Worldwide Delivery
Custom Personalisation
Manufactured in Scotland

Clan Castles Of Scotland – Clan MacDonald – Dunyvaig Castle – Scotcrest Blog

Dunyvaig Castle, Islay – Clan MacDonald

Dunyvaig Castle Clan MacDonald

Once a spectacular naval fortress manned by the professional warrior class of the MacDonald Clan, Dunyvaig Castle now sits in a ruinous state on the southern coast of the Isle of Islay.

Built on the site of an existing fort, the castle was originally constructed in the 12th century by Donald, grandson of Somerled, the mighty warrior and Lord of the Isles. Donald would build the fortress there to protect the sheltered bay of Lagavulin located behind the castle which housed of his fleet of ships and the family would thereafter use the castle as their naval stronghold for the next 300 years.

The castle would become notorious throughout this period as one of the country’s best-defended outposts with a change of ownership only arriving after the forfeiture of the title of ‘Lord of the Isles’ by the MacDonalds in 1493 following an altercation with the King over a treaty signed with Henry VII of England. After this forfeiture, the MacDonalds would be forced to temporarily give up control of the castle with Dunyvaig passing to the MacLans of Ardnamurchan, a branch of the Macdonald family. The MacDonalds would later be stripped of any influence over the fortress in the first decade of the 16th century when, after the MacLan’s support for the controversial insurrection of Black Donald, Dunyvaig would be transferred to a branch of the Macdonald’s arch-rivals, the Campbells.

Not willing to stand for the removal of one of their prized possessions into the hands of their arch-rivals, the MacDonalds would attack the castle in 1515 and it would be leased back to the family 4 years later in 1519. However, Dunyvaig would once again come under the control of the Campbells in the subsequent years as a tug of war over its ownership continued until it fell under the control of the crown in 1596.

This wouldn’t be the end of the controversial history of the castle, however, as the MacDonalds of Dunyveg, the traditional keepers of the castle, would consistently attempt to regain control over the following half a century with the crown once again awarding the castle to the Campbells. The fortress would be captured and lost a number of times over the ensuing years and even after the Campbells of Cawdor received ratification for their ownership of the entire Island of Islay in 1621 the castle would continue to be targetted until the final MacDonald besiegement of 1647 when it was taken by Colkitto MacDonald before being retaken by a Covenanter army and Colkitto hanged.

The Campbells would then begin to see the castle as more of a nuisance than something worth protecting and would abandon Dunyvaig castle for the last time in 1667, demolishing it before leaving.

Today, all that remains of the castle are the ruins of the sixteenth-century fortress and although there is not much to see, the site is still worth visiting thanks to its close proximity to the tremendous Lagavulin distillery, producer of one of the finest Scotch whiskies in existence.

Our Modern Tartan Art Is Made From Real Scottish Tartan Cloth With Over 600 Different Tartans Available. Shop Now HERE.

Learn More About This History Of Clan MacDonald HERE.