Friday, June 12, 2009

Dunollie Castle. In need of a Little TLC.

Camouflaged in the intense green scenery of Oban Bay is Dunollie Castle, seat of the MacDougalls, senior branch of the sons of Somerled, but one that opposed Robert the Bruce and suffered grievously for it. I was in Oban on Tuesday for a meeting of Scotland's Tourism Innovation Group; and as you can see, the weather was sensational.

They lost a lot, but the MacDougalls kept hold of Dunollie and the island of Kerrera from which this photo was taken; they also kept hold of the Brooch of Lorne, famously snatched from King Robert at Dalrigh, and still in the possession of the clan.

Dunollie, a place of pilgrimage for the clan, is badly in need of restoration. And the Brooch of Lorne, a clan icon for 700 years, is playing its part in raising funds as the talisman of a play 'The Hidden Jewel' to be performed at the castle 17 to 23 July 2009. Tickets and more detail here.

Another MacDougall initiative is the Hope MacDougall Collection, a remarkable collection of artefacts reflecting domestic and working life in the Highlands and Islands over the past 200 years. A selection is currently on display in a shop on George Street. More here.

Dunollie badly needs help; and happily the MacDougalls have some impressive form in the field of restoring castles. In May 2006 remote Gylen Castle (below), on the southern tip of Kerrera and ruinous since 1647, was opened to the public. Let's hope they can pull it off again.

It was alsoat Gylen that the Brooch of Lorne was stolen by the Campbells of Lochawe. But that is another story...

No comments: