Just a few miles from Mizen Head, on the north side of the peninsula, is Three Castles Head. Any mention of castles gets Jack to break out the hiking poles so off we went towards Dunlough Fort.
You can’t drive all the way there, and what you can drive is an unpaved track. A nearby farmer has set up a car park where you pay a couple of Euros to a young man who presumably watches your vehicle while you tramp up to the castle.
The name is confusing. The headland is called Three Castles, but there’s only one castle and it’s called a fort. The castle has three towers, hence the name Three Castles Head.
The path starts easy enough. Before long we were wheezing up a steep rocky trail that switched back and forth around hillocks and rock piles.
When we crested the hill we finally saw the castle and paused to catch our breath and take in the sweeping landscape.
It’s still a long way down. The distances are deceiving!
The castle is beautiful, as 13th century ruins go. We loved the many arches.
The real magic of Dunlough Castle is the setting, perched on the edge of a lake, with views out to the sea. It’s postcard perfect.
We thought it couldn’t get any better until we discovered a trail that leads further up the slope. And as we all know by now, Jack can’t resist getting to the top. So up we went.
What a stunning place! I know we say that a lot, but this is really one of our favorite castle ruins. Of course the brilliant weather helped.
We could have stayed for hours but it’s a long way home. We hiked back down to castle level and followed the path along the lake for a bit. Then it was time to start the steep trek down towards the sea and overland to Escape Velocity.
Believe it or not, this beautiful day isn’t over yet.