Dun Eibhinn

Dun Eibhinn, Isle of Colonsay

Dun Eibhnin (9)
Dun Eibhnin (6)
Dun Eibhnin (5)
Dun Eibhnin (4)
Dun Eibhnin (2)
Dun Eibhnin (1)


West of Scalasaig




Nr PA61 7YP

The well-preserved remains of Dun Eibhinn occupies a high debris-strewn hill rising from boggy land. The ruined, but strongly-built inner wall surrounds the flat top of the hill, on which are traces of huts, and has a narrow entrance to the North East, now somewhat altered and robbed. The other walls of the fort lie below the crest of the hill and have been heavily robbed for the building of a medieval hall for "the Lord of of Dunevin in Colonsay".

This dun occupies a detached rocky knoll, some 50 feet high, commanding extensive views over the southern part of the island.

~ History ~

1000's ~ The High King Gillee Adamnan builds himself s a royal residence at Dun Eibhinn.

It is later a seat of Viking power in the Western Isles and then occupied by descendants of Gille Adamnan, including the mighty Somerled and his grandson Donald, progenitor of Clan Donald.

1164 ~ Clan Macfie (Gaelic MacDhubhsith) come into contact with the Holy Island of Iona, leading to the building of the Augustinian priory on Oronsay some 160 years later.

1200's ~ The dun comes into Clan Macfie possession, who are the Keepers of the Records for the Lords of the Isles, providing many of the Priors for the Priory on Oronsay.

1265 ~ The Norse finally surrender all authority in the isles the Crown of Scotland. The Macfies are not ejected, but continue as the Chiefs of Colonsay, under the MacDonald Lords of the Isles. 

1314 ~ Macfie of Colonsay is present at the Battle of Bannockburn with King Robert the Bruce's victory over the English King Edward II.

1463 ~ Macfie of Colonsay becomes a member of the infleuntial Council of the Isles.

1531 ~ Macfie of Colonsay is cited for treason for remaining a supporter of the forfeited MacDonald Lordship of the Isles. This begins decades of clan fueds with the Macleans of Duart Castle of the Isle of Mull.

1609 ~ Included in the number of Hebridean Cheifs forced to sign the Statutes of Iona under threat from the Scottish Crown are the Macfie's of Colonsay.

1615 ~ Malcolm, last cheif of Clan Macfie, supports the uprising of Sir James MacDonald's rebellion to reclaim the Lordship of the Isles.

1623 ~ Malcolm, is murdered by his former MacDonald comrade in arms, the renegade mercenary and traiter Col Ciotach MacDonald, in view of Malcolm's own dun. Col Ciotach had earlier made terms with the MacDonald's arch rivals the Campbells, in order to save his own life. The understanding is that during the MacDonald expedition against the Campbells, he would apprehend and deliver as many of the Cheifs involved as possible to the Campbells. Macfie is one of the principle chiefs who are betrayed and incarcerated.

Malcolm Macfie is eventually allowed to return to Colonsay, but upon arriving finds Col Ciotach residing on his Island. It is not long before a bitter fued erupts into open conflict. Malcolm is forced to flee and is hunted throughout Oronsay, hiding among the rocks and seaweed. His position is however given away by seagulls.

He and his two sons are captured, returned to Colonsay, where they are murdered by Col Ciotach and his men.

After this the clan is dispossessed of its lands,  broken and dispersed, their dun abandoned.

1745 ~ A Macfie is one of the two pipers at Glenfinnan when Bonnie Prince Charlie raises his standard at the start of the final Jacobite rebellion.

1746 ~  Clan members die on the right flank at the Jacobite defeat at Culloden fighting alongside the Camerons, which they later share a common grave on the desolate moor.