Discover Dunollie Castle
Dunollie Castle is situated on the Ganavan road approximately a mile to the north of Oban. It sits overlooking the small strait between the mainland and the island of Kerrera, which is also owned by the MacDougall estate. The small grassy island is Maiden Island which in itself has an interesting legend attributed to it.
The castle was the seat of the clan MacDougall, Lords of Lorn, who were a significant force in Scottish history - at one point they owned a third of Scotland. (That's a whole lot of real estate by any standard!).
The MacDougalls were previous resident in Dunstaffanage Castle which was taken from their care, declared a royal castle by Robert the Bruce and the Campbells made keepers.
There have been fortifications on the Dunollie site since the 7th century, originally by the kings of Dalriada. (One of a few old names for Scotland.) A keep and courtyard fortress was built in the 13th century with the current four storey keep being added on the castle enclosure in the 15th century.
In 1746 the castle was abandoned and the family moved to newly built Dunollie House, behind the castle. Dunollie Castle is still owned by the MacDougalls and the house has been converted into flats (apartments)
There's a steep hill to climb to get there but access to the castle is free and there are some tremendous views from the top. Why not view the sunset from the site? Just be careful in the dark!
Limited parking is is available on the road but it's a lovely walk - just head north along the esplanade on the Ganavan road, out past the War Memorial, rather than stay on the main road here go up the track to the right, past the Dog Stone and onto the castle.
Dunollie?The name is anglisised from the gaelic Dun Ollaigh, Dun being gaelic for a small fort or suchlike.
Who are the MacDougalls?In gaelic dubh-gall translates as dark stranger and it may have originated as a means to distinguished the Danes with their darker features from the lighter skinned and fair haired Norwegians who were both around in considerable numbers.
Mac means "son of" so the name translates as "son of Dougall"
A direct descendent from Somerled, the first Dougall (Dugall) was declared Lord of the Isles. At this point the Western Isles were part of Norway and the mainland was ruled by the Scots king. Dugall was handed the Lordship of Mull, Jura, Tiree, Coll, Kerrera and parts of Argyll and Lorn.
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