Eilean Donan Castle is situated on an island in North West Scotland where three great sea lochs – Loch Alsh, Loch Long and Loch Duich, meet. The castle is surrounded by water and mountains and it is one of the most popular attractions in the highlands of Scotland.
The name Eilean Donan (island of Donan), probably arises from its use as a chapel site by St Donnan of Eigg, in the 6th century. The first fortified castle was built in 1220 for Alexander II as a defence against the Vikings. Since that time the castle has been built and re-built about four times as a result of the almost constant conflict it has seen over the centuries.
The present castle was built between 1911 and 1931 after it had lain in ruins for almost 200 years when it was destroyed during the quelling of a Jacobite uprising in 1719.
The rebuilding work was carried out under the supervision of the then owner, Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap. In addition to restoring the castle to its former glory the restoration included the construction of an arched bridge from the mainland to give easier access to the castle. In 1983 The Conchra Charitable Trust was formed by the MacRae family to care for the Castle.
Eilean Donan Castle is much in demand by film makers seeking to exploit its picturesque and romantic location and the castle has featured in several films. Among the most well-known are the James Bond film The World is Not Enough (1999) and Highlander (1986).
Today, it is possible to explore nearly every part of the castle and take a journey through the troubled history of the area. The Castle now has its own visitor centre, which includes the Ticket Office, Coffee Shop, Gift Shop and toilets.
There is no disabled or wheelchair access into the castle itself but a computer-based Virtual Tour is available for disabled visitors or anyone else who is unable to negotiate the large number of steps.
For those who would enjoy a longer stay at Eilean Donan Castle the Castle Cottage is available for weekly lets. The cottage sleeps four and is located within the grounds of the castle.
Ample car parking is available within the castle grounds at no extra charge.
Eilean Donan Castle
by Kyle of Lochalsh