillan and McDonnell clans and the earliest parts of the castle date from the fourteenth century. The site was badly damaged by an English artillery attack in 1584 but later repaired and extended by Sorley Boy and James McDonnell. Today the site includes a visitor centre with open access for the public.
Dunseverick Castle (Dun Sohairce) was also associated with the McDonnells and is said to be located at the northern end of one of the five roads radiating from Tara, the ancient capital of Ireland. The Castle was attacked by Danish invaders in 870 and 924AD.
Kinbane Castle is situated on a white limestone headland and was built by Calla Dubh MacDonnell in 1547. Only part of a tall three-story tower and enclosure remains.
Bushmills village was designated a conservation area in 1991 and is the main settlement within the AONB. The growth of the village has been closely associated with the Macnaghten family of Dundarave Estate and with the production of whiskey. In 1782 there was not one, but five distilleries in the village! At various times the River Bush has provided water power for several flax and corn mills, a spade mill, paper mill and latterly an electricity generating station.
With over 90 listed buildings the Bushmills conservation area is one of the most important in the north east area. Almost the entire east and west sides of Main Street are listed and other important features include Market Square and the Old Grammar School which was designed by Clough William Ellis. Also of interest are the various kilns, malt houses and stores associated with the Old Bushmills Distillery.
Beyond Bushmills, the parish church at Ballintoy provides one of the most striking landmarks on the coast. Nearby, but further inland, the old rectory at Mount Druid House is also an impressive building. A more unusual building, ‘Bendhu House’, was designed and built by a local artist and sculptor, Newton Penprase. Now a private residence it can be viewed from the road close to the harbour.