Eilean Donan Castle, beautiful of the most of all Scottish castles, is made out of a 13th-century wall that surrounds a courtyard. A sturdy 14th-century structure with three stories and a gabled garret sits for one corner of the courtyard. Later decades saw the addition of adjoining ranges of structures and fortifications. The main tower features an open parapet with open rounds and corbelled machicolations and a flush parapet. The Amazing 13th-century Eilean Donan Castle is situated on an island where 3 lochs meet in the Kintail National Scenic place.
When you think of the most renowned castles in Scotland, you might think of Edinburgh or Balmoral. Though the term Eilean Donan does not have the same ring to it, pictures of it may. Eilean Donan, dubbed “the most magnificent castle in Scotland,” has appeared on many calendars, postcards, and guidebook covers. The castle, with its weatherworn crenellations, tidal island position, and stone footbridge, is the ideal emblem of idealized medieval life.
The castle is a popular stop for travelers on their route to the Isle of Skye, which is located nearby. It’s only 10 miles to the west.
Bishop Donan, a 6th-century Irish saint who arrived in Scotland around 580 AD, is most likely the source of the name Eilean Donan. There are numerous churches in the region dedicated to Donan, and it is likely that he founded a small cell or community on the island in the late 7th century.
It’s also one that would look quite different today if it hadn’t been restored in the twentieth century to its romantic grandeur – and, astonishingly, that was partially based on the wild fantasies of a stonemason. The island’s earliest recorded occupants were a Christian order who erected a church to the 7th-century Saint Donnan of Eigg, but it wasn’t until the 13th century that the island transitioned from a place of religious worship to a fortified fortress.The name Eilean Donan, which means “Island of Donan,” was most likely derived from Saint Donnan of Eigg’s usage of the island as a chapel site.The island’s first fortress was most likely built by King Alexander II or III to help bolster defences against the Danes, or by Farquar II, Earl of Ross.Eilean Donan is Scotland’s most photographed fortress, and it has appeared in films such as James Bond (as the Scottish HQ of MI6, no less). The castle was assaulted in 1504 by the Earl of Huntly, who was supposedly working on behalf of James IV, leading the appointment of Clan MacRae as castle Constables.
In 1539, the castle was assaulted again, this time by Clan MacDonald members, which may have spurred the sixteenth-century improvements, which included a horn-shaped expansion leading to a hexagonal bastion on which cannon was mounted. The castle stands guard over a tiny island in the Scottish highlands, at the confluence of three tidal lochs.Eilean Donan lay in ruins for over 200 years after being partially destroyed in a Jacobite insurrection in 1719, until Lieutenant Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap purchased the island in 1911 and began about rebuilding the castle to its former glory.
Following the battle of 1719, Eilean Donan Castle was left in ruins for the next two centuries. When the castle was seized, what hadn’t been damaged by the bombardment was demolished using explosives, and the remaining remains were further reduced by stone quarrying for surrounding structures. The castle, however, was resurrected in the early twentieth century.
century; in 1912, a MacRae descendent began rebuilding, and it is this edifice that may be seen today. The castle reopened in 1932, after 20 years of toil and labor. Eilean Donan Castle was largely utilized as a stronghold by clans Mackenzie and MacRae over the years, but it was the early 18th-century Jacobite revolt that finally led to its demise.Eilean Donan Castle is owned by the Conchra Charitable Trust. The Trust’s primary mission is to restore and preserve the castle while also providing public access to this one-of-a-kind visitor destination.