Dunvegan Castle

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Dunvegan Castle
Gaelic: Dùn Bheagain Caistel


Dunvegan Castle.jpg
Grid reference: NG245490
Location: 57°30’0"N, 6°36’-0"W
Town: Dunvegan
Built 1266-1350
renovated 1350-1840 [1]
Owned by: Hugh Magnus Macleod
Website: http://www.dunvegancastle.com/

Dunvegan Castle is a castle a mile and a half to the north of Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye, Inverness-shire. It is the seat of the Clan MacLeod. Dunvegan Castle is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland and has been the stronghold of the chiefs of the clan for more than 800 years.[2]


Dunvegan Castle occupies the summit of a rock which projects on to the eastern shore of an inlet and some 30 ft higher than the area around it and is 175 ft long and 110 ft wide."[1]

It stands in a covered bay that faces North along the east side of the Inlet. Until recent centuries the sea surrounded this rock, but due to years of land infilling this is no longer the case. "There seems little doubt that the rock was the site of a dun of some island chief at an early date. The name is said to mean 'Began's Dun'. All traces of any prehistoric structure seem to have been swept away for the mediæval works. On the landward side, the castle is isolated by a ditch, partly natural and partly artificial, about 60 ft in width and 18 ft in present depth. In the 13th century, after the annexation of the Western Isles by Alexander III in 1266, the summit of the rock was enclosed with a certain wall with an arched entrance, the seagate, from which steps led up to the platform area, the only entrance to the castle till 1748. In the second half of the 14th century, a keep, 48 ft by 35 ft, was built at the north-east angle of the rock. Early in the 16th century, the Fairy Tower was added at the south-east corner, and between these two towers extends Roderick MacLeod of MacLeod's work, erected in 1623. The south-west wing was built between 1684 and 1690. All these buildings have been altered by the 19th century transformation."[1]

The castle displays extremely diverse and distinct architectural forms that span across many different time periods.[3]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Dunvegan Castle". CANMORE. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/10835/details/skye+dunvegan+castle/. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  2. "Welcome" Dunvegancastle.com. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
  3. RCAHMS 1928; W D Simpson 1963

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Dunvegan Castle)