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‘Coastal Castles of Clan Donald’ exhibition opens on Skye

A new exhibition at the Museum of the Isles, Armadale Castle, explores the fascinating history of Clan Donald and their coastal castles

Marking Scotland’s 2020 Year of Coasts and Waters, a new exhibition at the Museum of the Isles, Armadale Castle navigates the history of the Clan Donald chiefs, Lords of the Isles in medieval times who commanded sea routes that were vital to maintaining power over wild and inaccessible lands.

Sue Geale, Museum Manager said: “We are delighted to mark the re-opening of the museum with the launch of this exhibition. We have thoroughly enjoyed researching the stories behind these castles and unearthing material from our museum stores to illustrate them.”

Duntulm Castle, Isle of Skye, c.1786. Copper plate engraving published by Alexander Hogg. Credit: Museum of the Isles, Armadale Castle

Using prints, drawings and maps, as well as photography and film, the exhibition traces the evolution of clan castles from 10th century fortifications to 19th century manor houses.  Those featured include the ancient Lordship seat of Finlaggan on Islay; Castle Sween in Argyll, Scotland’s earliest stone castle; the evocative tower house of Ormacleit on South Uist; and Castle Camus (Knock Castle) on Skye – the site of bloody inter-clan rivalry – among others. The exhibition itself is sponsored by Torabhaig Distillery, the south Skye distillery based nearby Castle Camus.

Skia vel Skiana, The Yle of Skie, c.1654. Map from the Blaeu Atlas of Scotland, the first known atlas of Scotland drawn by Timothy Pont (c1564-1614). Credit: The Museum of the Isles, Armadale Castle

The Museum of the Isles also incorporates permanent displays and is itself located in Sleat, south Skye, where you can extend your visit to take in the wider attraction of Armadale Castle, including its historic gardens and castle ruin (the former seat of the Macdonalds of Sleat).

The museum and exhibition are open Wednesday – Saturday and the gardens Tuesday – Sunday in September.Visitors are advised to check the Armadale Castle website for October and November opening times and to familiarise themselves with COVID-19 precautions. Tickets can be purchased at the entrance.  

www.armadalecastle.com 

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