Dunyvaig Castle / Isle of Islay *
Region: Argyll & The Isles
Located on the southern coast of Islay, Dunyvaig Castle is one of Islay’s the most important historic sites. It was once the naval fortress of the Lords of the Isles, the chiefs of the Clan MacDonald. Although the current remains of the castle are predominately of the 16th century, its foundations are undoubtedly much earlier and it may have been constructed on top of a prehistoric dun or fort. The castle suffered a lot over the centuries, but the perpetual shaping of both forces of nature and humans have created a unique piece of art. Although the ruins of the castle are overgrown with vegetation and are constantly exposed to strong winds, rain, and waves, parts of the mighty medieval stronghold are still recognizable.
At different periods it belonged to the Maclans of Ardnamurchan, the MacDonalds and the Campbells. The main struggle over the castle was between the MacDonalds and the Campbells. These clans transferred the ownership of the stronghold few times. Sometimes peacefully and sometimes violently, accompanied by several fierce battles that happened mainly in the 17th century. In 1608, the MacDonalds were forced to surrender the castle to the Crown and it was adapted into a royal garrison although in 1614 they took back the control. In 1615, the castle was partially destroyed during a siege by the royal forces and later rebuilt.
In 1647 the Covenanting Army led by David Leslie took control of the castle during a siege. Alasdair Colkitto MacDonald was executed by hanging on the walls of the castle by the clan Campbell. The Campbells occupied the castle until 1677, when it was abandoned and deliberately demolished. The site was never used as a residence.
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