Caisteal Grugaig is an Iron Age broch standing on a small rocky knoll on a grassy slope. The 'Glenelg Brochs' of Dun Telve and Dun Troddan are a few miles to the south. Caisteal Grugaig should not be confused with the 'semi-broch' known as Dun Grugaig which is also near Glenelg.
The broch has an external diameter of around 16.5 metres and an internal diameter of around 9.6 metres. The broch was built on uneven ground, so the natural floor of the broch has a slope. The entrance passage is on the northeast side and has a massive triangular lintel over the doorway. There is an elongated guard cell on the left side of the entrance passage.
The interior of the broch has two intramural rooms at ground level, one of which is a small, oval cell. The other is a long mural cell, or length of ground gallery, which has a blocked doorway. The sides of an upper room are apparent above the entrance passage. Also inside the broch is a doorway to the mural stair. The five steps of the stair lead up to a long landing which leads to the beginning of a second flight of stairs.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.