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Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie, Scotland


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Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie, Scotland (Known places)
Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie, Scotland (Known places)
Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie, Scotland (Known places)
Author: Big4Ker
Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie, Scotland (Known places)
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Information about Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie, Scotland

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 the Dark Ages. The island is dominated by a picturesque medieval 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 (509 years ago), the Macraes, as protectors of the Mackenzies, became the hereditary Constables of the Castle.

In 1539 (481 years ago) 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 Apr. 1719 (301 years ago) 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 (301 years ago). The Spanish troops were defeated a month later at the Battle of Glen Shiel.

The castle was restored in the years between 1919 (101 years ago) and 1932 (88 years ago) by Lt. Col. John MacRae-Gilstrap. The restoration included the construction of an arched bridge to give easier access to the castle. In 1983 (37 years ago) 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. One strange feature of the castle today is the grey field gun from the Great War, 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 (19 years ago), 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 movie locations. It has appeared in such movies as The Master of Ballantrae (1953, 67 years ago), The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (2 walls) (1970, 50 years ago), Highlander (1985, 35 years ago), Mio in the Land of Faraway (1987, 33 years ago), Loch Ness (1996, 24 years ago), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998, 22 years ago), The World Is Not Enough (1999, 21 years ago), Kandukondain Kandukondain (2000, 20 years ago), Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007, 13 years ago), Made of Honor (2007, 13 years ago) and in BBC mini series Oliver's Travels.

It also appears on the cover of Secret Garden's album Dreamcatcher (2000, 20 years ago) and the Brandywine Celtic Harp Orchestra's CD, Celtic Journeys (2008, 12 years ago).

The castle is also featured in several of BBC One's famous "Balloon" network ID clips.


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