On the three ridges of the hill of Terravecchia it is situated the ancient area of Occhiolà, that developed him along an only principal road axle of medieval origin, it notices a great deal simple structures, typical of a country suburb.
On the tall part the imposing castle was found, of which lean traces remain, among which a buttress realized with blocks of square stone. This hilly system that constitutes the greatest part of the territory of Grammichele is an extraordinary archaeological layer that continues to be dug and studied since the first searches of Paul Orsi at the end of last century, and that today you/he/she could become a great cultural park. Here it is found, probably, the ancient Echetla, city sicula then ellenizzata, testimony of the Greek expansion toward the hinterland, of the relationships between natives and Greek.
Necropolis, residences and sacred areas have returned innumerable finds that notice the wealth and the artistic taste of this center.
The earthquake of 1693 completely destroyed Occhiolà and citizens moved to the near Grammichele.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.