Castro de Castromaior in Portomarin is one of the most popular archaeological sites in the northwest of the peninsula. In this castro, developed in the Iron Age, it was inhabited between the fourth centuries BC and first century AD until three different populations, until its abandonment with the first Roman approaches. Of him they emphasize his big dimensions, since it counts on an area of approximately 5 hectares, and his good state of conservation.
Between 2006 and 2010 it was the center of archaeological works in order to discover its entire structure, thereby achieving that in 2010 it obtained the title of Cultural Interest. Thanks to this title and being located a few meters from the route that connects the French Way with Santiago de Compostela, it has become one of the most popular locations on the Camino de Santiago.
Like other popular castros, the Castro de Castromaior is located on an elevation since its inhabitants had great visibility to be prepared for enemy attacks. It is distributed by a main enclosure, where homes were concentrated, and different walled platforms located outside. According to experts, the usual houses that formed in castro, were initially made with vegetables, but a fire calcined them and were rebuilt with stone walls. Currently, in the castro the ditches and holes where the posts were located are preserved.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.