A brief history of O'Doherty's Keep

Sitting on the banks of the River Crana near Lough Swilly adjacent Swan Park and the Castle Bridge stands the remains of a former 14th century Norman Castle - O’Doherty’s Keep. In 1601 it was a small, two-story castle, occupied by Conor Mc Garret O’Dochartaigh. In 1602 a third storey was added, and the keep restored by Hugh Boy O’Dochartaigh. He intended it as a base for aid from Spanish forces who were expected to arrive at Inch Island.

O'Doherty's Keep in Winter | Adam Rory Porter Photography

O'Doherty's Keep in Winter | Adam Rory Porter Photography

Crown forces burnt the keep in 1608 in retaliation for the revolt of Sir Cahir O’Dochartaigh, who had sacked and destroyed the city of Derry. After Sir Cahir O’Dochartaigh’s death at the Battle of Kilmacrennan, the Keep was granted to Sir Arthur Chichester, who leased it to Englishman Henry Vaughan.  Further restoration work was carried out by the Vaughan family who occupied the keep until 1718. The town of Buncrana finds it’s origins from this location.