Kildonan Castle Ruins

Isle of Arran, United Kingdom

Kildonan Castle stands on the southern coast of the Isle of Arran. The castle's name is derived from the name of a former resident, Saint Donan, who is said to be buried on the island. It was built in the 13th century by the MacDonalds, the Lords of the Isles. The castle stands on the cliffs, overlooking the island of Pladda and the entrance to the Firth of Clyde. It was built to defend against enemies attacking through the Firth. The castle was used as a hunting lodge by the Kings of Scotland, including Robert III, when the island belonged to the crown. The castle became the property of the Earls of Arran in 1544.

Kildonan castle stands out on the old raised beach behind and above the village. It was once, with Lochranza Castle and Brodick Castle, one of three fortresses guarding Arran's strategically important position in the approaches to the Clyde. Today's Kildonan Castle is only a shadow of its former self, but still reflects its origins as a 13th Century keep.

The castle was originally built by the Lords of the Isles, but by 1406 was in the ownership of Robert III, who in that year passed it on to his illegitimate son, John Stewart of Ardgowan. In 1544 it was acquired by the Hamilton family, the Earls of Arran.

Kildonan Castle has long been ivy clad and unstable, making close examination a dangerous proposition. It also stands in the garden of a house, meaning that it can only be seen from a nearby right of way leading to the beach. Not far from the castle is an increasingly ruinous lookout tower, a relic from Kildonan's days as the location of Arran's only Coastguard station, which moved to Lamlash in 1981.



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Founded: 13th century
Category: Miscellaneous historic sites in United Kingdom

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3.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Karen Kerr (3 years ago)
A bit of a ruin not much to see
Martin Lawson (3 years ago)
Inaccessible - appears to be on privately owned land
Karen Lang (3 years ago)
Very historical and interesting.
Benedetta Comelli (5 years ago)
The castle is mostly ruins covered in ivy and is kind of difficult to reach, being absolutely surrounded by private houses. Still, a kind lady lend us a ladder to climb on the other side of her garden wall to reach it, and it was worthed, since we discovered an urn inside the collapsed wall. The lady told us was an archeologist from Edinburgh who wanted to rebuild the castle but died before he could fulfill his wish. The castle is tomb, but is very suggestive and have a gorgeous view on the sea and some kind of solemnity that it's better be respected. If you want to reach the ruins by the path on the beach is better, but watch out for slippery steps in the tall grass. If you like trekking and ancient castles this is a very interesting location to reach.
Pavel (5 years ago)
Privately owned. Literally in someone's back yard. Avoid! Good for the owners I guess...
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