View from the east with the castle and Muckish and the Derryveagh mountains beyond
Burt Castle is probably the best known castle in the north-west because of it prominent position on a hilltop clearly visible from the Derry-Letterkenny road. There is no path or road to the site of the castle and it is on private land. It is possible to get close to it by taking one of the roads leading off of the main Derry-Letterkenny road.
It was built in the sixteenth century during the reign of Henry the VIII. A medallion found near the castle was dated 1525 and a coin of 1547 was found nearby. In 1587 two brothers, Richard and Henry Hovenden were in command here and they were ordered to resist the Spanish Armada.
When the O'Dohertys lost Elagh Castle, they took refuge here. Sir Cahair O'Doherty was in charge in 1601 and it was later garrisoned by Hugh Boy O'Doherty. When Sir Cahair began his rebellion against the crown the English attacked it but were beaten back.
After the defeat of Sir Cahair it fell into the hands of the Chichester family. It is recorded that it was in ruin in 1833 and has suffered further damage since.
The walls are built of rough rubble and the keep is three stories. There are two circular watch towers which offer superb views of the surrounding countryside. Both have openings for muskets. A stair within one of the towers is in good condition and can be used to the top story, where there is a small vaulted chamber.