Doe Castle sits deep in Sheephaven Bay, in a spectacular location on the shore near Creeslough village. It was a stronghold of the MacSweeney Clan who came to Donegal from Scotland as Gallowglasses (professional fighters).
The central keep dates probably from the middle of the 15th century and was later enclosed by a bawn wall with flanker and gun loops. Surrounded by water on three sides, a deep fosse was carved out of rock to protect its landward side. It is said that survivors from the Spanish Armada were sheltered here by the MacSweeneys and it was here that the young Red Hugh O’Donnell was fostered.
The castle saw many changes in its fortunes in the turbulent 17th century surviving siege and canon fire. It was finally restored and extended by General George Vaughan Hart who transformed the castle into a country manor in the early 19th century complete with crenelated battlements. His initials can be seen above the doorway on the east side of the keep.
In 1934 it came under the protection of the Office of Public Works. They carried out extensive restoration work in the late 1990s. The grounds are open each day from dawn to dusk and guided tours of the castle are available daily in July and August.
Have a refreshing cuppa while enjoying the view at Doe Castle Coffee which is just beside the castle.