Dun Ringill

Dun Ringill, Isle of Skye

Dun Ringill is located on a rocky outcrop by the shore line as you would expect, surrounded by remains of ancient walling a round-house remains, which makes this site all the more  interesting to explore. One of the facinating features of this dun is that the passage way entrance is almost intact, which you can enter and climb up into the top of the dun with overlooks the sea. A further fasinating point is that this ancient fortification was used during medieval times as the principle home of Clan MacKinnon, until they abandoned it for their newly built Caisteal Maol further round the island, near what is now the new bridge across to Skye.


Exploring this prehistoric dun it seems to me incredible that a Clan could still have inhabited it as late as the fifteenth century, and by other families as late as the nineteenth century, as it has all the appearance of more iron age than late medieval, let alone someone's home of just two hundred years ago!


Access to the castle from the minor road is through an iron gate that takes you along a woodland footpath across a stream down towards the shoreline. Do take care to park by the side of the road with due consideration as the farm opposite the gate is a working farm. The walk itself takes you along the shoreline until it takes you more inland where it becomes really very boggy, until it takes you slightly uphill towards the dun, across waiste high grass and hidden boggy areas, so care and decent footware is a must.

Location

Kilmarie, minor road signposted old churchyard

Road

Off B8083

SatNav

Nr IV49 9AX

A Dun is a generic term for an ancient or medieval fort. It is mainly used in the British Isles to describe a kind of hill fort or roundhouse.

The term comes from Irish dún or Scottish Gaelic dùn (meaning "fort"), and is cognate with Old Welsh din, whence Welsh dinas (meaning "city") comes.


In some areas duns were built on any suitable crag or hillock, particularly south of the Firth of Clyde and the Firth of Forth. There are many duns on the west coast of Ireland and they feature in Irish mythology.


Duns seem to have arrived with Celtic cultures in about the 7th century BC. Early duns had near vertical ramparts made of stone and timber. Use of duns continued in some parts into the Middle Ages.


Duns are similar to brochs, but are smaller and probably would not have been capable of supporting a very tall structure. Good examples of this kind of dun can be found in the Western Isles of Scotland, on artificial islands in small lakes.