Doe Castle was most likely built in the 15th century by the O’Donnell family, but by the 1440s it had come into the hands of the gallowglass MacSweeney family. The castle remained in the hands of the MacSweeney family for almost two hundred years until it fell into the hands of English settlers in the aftermath of the Plantation of Ulster in the early seventeenth century.
It was there that Owen Roe O’Neill returned in 1642 to lead the Ulster Army of the Irish Confederate forces during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms.
The castle changed hands repeatedly during the 17th-century struggle for control of Ireland between the English and the Irish. It is known that in 1650, Sir Charles Coote, the Governor of Londonderry, took possession of the castle.
Eventually, the castle was bought by Sir George Vaughan Hart and inhabited by his family until 1843.
In 1932 the castle came into the hands of the Land Commission, and it 1934 was declared a national monument and was acquired by the Office of Public Works. The Towerhouse of the castle underwent a major restoration in the 1990s.
Doe Castle is a National Monument in State Care, (No. 319) managed by the OPW – Office of Public Works in partnership with the local community.
Video and Photograph Credit ‘Photographic Unit, National Monuments Service, Government of Ireland’.