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Castles and Historic Buildings of Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland

 Castles of Scotland - Eilean Donan Castle

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near Dornie, Highland, Scotland

Eilean Donan Castle is situated on a small island in Loch Duich in the western Highlands of Scotland about half a mile from the village of Dornie. It is connected to the mainland by a footbridge. Eilean Donan is named after St. Donan, a Celtic saint. Eilean Donan is one of the most recognised Scottish castles and one of the most visited attractions in the Scottish highlands. Most of the castle can be explored. The Castle now has its own visitor centre with Coffee Shop, Gift Shop and toilets. The castle can be hired for weddings, although it has no catering facilities for receptions. There is no disabled or wheelchair access into the castle itself, as there is a large number of steps.

The original castle was built in 1220 for Alexander II as a defence against the Vikings. In medieval times the castle had towers and a curtain wall that covered nearly the whole island. By the late 13th century it was owned by the Mackenzies of Kintail (later the Earls of Seaforth). In 1511, the MacRaes became custodians of the castle, as protectors of the MacKenzies. Over the centuries the castle has been rebuilt at least four times. Eilean Donan was partially destroyed in a Jacobite uprising in 1719. The castle lay in ruins for almost 200 years until Lieutenant Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap bought the island in 1911, and spent the next 20 years restoring the castle. The restoration included the construction of an arched bridge to give easier access to the castle The castle was re-opened in 1932.

The Arts
Eilean Donan has been used in many movies including The Master of Ballantrae (1953), The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970), Highlander (1985), Loch Ness (1996), The World Is Not Enough (1999), Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), Made of Honor (2007) and the James Bond movie The World is not Enough where it was the northern base for the British Secret Service.

Other Castles in the Area
  Armadale Castle, Isle of Skye
  Caisteal Maol, Isle of Skye
  Knock Castle, Isle of Skye
  Strome Castle, Highland

Strome Castle
Eilean Donan viewed from the visitors' car park

Photograph by John Allan. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

Strome Castle
Curving wall frames Eilean Donan

Photograph by C Michael Hogan. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

Strome Castle
Eilean Donan Castle

Photograph by Euan Nelson. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

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