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Updated 06/08/2020


Dunvegan Castle

Dunvegan Castle is located 1 mile to the north of Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye, off the west coast of Scotland. It is the seat of the MacLeod of MacLeod, chief of the Clan MacLeod. The castle occupies the summit of a rock some 50 feet above sea level, which projects on to the eastern shore of a north-facing inlet or bay. On the eastern, landward side of the site is a partly natural ditch around 18 feet deep.

The site is likely to have been a Norse dun (fort), though no traces of any prehistoric structure now remain. The promontory was enclosed by a curtain wall in the 13th century, and a four-story tower house was built in the late 14th century. This tower was similar in style to contemporary structures at Kisimul Castle and Caisteal Maol.  Alasdair Crotach, the 8th chief, added the Fairy Tower as a separate building around 1500. During the 17th century, new ranges of buildings were put up between the old tower and the Fairy Tower, beginning in 1623 with the state apartment built by Ruaraidh Mor. The old tower was subsequently abandoned until the late 18th century, when the 23rd chief began the process of homogenizing the appearance of the castle. This process continued under the 24th and 25th chiefs, with the addition of mock battlements and the new approach over a drawbridge from the east.

Notable family heirlooms kept at Dunvegan Castle include the Dunvegan Cup, Fairy Flag and Sir Rory Morís Cup.