This evening, I am focusing on Finlaggan, a very ancient site located in the north of the island of Islay, a few miles west of Port Askaig.

This particular area of Islay appears to have been important in prehistory as evidenced by a standing stone and evidence of crannogs. From the 12th to 16th centuries, Finlaggan was the power base of the chiefs of Clan MacDonald, Lords of the Isles who controlled vast tracts of the west of Scotland. The progenitor of the clan was Somerled who established a ruling dynasty following his defeat of the Norse in a sea battleĀ during 1156.

Finlaggan, Islay, Scotland

Eilean Mor is the largest island. Here archaeologists have found evidence of fortifications, a great hall, extensive living quarters, a chapel and pave roads. These features collectively suggest a wealthy and sophisticated population.

Finlaggan, Islay, Scotland

Eilean Na Comhairle translates as ‘council island’. This was where the Lords of the Isles held meetings of the Council of the Isles. Here have been found massive walls suggestive of a medieval castle or 13th century hall-house which appears to have been occupied up until the 15th century. Before the medieval structure there may have existed a dun or broch (defensive iron-ageĀ buildings). A Stone Age axe found on the site indicates occupation dating back about 5000 years.

There is a visitor centre and the site is open to the public.

Here is an image of a prehistoric standing stone close to the site. This may date back to round 3000 BC.

 

 

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