L'Isle Castle was built in 1696 by Charles de Chandieu, lieutenant general of the Swiss Guards of Louis XIV, on plans Hardouint Jules Mansard, nephew of the great Mansard. After the hands of different families, it was bought by the municipality of L'Isle in 1876 which transforms it into school classes and as home town.
L'Isle Castle draws a U-shaped plan, between courtyard and garden, with a main building, where are the reception rooms and apartments for teachers and two wings containing services (kitchen, pantry, servants' rooms) and secondary local (archives, library, attic). Note the impressive framing Mansard is in perfect condition. In French-speaking Switzerland, the castle of L'Isle is the first regional example of French classicism and is a key milestone in the dissemination of this current. In 1710, a French garden, with ponds and two rows of trees are created. Waters of the Venoge river are used to establish a comprehensive water plan with a jet of water placed in the axis of the house. The lounge and dining room, the only two original parts furnished are used for cultural or official events. Once the cave was used as a kitchen and refectory for staff and as a prison. After its renovation, different parts of the vaulted and paved spaces are an ideal place for cultural and friendly activities.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.