Lying now in ruins, Dunnyvaig was once the stronghold and sea base for the MacDonalds. They maintained their power base as Lords of the Isles until finally driven out by the Campbells three centuries later. Situated on a rocky outcrop on the east of Lagavulin Bay (famous for its malt Whisky) on the Island of Islay, from here 1,000 Islay men set off to fight at Bannockburn alongside Robert the Bruce in 1314.
Little of the original 13th century castle now remains. There are remnants of the first courtyard and the 1400s keep as well as much from the 1500s. The castle’s history is chequered with many comings and goings between prominent families and political groups. The Crown demanded a forfeit in 1493, then the MacIans of Ardnamurchan held it but passed it back to the MacDonalds in 1519. After the Campbells had it for a short time, it was leased back to the MacDonalds. After a fight or two in the 17th century, the castle was taken by the Covenanter, David Leslie, who hanged MacDonald from the Castle walls!
Photo by Tom Richardson