Eilean Donan Castle

Castle in Wester Ross

Eilean Donan is a small tidal island situated at the confluence of three sea lochs (Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh) in the western Highlands of Scotland. It is connected to the mainland by a footbridge that was installed early in the 20th century and is dominated by a picturesque castle that frequently appears in photographs, film and television. The island’s original castle was built in the thirteenth century; it became a stronghold of the Clan Mackenzie and their allies, the Clan MacRae. However, in response to the Mackenzies’ involvement in the Jacobite rebellions early in the 18th century, government ships destroyed the castle in 1719. The present-day castle is Lieutenant-Colonel John Macrae-Gilstrap’s 20th-century reconstruction of the old castle.

Eilean Donan is part of the Kintail National Scenic Area, one of 40 in Scotland. In 2001, the island had a recorded population of just one person, but there were no “usual residents” at the time of the 2011 census.

Eilean Donan, which means simply “island of Donnán”, is named after Donnán of Eigg, a Celtic saint who was martyred in 617. Donnán is said to have established a church on the island, though no trace of this remains.

Visiting Eilean Donan Castle

The castle provides ample car park with a modern visitor centre which houses the Ticket Office, Gift Shop and Restaurant. The entire operation is operated by the Conchra Charitable Trust which was established back in the 1980s by the MacRae family, who own the castle, and whose primary role is to preserve the building and its artefacts for the nation and future generations.

Visiting Eilean Donan Castle

Hours:

10am-6pm Apr-May & Oct, 9.30am-6pm Jun & Sep, 9am-6pm Jul & Aug, 10am-4pm Nov-Dec & Feb-Mar, closed Jan


Price:

adult/child/family £7.50/4/20

Duration: 20 minutes