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Dunvegan Castle

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Dunvegan Castle
English Dunvegan
57 ° 26′54 ″ s w. 6 ° 35′23 ″ s d. H G I O L
A countryScotland
IsleSky
Established1220
Sitedunvegancastle.com
Wikimedia Commons Media Files

Dunvegan Castle (Eng. Dunvegan Castle) - a Scottish castle, which is located on the Isle of Skye, in the Highland region, in Scotland.

Visitor Information

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Visiting the castle and gardens: adults - 10 pounds, children (3-15 years) - 4 pounds, students / pensioners, CITIZENS / GROUPS = 6.50 pounds, family ticket (2 adults, 4 children) - 23 pounds.

Opening hours: from April 1 to October 15, 2010 - 10: 00-17: 30 (last launch of the guests is 17:00).

The castle and gardens are closed to visitors from December 20, 2010 to January 3, 2011.

Photo and description

Dunvegan Castle is located on the Isle of Skye, near the village of the same name. For eight centuries, this stronghold has dominated the northern part of the island. The castle is built on top of a basalt rock that rises above the surrounding countryside. The history of the castle is inextricably linked with the history of the McLeod clan - for all eight centuries since its construction, the castle has served as the family residence of the clan. The family lives here throughout this time, with the exception of a small period in the 19th century - in the history of Scotland it is the longest period of time when one family lives in the same building. As a result of this, the castle is an extremely complex and intricate complex of buildings connected together. Clan founder Laud Olafson, a descendant of Norwegian kings, married the daughter of the ruler of the northern part of Skye. It is very likely that some kind of fortress existed on this place long before the arrival of Laud Olafson here, but now it is already impossible to find documentary evidence for this.

The current owners of the castle are making great efforts to preserve and restore the castle, which is part of not only the history of the Isle of Skye, but also the history of Scotland as a whole. Now the castle is open for tourists - some rooms and halls are open, as well as gardens at the castle.

The castle holds relics of the MacLeod clan - it is a magic flag, Dunvegan Cup and the horn of Rory Mora. Dunvegan Cup - A ceremonial wooden goblet trimmed with silver dates back presumably to the end of the 15th century. The horn is also trimmed with silver and every new clan leader must drain it to the bottom. But the most famous and mysterious treasure of Dunvegan Castle is the magic flag of the fairies, which, according to legend, was presented to one of the leaders of the fairy clan. The flag is credited with a variety of magical properties. If you wave them three times, he can make his owner invisible, multiply ten times the clan’s troops and bring victory in the battle. The flag also serves as a charm of the castle and the clan as a whole.

Opening hours and cost of visiting Dunvegan Castle

You can get to Dunvegan Castle:

  • from April 1 to October 15 daily from 10-00 to 17-30
  • from October 16 to March 31 only on weekdays by appointment (on New Year and Christmas the castle does not work)

Ticket price for 2014 (visit to the castle and garden):

  • for adults: 10 pounds
  • for children: (5-15 years) - 7 pounds
  • family ticket (2 adults and 3 children) - 28 pounds
  • student - 8 pounds
  • for groups (from 10 people) - 8 pounds per person

Closer to the trip, we advise you to check the current prices on the official website.

You can also order boat trip along Loch Dunvegan to see seals or go fishing.

An hour or two is enough to explore the castle and gardens, so you can safely plan to visit one or two more places nearby.

History of Dunvegan Castle

The history of the castle is associated with the most famous family not only in Scotland, but also in the world - the MacLeods, who have owned it for about eight centuries. The history of the MacLeod clan is shrouded in secrets and traditions. According to the official version, the clan came from the King of the Isle of Man, son of Olf Black, named Laud, who in 1237 began to govern the islands of Harris, Lewis and Sky and erected the walls of Dunvegan Castle.

Construction of Dunvegan Castle over the years

The MacLeod family strictly ensured that the head of the clan was only a worthy candidate. Once the legal, but not direct heir, Hugh Rose desired through the murder of his relatives to lead the clan. The remaining members of the clan drove away the villain who had to flee to Ireland, where he suffered a terrible death.

More than ten people worked to create a castle at different times. So, in 1340-1360, Malcolm completed the donjon (main tower). Around 1500, a new Fairy Tower appeared in the castle. In the forties of the 19th century, a large-scale reconstruction was carried out by Robert Brown of Edinburgh, during which they were completed corner turrets and traditional battlements, which significantly transformed the castle. The cost of reconstruction was about eight thousand pounds. In 1938-1940, forced work was carried out after a strong fire, which swept most of the southern wing.

The castle was first opened for all comers in 1933. Since then, tourists have been very pleased to visit this attraction.

Description of Dunvegan Castle

The majestic Dunvegan Castle is located on a high cliff, which made him invulnerable to water. To provide protection from the land, a stone wall was erected. At that time, all this was considered quite a serious defensive fortification.

The architecture of the castle is quite interesting because of a unique combination of different styles, which have been introduced in different centuries. The condition of the castle is relatively not bad, which allows visitors to plunge into the old days, but do not hope to see everything here in perfectly restored condition.

Inside Dunvegan Castle

The castle consists of six separate buildings, of which only one is closed to visitors, as it houses the administrative office and apartments current owner Hugh MacLeod.

Inside the castle there are a lot of portraits of members of the MacLeod clan, and hanging at the entrance to the second floor family tree of the clan. The rooms contain a lot of antique furniture, which is not bad preserved to this day.


Waterfall in the garden of Dunvegan Castle

The real decoration of the castle is a stunning garden. In it you will find many flowers, shrubs, trees, a waterfall, overgrown pond, sundial and much more. The garden can be divided into three parts: water park, round and main parks. The water park boasts the presence of two waterfalls and streams through which small bridges are thrown. In a round park, all paths lead to the center, unlike the main park, where you can flaunt among many flowers. In the garden you will also find an observation deck from which you can carefully examine everything around.

Relics of Dunvegan Castle

The castle still holds many relics including the flag (Fairy Banner), a horn called Sir Rory Mor and the goblet of Dunvegan Castle.

Magic flag

Dunvegan Castle protects the most important family value of the MacLeod clan, which is stored there - a certain magic flag. This flag is woven from silk and its color is a cross between yellow and brown. Due to the high quality of the fabric, it is believed that it was brought from the Far East and is very important. Of course, many mysterious stories are told about its origin: some associate the flag with the crusaders and their campaign in the Holy Land, while others associate it with the Vikings. However, Thomas Pennant, a Welsh antiquarian, believed that this flag was presented to the MacLeods by Titania, wife of Oberon (fairies king). He believed that Titania endowed the flag with certain forces that could be triggered by unrolling the flag three times. It is believed that his magical powers brought luck to some military personnel who flew on combat missions during World War II. Analysis of the fabric showed that the flag was made in the IV - VI century somewhere in the east.

Dunvegan Cup

Another MacLaudian relic is Dunvegan Cup. This is an oak vessel made in about 900 and decorated with silver plates, gold carvings and precious stones. It is believed that this bowl appeared in the MacLeod’s house in the 16th century as a gift from the O’Neil clan as a thank you for helping to fight the English Queen Elizabeth I.

Horn of Sir Rory More

With a cup Horn of Sir Rory More connected a very interesting story that laid a serious clan feud between the MacLeods and the Frasers. During the time of Malcolm MacLeod, a wild bull lived in the Glenelga forests, which for a long time terrorized local residents. Malcolm returned after a meeting with the wife of the head of the Frazier clan when he was attacked by an animal. With him, Malcolm MacLeod had only the Dirk (Scottish National Dagger), which was enough for him to stab a strong animal. He took a bull horn with him as a trophy. Also, thanks to this heroic act, Malcolm took possession of the heart of the wife of the head of the Frazier clan, who left her husband and went to her lover, which gave rise to a long inter-clan feud. A goblet was made from a bull’s horn, who was nicknamed the Horn of Sir Rory More. This cup is kept in the castle museum and is used in the tradition that centuries ago was laid down, which every new head of the clan is obliged to fulfill - to drink this vessel in one gulp, which is filled with red wine to the top.

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