Castledoe,
County Donegal

On a remote rocky promontory by the upper reaches of Sheephaven Bay, stands the grim four-storey tower house of Castledoe - one of the most fought-over and disputed castles in Ireland. It was built in the 1520s by MacSweeney Doe, head of a fiery and quarrelsome tributary sept of the O'Donnells, who were constantly engaged in internecine wars usually over possession of the castle, which was besieged and captured at least twenty times before being abandoned at the close of the 17th century. The halcyon years at Castledoe came during the chieftancy of Eoghan Og II MacSweeny, the foster-father of Red Hugh O'Donnell, who was famed for his hospitality, patronage of the bards and for harbouring shipwrecked sailors of the Spanish Armada.

In 1596 the castle passed to Mulmurry MacSweeney Doe, an unsavoury tyrant who tried disobedient vassals in the castle's great hall; those of the condemned he wished to honour he brained with his club, while the less fortunate were strung up on meat hooks from the castle's parapets. It is said that in order to prevent the marriage of his daughter to Turlough Oge O'Boyle, the unfortunate man was cast into the dungeon and starved to death. The castle was in ruins by the 1790s, when it was repaired by General Vaughan Harte, and sold in 1864. It was occupied by tenants until the end of the century, but afterwards allowed to fall into ruin again.

3 km (2 miles) NE of Creeslough on the coast. NGR: C 085318