Duart Castle, Isle of Mull, Scotland

This evening, I am posting information on Duart Castle on the Isle of Mull, West of Scotland.

This castle is long associated with the Chief of Clan MacLean.

Duart Castle occupies a ‘command and control’ position on Duart Point near Craignure at the junction of the Sound of Mull, Loch Linnhe and Firth of Lorn. This location was strategically important because, until around the 18th century, waterways were a principal means of communication around the Highlands and islands of Scotland.

Duart Castle, Isle of Mull, Scotland

A summary of the castle’s history is as follows:-

  • A defended site since ancient times. A medieval castle existed in the 13th century. The MacLeans gained control during the 14th century and embellished the structure with a stone keep in 1370.
  • A sudden storm saved the castle from attack by Oliver Cromwell’s ships in 1653.
  • From 1608 the MacLeans swore loyalty to the Royal house of Stewart.
  • In 1647 the castle was lost to the superior forces of General Leslie who was fighting for the anti-Royalist, Parliamentary forces in the English civil war.
  • The MacLeans tended to be on the losing side in late 17th century battles which resulted in financial difficulties for the clan.
  • The castle was bombarded by fleets from Clan Campbell and was finally lost after the Battle of Cairnburg Mhor in 1691. Thereafter MacLean estates were forfeited.
  • Between 1745 and 1751 the castle was garrisoned by Hanoverian troops who torched it on departure.
  • The castle today is the result of extensive restoration undertaken during the period 1911 and 1936 by Sir Fitzroy MacLean.
  • In 2016 a mystery carving believed to date back to the 13th century was discovered on the walls of a castle.This may be a quasi-erotic image known as a Sheela Na Gig which is often found on old churches to protect the building from evil spirits, Sheela Na Gigs traditionally depict a naked woman with an ugly face.

Loch Linnhe from Duart Castle, Scotland.

The castle is open to the public during the tourist season.

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