The archaeological and museum complex of Viladonga occupies the peak of a mountain from the visitor can behold the spectacular view of the Terra Chá (Flat Land) of Lugo and the mountain chains of Monciro, Pradairo and Meira. It is located in Castro de Rei.
The archaeological importance and the historical interest of the Castro de Viladonga were showcased after excavations initiated in 1971, due to the monumentality and the diversity of structures discovered and to the quantity and quality of the findings. The site is a remarkable example of settlement, especially between the 2nd and 5th centuries AD, very important for the knowledge, study and understanding of the castro world after the Roman conquer. The archaeological works of excavation and cleaning and consolidation are still taking place in the castro.
The Castro de Viladonga Museum was opened in November 1986. The museum main aim pivots around the interpretation and explanation of the site and the host and exhibition of materials from the successive excavations. It is located in between the two last walls of the southeast side of the castro, very close to the peak.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.