Kisimul, Isle of Barra. Part 1: The Castle and the MacNeills
Castle, tower house, private chapel, courtyard
Kisimul Castle; Castlebay; Isle of Barra; Outer Hebrides; Scotland; UKNGR: 66522,797944(Point)
Kisimul Castle was taken into the guardianship of Historic Scotland in 2000 and in order to inform any future works for its upkeep a programme of archaeological evaluation, building recording and historical research was undertaken in 2001. Following on from this, a detailed programme of post-excavation analysis and research was conducted in 2011–12. The archaeological works revealed frustratingly little about the construction of the castle but did identify evidence for prehistoric as well as post-medieval occupation of the site and provided an evocative picture of life on the isle and its inhabitants. This will be covered subsequently in Part 2. By contrast, the historical and architectural work presents a good case for an early 15th-century origin for the castle supporting Dunbar’s (1978) earlier hypothesis and these are discussed in this Part 1.
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