Scotland · Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle is one of the most recognised castles in Scotland, and probably appears on more shortbread tins and calendars than any other. This Scottish castle may well be the most photographed castle in the country, and is also often called the ‘most romantic castle of Scotland’. It is, without doubt, a Scottish icon and certainly one of the most popular visitor attractions in the Highlands. When you first set eyes on it, it is easy to understand why so many people flock to its stout doors year after year. Strategically located on its own little island, overlooking the Isle of Skye, at the point where three great sea-lochs meet, and surrounded by the majestic splendour of the forested mountains of Kintail, Eilean Donan’s setting is truly breath-taking.
The name of the ‘Eilean Donan Castle’ comes from the Gaelic meaning ‘Island of Donan’ (‘Eilean’ being ‘Island’ and the ‘Donan’ believed to be named after the 6th Century Irish Saint, Bishop Donan, who was in Scotland during the later part of the 6th century AD).
Eilean Donan Castle was originally built in 13th Century (by the Clan Mackenzie and Clan Macrae) in order to defend the area from invading Vikings who controlled most of Northern Scotland between 800 and 1266 AD. The castle was a stronghold for the Jacobite (a supporter of the deposed James II and his descendants in their claim to the British throne after the Revolution of 1688) rebellions during the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1700s 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 how it was previously