Sunday, July 12, 2009

Eilean Donan Castle

The Macrae/McRae were the Constables of Eilean Donan Castle.
Magnificently situated at the meeting of three lochs - Loch Long, Loch Alsh and Loch Duich
and enclosed by steep sided mountain shores,
Eilean Donan today is one of the most romantic and easily recognised castles in Scotland.
With its outline reflected in the waters of Loch Duich and the moody colours of the mountains and moorlands all around, it is to many people the idyll of a Scottish Highland castle.
Castle door

The original castle was built in 1220 for Alexander II as a defence against theVikings.
By the late 13th century it had become a stronghold of the
Mackenzies of Kintail (later the Earls of Seaforth).
In 1511, the Macraes, as protectors of the Mackenzies,
became the hereditary Constables of the Castle.
In 1539 Iain Dubh Matheson, chief of the Clan Matheson died whilst defending the Castle on Eilean Donan island against the Clan MacDonald of Sleat on behalf of the
Clan Macrae and Clan Mackenzie.
In April 1719 the castle was occupied by Spanish troops attempting to start another Jacobite Rising. The castle was recaptured, and then demolished, by three Royal Navy frigates in
May 1719. The Spanish troops were defeated a month later at the Battle of Glen Shiel.
The castle was restored in the years between 1919 and 1932 by Lt. Col. John MacRae-Gilstrap. The restoration included the construction of an arched bridge to give easier access to the castle. In 1983 The Conchra Charitable Trust was formed by the Macrae family to care for the Castle

aerial view

Eilean Donan is quite unique, the product of an incredible feat of determination and devotion to restore the Castle for the MacRae family. It is hard to believe that the present castle has yet to celebrate its 100 birthday, but easy to be absorbed by the atmosphere of a place which has stood witness to so much history.


Dustjacket attic said...

That was really interesting and the photo's were great. It looks so very isolated and rugged!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

That is a beautiful castle, Gina. I loved driving through the Highlands. It was a fascinating trip. There are sheep who sleep right by the side of the road on the pavement to keep warm, and we also saw Highland deer. And the cattle have long shaggy coats.

Years ago, much of it was deforrested because the people knew little of conservation. Still, there is a majesty and beauty in the Highlands that is captivating. I wonder if this is anywhere near Inverness? We were there, and I bought a kilt which was later munched on by a moth. LOL!

You really need to go. I loved our trip and loved the people. They are warm and friendly. I've so much more to say, but I won't bore you here.

Loved this...


Sheila :-)

Chic Little Shop said...

Hi Gina

Beautiful castle, I love the castles where I belong..(smile) I left something for you at my blog, Would you please visit my blog to collect it?

Julie xx

kate said...

Great post Gina, I say we set our trip for July 2011, love all your photos, dont forget Im a Brit, and that my relative fought the Scots , my fathers relative was knighted because of bravery and became Sir Thomas Wharton 1501-1568
he lived in Healaugh, at Wharton Hall, in York. My fathers name sake was Sir George wharton 1583-1609 was know for card playing, horse racing, gambling and the like. WHo ever name my dad did there history, ha, ha, ( what can you do with second generation money!!!!)