Dun Ara Castle, Isle of Mull
~ History ~
1303 ~ Angus Og MacDonald, Lord of the Isles, arrives at Dun Ara Castle with Gillemoir MacLean, chief of the South of Mull.
Here they meet Gillebride, chief of the ancient MacKinnon Clan, masters of the North of Mull. Their purpose is to resolve a dispute over the MacKinnon claim and potential threat to the nearby Isle of Gometra, long held by the MacQuarrie Clan, who are allied to the powerful Clan MacLean.
The authority of the Lord of the Isles is sufficient to eventually resolve the dispute to the satisfaction of all concerned.
1354 ~ Dun Ara Castle, stronghold of the MacKinnons, is further strengthened in order to protect their lands on Mull.
1616 ~ Sir Lachlan MacKinnon is ordered to reside at Kilmorie, in Strathordell, away from their ancenstral home of Dun Ara Castle. However, both Lachlan and his son John eventually return to be buried at Dun Ara.
The medieval castle of Dun Ara was built on the site of a previous Dun or fort. The castle had a surrounding wall protecting a central keep or building on the main outcrop of rock. The location was valuable as it protected a harbour from which the castle could be reached.
It is situated on a commanding summit of one of several prominent rocky outcrops that lie scattered along the shores of Mishnish in the neighbourhood of Sorne Point.
The castle was fortified by enclosing the entire rock summit with a curtain-wall of stone and lime, which varies from about 4 to 5 feet in thickness. The footings of outer buildings and fragments of a protective dry stone wall enclosing this once important settlement can just about be made out.
Today access to the castle can be made from the Glengorm Castle estates, where you can park next to the coffee shop, cross the bridge for a walk that is signposted until you reach the edge of the estate, then its finding a rough path towards the shoreline. A keen eye is needed as many of the rocky outcrops all look the same, so finding the castle is a bit of a hunt until you find a small wooden sign at the bottom of the castle entrance. If you get a little lost, head to the shoreline, as there are a number of paths that will take you inland away from the castle. If you do take one of the paths inland you will however get to see the fabulous standing stones to the right of the path. Cross through the standing stones toward the shoreline and you will see the castle almost directly infront of you. Good walking boots is a must. Well worth the walk.