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Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

Eilean Donan Castle

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Historic Buildings and Monuments


Address:

Opening Hours:
The Castle & Exhibitions 10am - 6.00pm (Last Admission 5.00pm) Every day 17 March - 17 Nov (9.00am opening during July & August) The Visitor Centre(Reception, Coffee shop & Toilets) 10am - 5pm Every day 17 March - 17 Nov Gift shop open all year

Eilean Donan Castle Stately Home in Kyle of Lochalsh, The Highlands, Scotland


One of the most iconic castles in the world

An incredibly iconic castle that has symbolised the Highlands of Scotland wordwide, especially in more recent history as it has featured in countless feature films including Highlander. It is amusing to see visitors on the road to Skye suddenly stop and realise the recognise the castle from movies, shortbread tins, postcards, tv, cinema, or advertising campaigns.

Extract from Wikipedia.com 

The original castle was built in 1220 for Alexander II as a defence against the Vikings. By the late 13th century it had become a stronghold of the Mackenzies of Kintail (later the Earls of Seaforth). In 1511, the MacRaes, as protectors of the MacKenzies, became the hereditary Constables of the Castle.
 

In 1539 Iain Dubh Matheson, chief of the Clan Matheson died whilst defending the Castle on Eilean Donan island against the Clan MacDonald of Sleat on behalf of the Clan MacRae and Clan MacKenzie.

In April 1719 the castle was occupied by Spanish troops attempting to start another Jacobite Rising. The castle was recaptured, and then demolished, by three Royal Navy frigates on 10–13 May 1719. The Spanish troops were defeated a month later at the Battle of Glen Shiel.

The castle was restored in the years between 1919 and 1932 by Lt. Col. John MacRae-Gilstrap. The restoration included the construction of an arched bridge to give easier access to the castle. In 1983 The Conchra Charitable Trust was formed by the MacRae family to care for the Castle.

It is now one of the most photographed monuments in Scotland and a popular venue for weddings and film locations. It has appeared in such films as Highlander (1985), Loch Ness (1995) and The World is not Enough (1999), and on the cover of Secret Garden's 2000 album Dreamcatcher.

Eilean Donan is the home of the Clan MacRae. In 2001, the island had a population of just one person.

On a clear day it is possible to see the Isle of Skye from the castle.

The Castle's a Film Star:

In 1935, Eilean Donan Castle apparently featured in the movie called The Ghost Goes West (directed by Rene Clair and starring Robert Donat, Jean Parker and Elsa Lanchester).

  • The 1952 version of Robert Louis Stevenson's The Master of Ballantrae (starring Errol Flynn) featured Eilean Donan Castle as 'Ballantrae'.
  • In 1984 it featured in the movie Highlander with Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery. This is not the only film Eilean Donan Castle has featured in, of course. It's quite the film star. It's even in Monty Python and the Holy Grail!
  • The castle also featured in the 1995 movie called Loch Ness starring Ted Danson where it was used in a few brief shots in place of Urquhart Castle (which is the real castle on Loch Ness).
  • In January 1999 filming took place here for the 19th James Bond movie 'The World is Not Enough'. The exterior of the castle is used in the movie as 'Castle Thane', the Scottish Highland HQ of MI6.
  • The Castle was also used as the location of the home fictitious of Baron Kirkleven in the bbc mini series "Oliver's Travels".
  • In 1980, a short film was made around Eilean Donnan Castle by Director Roger Christian. It was a precursor to the epic fantasy Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Stirkes Back, and was released originally just beofre the Star Wars followup. However, the original reel was lost after the production company collapsed, but it has been recently rediscovered, remastered and is now available to watch on YouTube. Visit our Scotland on Film page to see the entire film, preceeded by an exclusive modern introduction from the Director.


     

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