12th century
aka Donollie

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NM 852 314
1m n. of Oban
n of A85 on foot


open site
limited parking
steep steps


Clan MacDougall


Dunollie Castle

You can walk to the castle from the harbor in Oban, it's only a few blocks past the rows of lovely old houses being offered as B&Bs. It might be a good idea to walk, actually -- there is room for one car in the little parking area (realy just a widening of the road) near the gate. Do not try to access the castle from Donollie House, that is a private drive.

It's a steep climb up the hill - wear good shoes.

part of the sea-ward wall

12th Century enclosure castle

The castle sits on the top of a steep hill overlooking the harbor. It has two distinct building phases - a 13th century castle and a 15th century tower. However, the rocky hill here in Oban has been fortified since the 4th or 5th century, and probably before that - it commands a defensive position over the harbor that would have been valuable to anyone settling here. The cliffs fall way steeply on the south and west, and the site is protected with thick walls to the north and east.

The earliest stone castle here is a small tower and courtyard built in the 13th centyry, although the ranges of buildings that would have filled the sapce are ruined to the foundation. You an see some of the outer walls, but they are competely ivy-covered and crumbling.

The tower is more solid (although also in danger of being eaten by the ivy), and stands on the landward sideof the hill. It stands four storeys, and mostly follows the standard architecture of tower houses from the 15th and 16th century: vaulted basement with a hall on the first storey, then private rooms above. Donollie, though, has a smaller hall on the first storey, and the main hall on the second, relegating living quarters to the upper floor only.

the ivy-covered main tower

The tower lies on the northeast corner of the courtyard, and meausred 12m x 11.3m. The entrance leads to a vaulted cellar, and small stsairs lead to the second storey Inside, you can see the remains of fireplaces and latrine chutes of the two halls.

A postern gate through the north wall is a weird little bendy passage

the interior of the tower, showing the various fireplaces on the first storey

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