Dunvegan Castle

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Dunvegan Castle, Dunvegan, United Kingdom
01470 521206

Dunvegan Castle Reviews

sarahelaine sarahela…
651 reviews
Dunvegan castle, gardens, and fairy flag Jul 26, 2010
Dunvegan castle is the traditional home of the MacLeods, who held extensive lands in the West of Scotland. It has an interesting castle, lovely gardens, and of course, the Fairy Flag.

The Fairy Flag is a faded flag that, according to legend, was a gift to the family from the fairies. Rather more prosaic modern analysis suggests that it is actually ancient silk, probably from the 4th century AD and possibly from Rhodes. That’s actually almost as impressive – why on earth a medieval fairy/ lord with a talent for PR would have an already ancient flag with the clan motto embroidered on it about their person is a really interesting question. Needless to say, the Fairy Flag has protected the MacLeods in battle and they are still in possession of it and a stately home when most of their contemporaries went bankrupt or had their lands confiscated by various disgruntled kings. Apparently, photos of it were taken into battle by service men as recently as world war 2. It is very tattered, very fragile, and there are at least three contradictory stories about its origins and powers. Wikipedia has a fuller account.

The rest of the castle is interesting, in that it is a medieval castle that was converted in the 18th century or so to be a more modern stately home. Ceilings were lowered, rooms were added, and kitchens modernised. It still has a dungeon, of course, which looks extremely unpleasant and was placed right next to the kitchens, complete with a vent so that starving prisoners could smell the food cooking. The castle seems to be incredibly pleased with this fact. There is also one of the few authentic medieval Claymores left, some interesting pictures of the Hebrides, Shetland and St Kilda at the beginning of the 20th Century, and some portraits of various MacLeods.

The gardens are lovely. Skye sits under the gulf stream, with the sea acting as a further moderator of the temperature. Like Inverewe further north, this means that gardens will grow all sorts of plants you don’t normally see so far North. I was particularly in love with the water garden, except for the bus tour standing in front of everything, and the fuschia trees growing all over the place. It was lovely, even in the rain.

Admission is about average for the area, and there is a car park and a gift shop. Accessibility is OK, although you wouldn’t be able to see inside the castle if you can’t get up stairs because there is no lift.
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fransglobal says:
I thought the rainbow flag was the 'fairy' flag...
Posted on: Aug 04, 2010
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