Doe Castle

Doe Castle

Contact Details


Sheephaven Bay,
Co. Donegal.

Tel: 086 8437533


Opening Hours


Daily from 09.00 - 18.00

The grounds are open all year around, but tours inside the Castle must be with a guide .

Guided tours of the Castle are facilitated by local community group, Moving Mevagh Forwarddaily during July and August only, Tel: 086 843 7533

Please note the Heritage Card is not accepted at this Site


Admission Fees

Admission to the grounds is free

For Guided tours, a fee of 3 euro per person is applicable to all persons aged 12 and over


Coffee Shop nearby

Doe Castle, a stronghold of the MacSweeney Clan for almost 200 years, sits on the waterline of Sheephaven Bay on The Wild Atlantic Way off the R245 between Carrigart and Creeslough, Co. Donegal.

The Mac Sweeneys, who originally came from Scotland as Gallowglasses or Gallóglaigh mercenaries, became known as Clan tSuibhne na dTuath or Sweeneys of the Territory. The castle became Caislean na dTuath, anglicised as Doe Castle. There were at least thirteen Mac Sweeney chiefs.

The castle tower is believed to have been built in the 1420s; the bawn walls and two storey hall beside the tower in the 1620s.

Survivors of the 1588 Spanish Armada fleet were sheltered at Doe by MacSweeney chief Eoghan Og II - a man described as influential and generous with the gift of good counsel in both war and peace. The young Red Hugh O’Donnell was fostered by Eoghan Og II at Doe.

The last chief of Doe, Maolmhuire an Bhata Bhui, who was knighted by Elizabeth I, marched with Red Hugh to The Battle of Kinsale in 1601. Forty years later a large party of veteran Irish soldiers from France landed at Doe to lead the Gaelic uprising of the 1640s.

In the 1790s, the castle came into the possession of Retired General, George Vaughan Hart, who raised the bawn walls and built the new entrance beside the tower where his initials can still be seen.

Doe was later purchased by a neighbouring landlord, Stewart of Ards, and was occupied until the 1890s. It came under government control in the 1930s.

The deeply carved and highly ornamented Mac Sweeney grave-slab from the nearby Ballymacsweeney graveyard, now inside the tower house, dates  from 1544.

Information panels, on the surrounding bawn walls, and inside the ground floor of the castle, chronicle its history in much more detail.




  • Print this page
  • Bookmark this page