Eilean Donan
Eilean Donan ( Scottish Gaelic: Eilean Donnáin) is a small island in Loch Duich in the western Highlands of Scotland. It is connected to the mainland by a footbridge and lies about half a mile from the village of Dornie. Eilean Donan (which means simply "island of Donnán") is named after Donnán of Eigg, a Celtic saint martyred in 617. The island is dominated by a picturesque castle which is widely familiar from many photographs and appearances in film and television.

Eilean Donan castle
The original castle was built in the early 13th century as a defence against the Vikings. 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 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 on 10”“13 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. A curious distinction is that it has one of only two left-handed spiral staircases in a castle in Great Britain, as the reigning king at the time of building held a sword with his left hand. Another distinction of the castle today is the grey field gun from World War I, positioned outside the building by a war memorial and fountain dedicated to the men of the Macrae clan who died in the war. Eilean Donan is the home of the Clan Macrae. In 2001, the island had a population of just one person.

Media and the arts
The castle is one of the most photographed monuments in Scotland and a popular venue for weddings and film locations. It has appeared in such films as The Master of Ballantrae (1953), The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970), Highlander (1986), Mio in the Land of Faraway (1987), Loch Ness (1996), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Entrapment (1999), The World Is Not Enough (1999), Kandukondain Kandukondain (2000), Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), Made of Honor (2007) and in the television series The New Avengers (1976) and Oliver's Travels (1995). It also appears on the cover of Secret Garden's album Dreamcatcher (2000) and the Brandywine Celtic Harp Orchestra's CD, Celtic Journeys (2008). The castle is also featured in several of BBC One's famous "Balloon" network ID clips.


6 photos

Building Activity

  • removed 2 media and updated a digital reference
    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com
  • updated a digital reference
    about 6 years ago via Annotator