Finlaggan :: Shared Description

The ancient historical site of Finlaggan lies towards the north of the isle of Islay, the remains of the buildings are clustered on a little islet called Eilean Mòr ("Big island" despite its size) with a tiny circular islet, Eilean na Comhairle "council isle" a few dozen yards to its southwest - according to a sign board on the site "The Council Island, reached from here by a stone causeway, was the meeting place for the Council of the Isles. Recent excavations have revealed the ruins of an Iron Age stronghold - a dun or broch - on the island. And at a later date, perhaps in the C13th a castle was built over the ruins of this fort. The castle was dismantled and replaced by buildings occupied in the 1400s, one of which is thought to have been the Council Chamber."
A third island, Eilean Mhuireill lies much further away off the southern end of the eastern coast of the loch. It is a Crannog LinkExternal link and may have once been used by the Clan Donald as a prison island.
Eilean Mòr is now linked to mainland Islay by a wooden causeway, but until recently access was only by small boat. Council isle remains detached, as does Eilean Mhuireill.
This group of islands in Loch Finlaggan was the clan headquarters of the Clan Donald, Lords of the Isles, and though the OS map labels the site as a "Castle" it is better thought of as an ancient palace.
Most of the ruined buildings now visible date from the 14th to 16th centuries, but the site dates back much further into antiquity, with its period of greatest importance being in the reign of John, First Lord of the Isles (1329-80), while its history stretches back to at least the Iron Age.
The main identified areas on Eilean Mòr consist of:
The Great Hall
The Lord's Residence
C14th Chapel
Food Preparation Area
Cross Plinth in Burial Ground
C16th/17th Dwelling
C16th/17th Barn
There is a good overview of the site here LinkExternal link
The relevant Canmore pages (with details, photos etc.) are:
The Castle / Palace: LinkExternal link
Council Isle: LinkExternal link
Standing Stone: LinkExternal link
Eilean Mhuireill: LinkExternal link
by Rob Farrow

32 images use this description. Preview sample shown below:

NR3868 : Finlaggan - Knight grave slab by Rob Farrow
NR3868 : Finlaggan in the Medieval Period by M J Richardson
NR3868 : Finlaggan - Grave slab - Knight by Rob Farrow
NR3868 : Old jetty on Eilean Mòr by M J Richardson
NR3868 : Finlaggan - The Council Island by M J Richardson
NR3868 : Eilean na Comhairle by M J Richardson
NR3868 : Finlaggan in Loch Finlaggan by Rob Farrow
NR3868 : Reeds on Eilean Mòr by M J Richardson
NR3868 : Welcome to Finlaggan by M J Richardson
NR3868 : Finlaggan - a raised walkway to Eilean Mòr by M J Richardson
NR3868 : Finlaggan - Great Hall (ruin) and Council Isle by Rob Farrow
NR3868 : The Great Hall at Finlaggan by M J Richardson
NR3868 : Finlaggan raised walkway by M J Richardson
NR3868 : House on Eilean Mòr by M J Richardson
NR3868 : Finlaggan - Modern causeway to Eilean Mòr by Rob Farrow
NR3868 : Finlaggan - Grave slabs inside the chapel by Rob Farrow
NR3868 : Finlaggan - View to the Chapel from the Great Hall by Rob Farrow
NR3868 : Finlaggan - The Chapel by M J Richardson
NR3868 : House on Eilean Mòr at Finlaggan by M J Richardson
NR3868 : Loch Finlaggan by M J Richardson
NR3868 : Finlaggan - The Chapel (ruins) by Rob Farrow
NR3868 : Chapel at Finlaggan by M J Richardson
NR3868 : Finlaggan - Council Isle (Eilean na Comhairle) by Rob Farrow
NR3868 : Eilean Mòr at Finlaggan by M J Richardson
NR3968 : Finlaggan Visitor Centre by M J Richardson

... and 7 more images.
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Created: Mon, 12 May 2014, Updated: Tue, 13 May 2014

The 'Shared Description' text on this page is Copyright 2014 Rob Farrow, however it is specifically licensed so that contributors can reuse it on their own images without restriction.