Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Edward Bruce's 'Northburgh' Castle (Greencastle, Inishowen, Donegal)

A few pics from last week's road trip, of the remains of the castle that has been called 'Edward Bruce's Northern Court'. Strategically positioned at the mouth of Lough Foyle, Greencastle (also known as Northburgh), was built by Richard de Burgh, Earl of Ulster, in 1305 at a time when he was extending his authority in the north of Ireland. It was captured by Edward Bruce in 1316, and his army held it until his death in battle in 1318.

The Ulster Journal of Archaeology said:

'... Edward Bruce "remained quiet" for a year, or, as it was said, "reigned" in Ulster. The historian Moore observes that the Scots, "taking possession of Northburgh castle, sat down quietly in their quarters, and Bruce kept his court, and took cognizance of all pleas, as composedly as if it were in times of profound peace." The mention of Northburgh seemingly implies that this fortress was Bruce's head quarters. Our annalist, Grace, states that the Scots had previously taken this place, which is better known as "Greencastle", situated on the further point of Inishowen; a situation so remote that it could not have served as a central post, for which the principal town in Eastern Ulster, namely Carrickfergus, was most suitable; and here, at this period, the metrical narrative says "Schyr Edward the worthy, with all hys chivalry, was Hand ...'

(Magilligan Point and Binevenagh in County Londonderry are visible across the lough.) Re: my previous post, Brian Richmond enjoyed working with me on the Bruce project in 2007 as Northburgh/Greencastle was just a few miles from his own house.