Greenan Castle

Greenan Castle perched on cliff top looking out to the sea

Greenan Castle is perched on a clifftop at Greenan Shore, and is a 16th century, ruined tower house looking over to the Heads of Ayr, and out to sea towards Arran and Ailsa Craig. 

It was originally a fort, built to spot enemies approaching by sea, but was converted to a motte-and-bailey style structure in the 12th century. In the 15th century, the Earls of Ross, Lords of the Isles, built a grand tower house and it later passed into the hands of the Kennedys. 

Beside the tower are the remains of a walled courtyard and outbuildings. From this courtyard in May 1602, Sir Thomas Kennedy and a servant rode towards Edinburgh, but in nearby woods were ambushed and killed as revenge for a killing in battle the previous year. The notorious story inspired Sir Walter Scott to write his short play ‘An Ayrshire Tragedy’. 

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Greenan Castle