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Hebrides and Isles
Local informationAccommodation in Hebrides & Isles
Shetland Islands Council
Castles in Hebrides & Isles
Shetland offers some of the most spectacular and varied scenery in all of Britain, from
heather hills to crags to farmland, the landscape is breathtaking and no matter where you
stand, you are no further than 3 miles from the sea. The history of Shetland dates from the
Celtics, to the Scandinavians to the Romans. Shetland was also home to the Danish until
relinquishing control in the 15th century, after which castles were built by the Earl of Orkney:
Muness and Scalloway.
The region of Orkney covers over 70 islands scattered in the sea in the form of an
archipelago, though only 20 of these islands are inhabited. The islands of Orkney can boast
an 8,500 year history stretching back to Mesolithic and Neolithic tribes and was under
Scandinavian rule for much of its history until annexed to the Scottish Crown in 1472.
Orkney is home to several magnificent castles.
This region in the northwest of Scotland is a 150-mile long chain of islands that offers the most breathtaking of habitats. Separated into two main groups, the Inner and Outer Hebrides, this Scottish island chain is also home to several historically significant castles.
Inner Hebrides castles
The Isle of Mull of the coast of Argyll is a major tourist attraction in the summer months, no doubt in part due to the classic castles which call Mull home. 22 miles south from the Isle of Mull’s capital Tobermory, is Torosay Castle, 1.5 miles south of Craignure. Though a private home, the castle, which was designed for John Campbell and built in 1858, and the 12 acres of gardens which surround the castle are open to the public. Just twelve miles from Torosay Castle sits Moy Castle, a stunning but badly damaged castle near Lochbuie, built in the 1400s by Clan MacLean. Nearby Duart Castle dates back to the 13th century and was the seat of the Clan MacLean. A major tourist attraction, this well maintained castle has also been used as the backdrop of some very famous Hollywood films.
Torosay Castle © Rob Farrow
On a clear day the Irish coast can be seen from the Isle of Islay, the fifth largest Scottish
island off the coast of Argyll and known as the Queen of the Hebrides. Islay is also home
to Dunyvaig Castle. Located on the south side of the island just over 2 miles from Port
Ellen, the castle was once a naval base of the Lord of the Isles, the chiefs of Clan Donald.
Once a centre of Celtic Christianity, the Isle of Lismore in Loch Linnhe, is home to the Castle Coeffin, a ruin built in the 13th century, probably by the MacDougalls of Lorn, and would
have been a key site for the clan.
Outer Hebrides castles
Located on the Isle of Barra, Kisimul Castle is a small medieval castle located off the village
of Castlebay. Completely surrounded by sea, the castle can only be reached by boat and
was the home of the MacNeil clan until it was abandoned in 1838 when the island was sold.
The chief of Clan MacNeill purchased the castle in 1937 and Historic Scotland have now
leased the property from the MacNeills for the price of £1 a year and a bottle of whisky!
Dunvegan Castle © Gernot Keller
South Uist, with a long and exciting history that even includes the discovery of prehistoric mummies, is also home to Ormacleit Castle, an 18th century ruined mansion house built by Allan Macdonald, chief of Clanranald. Ormacleit served as the seat of the Clan, though it was abandoned after only ten years’ occupation. The ruins are now listed as a Scheduled Monument and a category B listed building.
Hebrides & Isles castlesAmhuinnsuidhe Castle
Cubbie Roo's Castle
Eileen Donan Castle
St. Magnus Cathedral
St. Mary's Chapel
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