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Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie, Scottish Highlands

Eilean Castle
Kyle of Lochalsh
Scottish Highlands
IV40 8DX

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Perhaps the most recognisable castle in all of Scotland? Eilean Donan is certainly the most romantic, perched at the centre of where three Scottish Lochs meet. With history dating back to the 7th century, there are no prizes for guessing that there are ghosts that supposedly haunt its grounds.


Brief History

Famous for its appearance in many films, including the Highlander (with Sean Connery), Eilean Donan Castle was originally built in 13th Century (by the Clan Mackenzie and Clan Macrae) to defend the area from invading Vikings who controlled most of Northern Scotland between 800 and 1266 AD. However, it is believed there had been a settlement on this island since the late 7th Century, when the Irish Saint, Bishop Donan is thought to have formed a small community here.

In the early 14th Century Robert the Bruce was in hiding here for a time. In 1331 Randolph, Earl of Moray had 50 men executed here and had their decapitated heads put on display along the castle walls.

The castle was a stronghold for the Jacobite rebellions during the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1719 the castle was destroyed by the English Government for its role in the uprisings. The castle was being garrisoned by 46 Spanish soldiers who were in support of the Jacobites, when the castle withstood heavy bombardment for three straight days, leaving the castle in absolute ruin.

The castle was in ruin for more than 200 years until the island was bought by Lt Colonel John Macrae-Gilstrap in 1911. He proceeded to rebuild the castle over the next 20 years, until it was formerly completed in 1932 to original specifications, returning the castle to its former glory.

The castle you see today is as it would have appeared back in the 17th – early 18th centuries, and as it was when it was completed in 1932.


Eilean Donan Castle Ghosts

Spanish Soldier

During the Jacobite rebellion, 46 Spanish soldiers were stationed here when the castle was attacked by several government boats, leading ultimately to their death and the castles’ destruction. One of the more well known ghosts of Eilean Donan is believed to be that of one of the soldiers that died that day. His eerie apparition has been seen often in the gift shop, clutching his head underneath his arm.

Lady Mary

The apparition of Lady Mary has been witnessed many times in one of the bedrooms in the castle.

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