I think that Eilean Donan is on every single Scotland Calendar — it is the most photographed castle in Scotland! It sits on a small island, reached only by a stone bridge and is truly a picturesque setting.
Alexander III gave the surrounding lands to Colin Fitzgerald for his help in defeating the Norse King Haco at the battle of Largs in 1263. The family later changed their name to Mackenzie.
Randolph, Earl of Moray, executed 50 people here in 1331 and put their heads on pikes on the castle wall (euu!). The castle was captured by the Earl of Huntly in 1504, and the castle was handed to the MacRaes in 1509. It was besieged by Donald Gorm MacDonald (see Duntulm) in 1539, but he was killed by an arrow shot from the castle during the attack.
Eilean Donan was garrisoned with Spanish troops during the rising of 1719, but it was surrendered after being attacked by three frigates from the seaward side, and it was blown up from within. It was completely ruined, but restored in the 20th century.
The castle is mainly a 13th century wall with a 14th century tower on one end. Other ranges were added later around the courtyard. The main hall of the tower is on the first floor and the basement is barrel-vaulted. Private rooms are above the hall.
The ghost of one of the soldiers of the Spanish garrison haunts the castle, and Lady Mary haunts one of the bedrooms. Nearly every haunted castle claims to be haunted by Mary, Queen of Scots. Maybe she rotates through them all?
Unfortunately, we arrived too late at the castle to go inside. We were on our way to our hotel for the night and realized it would take us right by the castle, so we popped in for a few minutes to get some pictures and find a restroom. The first was easier than the latter, I assure you! THey closed the visitor’s center promptly at 5:00 (a little early, actually) and we could only take a quick peek.
The castle has been featured in many movies because of its fabulous location