Duart Castle

Castle in Isle of Mull

Duart Castle
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Philippe Giabbanelli

 Duart Castle, or Caisteal Dhubhairt in Scottish Gaelic, is a castle on the Isle of Mull, beside the Sound of Mull off the west coast of Scotland, within the council area of Argyll and Bute. The  Castle sits on a craggy rock along the coastline is home to clan MacLean. During spring, the castle gardens are filled with bluebells, adding glory to the castle. The castle dates back to 13th Century.

 The castle dates back to the 13th century and is the seat of Clan MacLean. One source states that the castle was “brought back from ruin in 1911”. The castle was used as a location in many films, the most popular being Entrapment.

History of Duart Castle

Duart Castle was probably built by Clan MacDougall in the 13th century, and appears to have come into the hands of Clan MacLean in the following century. In 1350 Lachlan Lubanach Maclean of Duart, the 5th Clan Chief, married Mary, daughter of John of Islay, Lord of the Isles and Duart was part of her dowry. In 1647, Duart Castle was attacked and laid siege to by the Argyll government troops of Clan Campbell, but they were defeated and driven off by the Royalist troops of Clan MacLean. In September 1653, a Cromwellian task force of six ships anchored off the castle, but the Macleans had already fled to Tiree. A storm blew up on the 13 September and three ships were lost, including HMS Swan. To the north of the castle is a Historic Marine Protected Area within which lie the remains of a wrecked 17th century warship, believed to be the Swan.

In 1678, Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll, son of the Marquess of Argyll, successfully invaded the Clan MacLean lands on the Isle of Mull and Sir John Maclean, 4th Baronet fled the castle and withdrew to Cairnbulg Castle, and afterward to Kintail under the protection of the Earl of Seaforth.

In 1691 Duart Castle was surrendered by Sir John Maclean, 4th Baronet to Archibald Campbell, 1st Duke of Argyll. The Campbell clan demolished the castle, and the stones from the walls were scattered. Donald Maclean, 5th Laird of Torloisk used some of the stones to build a cottage for his family close to the site of the castle.

By 1751 the remains of the castle were abandoned.

Descendants of Archibald Campbell, 1st Duke of Argyll sold the castle in 1801, to MacQuarrie, who then sold it to Carter-Campbell of Possil who kept it as a ruin within the grounds of his own estate to the north, Torosay Castle. He later sold his Torosay Estate which now included the ruins of Castle Duart to A. C. Guthrie in 1865. On 11 September 1911, the ruin was separated from the rest of the Torosay Estate and was bought by Sir Fitzroy Donald Maclean, the 26th Chief of the Clan MacLean and restored.

By 2012, additional restorations were required and a fund was set up to accept donations for this purpose. Phase 7 of the project was underway in 2020.


The Duart Castle appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Isle of Mull!

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Visiting Duart Castle

Hours:

10.30am-5pm daily May–mid-Oct, 11am-4pm Sun-Thu Apr


Price:

adult/child £7/3.50

Duration: 1 hours

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