a stone castle on a hill

Doe Castle

By Elena T.

Doe Castle: A Step Back in Time to a Medieval Stronghold in County Donegal

Located in the stunning Sheephaven Bay inlet in County Donegal, Ireland, Doe Castle stands as a reminder of the area's rich history. Although it may not look special from a distance, crossing the ancient gate arch is like taking a step back 400 years.

Inside Doe Castle: A Glimpse into the Past

Once inside, the ruins of Doe Castle are so impressive and admirable that it's hard to look down at your feet. But, even if you do, you'll notice apertures to secret tunnels used in times of trouble, old rocks worn down from thousands of steps, and grass in its intransitive green colour that brings the place to life.

Although the castle is closed to visitors, the magic of the place is so strong that it's hard to leave. A strange desire to look through every opening, climb every stair, and cross every door takes over, and you can stay there for ages.

The Legacy of the MacSweeneys: History and Myth

Doe Castle served as a home, refuge, and bastion for at least 13 MacSweeney chiefs for almost 200 years. The fortress was built in the 1420s, and some chiefs witnessed the most seismic events in Irish history.

For instance, MacSweeney chief Eoghan Og II provided refuge to survivors of the 1588 Spanish Armada fleet at Doe Castle. The last chief of the castle, Maolmhuire an Bhata Bhui, marched out with Red Hugh O'Donnell, lord of Tyrconnell, to the Battle of Kinsale in 1601.

Inside the tower house, you can see an exquisite carved and ornamented Mac Sweeney grave slab dating from 1544. Display panels onsite chronicle the castle's history in fascinating detail.

The water of Sheephaven Bay washes the rocks of the bastion from three sites, singing the eternal song of the universe. Although visitors can't enter the castle, visiting the area is enough to fill your heart with dreams and imagination.

If you plan to visit Doe Castle, wear comfortable shoes and bring a camera to capture the stunning views. While exploring, take the time to appreciate the castle's rich history and immerse yourself in the medieval atmosphere.

📸 Pictures by Elena T.

Doe Castle
Doe Castle
Doe Castle
Doe Castle
Doe Castle
Doe Castle
Doe Castle

Tips for Visitors

  1. Wear comfortable footwear: As you explore the ruins of Doe Castle, you will walk on uneven surfaces and climb up and down staircases. Wear sturdy shoes to prevent slips or falls.

  1. Bring a camera: The castle's architecture and stunning location make it a photographer's dream. Be sure to bring a camera to capture the breathtaking views and intricate details of the castle's stonework.

  1. Check the weather: Doe Castle is located on the coast, so it can sometimes be windy and rainy. Check the weather forecast before your visit and dress accordingly.

  1. Respect the site: Doe Castle is historic, and it's important to treat it respectfully. Don't climb on any of the walls or structures, and take care not to damage any of the ancient stonework or artefacts.


The place has a parking.

Parking (Free)

The place is baby buggy friendly.

Buggy Friendly

The place has a children playground.

Children Friendly

Pets are allowed at the place.

Pets Allowed

Map Location

a person holding a watch

Distance from:

Letterkenny - 27.7 km

Buncrana - 68.8 km

Bunbeg - 36.8 km

Donegal Town - 76.6 km

Derry - 38.5 ml

Visit more Heritage sites for a walk in Donegal