Castle Consolidation Project
Dunollie Castle was gifted to Dunollie Projects Ltd in 2013 by The MacDougall of Dunollie
Preservation Trust. It is our responsibility to preserve the castle for the benefit of the general public.
Once a strategic vantage point for the Kings of Dalriada and the Lords of Lorn the castle now provides a magnificent view, is a subject of research and learning, is an emotive local icon and an important tourist attraction.
With funding from Historic Enviromental Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, The Clan MacDougall Society of North America as well as fundraising activties from visitors on site, we are able to undertake essential conservation works on the ancient monument.
A strategic defensive site and a symbol of power, Dun Ollaigh is mentioned in annals complied on Iona in the 7th and 8th century, has been in continuous ownership of the same family over centuries. Dated on the main to the 15th century the square tower may be earlier, as in suggested for parts of the North curtain wall. Dunollie castle was abandoned as a residence in the 18th century and used at some point as a quarry for building stone for Dunollie House and the 19th century steadings.
The Castle sits on a rocky promontory of old red conglomerate, a strategic defensive site guarding the north entrance to Oban Bay. It consists of a tower house, courtyard and a curtain-wall with traces of internal buildings. There are three stories of single apartments over the barrel-vaulted cellar, and intact staircase to the first floor.
Programme of Works
Phase I: Phase I was completed in spring 2014 and cost £100,000. This involved installing
safety fencing around vulnerable areas and specialist stone masons stabilising the wall heads to stop further deterioration and falling stones.
Phase II: The next phase of consolidation was completed in May 2016 and cost £257,000. This phase repaired and consolidated the South East and South West walls of the tower. This allowed us to remove the safety fencing from the courtyard and make the vaulted cellar accessible for the 2016 season.
Future Conservation Plans
Phase III: This next phase will include a hand rail up to the castle, removing greenery from the remaining Barmkin walls and a small archaeological dig to learn more about how people lived at the castle.
Phase IV: This will be the next large phase of works. This will repair and cosolidate the remaining two walls and secure stones on the first floor to allow public access.
Resources and Learning
The range of objects from the castle include the lock, the footstone, candlesticks, drinkers, bowls, spoons, a spinning wheel, a full for poster Jacobean embroidered bed dressing, a wide range of costume and a substantial amount of extremely important documentation dating back to the 17th century and through the Jacobite rebellions until the family left the castle and moved down the hill to their new house in 1746.Extraordinarily, despite the castle being a ruin, a substantial collection of objects, costume and archives from Dunollie Castle have survived.
These objects and archives provide the most exciting resource for research, learning material, activities, arts and future display. Dunollie Castle – Telling the Castle Story will bring all these elements together to create a dynamic project to shine a light on the castle, its place in history and its people.