The ruined Dunollie Castle crowns a promontory to the north of the town of Oban and is surrounded on three sides by the sea. It is the ancient stronghold of the MacDougalls, the Lords of Lorn, barons so powerful that they once owned a third of Scotland. Their descendant MacDougall of MacDougall, Chief of the Clan MacDougall is still in possession of the castle and some surrounding lands, though on a
slightly smaller scale. There are no authentic records of the founding of Dunollie but the oldest part of the castle, the north curtain wall, was built in about 1150 by Somerled, the father of the first MacDougall. Nowadays only the keep of the castle remains, while fragments of other buildings, overgrown with ivy, can just be made out.
In 1647 the castle was besieged, and again in 1715 when the chief was fighting for the Jacobites it was besieged and this time forfeited, but was restored to the family in 1745 for their loyalty. Before all this, in Robert the Bruce's time, the then MacDougall married a daughter of the Red Comyn whom Bruce slew in St. Michael's Church, Dumfries. This and other deeds made the MacDougalls bitter enemies of Bruce and they resolved to thrash the uncrowned king in battle. Bruce and MacDougall met at Dalrigh near Tyndrum and in
the ensuing fight Bruce narrowly escaped death. The feud continued when Bruce became king and he marched against the MacDougalls and practically annihilated the Clan at a battle near the Bridge of Awe. After this defeat the MacDougalls retreated to Dunollie and lost all but a few of the lands around their ancestral home.
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