Attel Abbey was a monastery, originally of the Benedictines, later of the Brothers Hospitallers. The monastery, dedicated to Saint Mary the Virgin and Saint Michael was founded as a Benedictine abbey by Count Arnold of Diessen-Andechs in around 1037. It was dissolved in 1803 in the secularisation of Bavaria. The abbey buildings were partly demolished, partly acquired by private owners.
In 1874 the Bavarian government set up a home for disabled men in the remaining premises, the running of which they entrusted to the Order of the Brothers Hospitallers. Apart from the years of World War II, when under the National Socialist government the Brothers were obliged to close the home and leave, they remained here until 1970, when declining numbers forced them to give up Attel. The running of the home was taken over by the Charity Union of München-Freising until 1994, when it became independently managed.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.