KILDONAN DUN

Looking for a different Kildonan? Try Kildonan Castle (Arran).

Kildonan Dun is a well preserved example of a fortified farmstead from the first or second century AD. Located on the eastern shores of Kintyre overlooking Kilbrannan Sound, the dun would have been the centre of a small farming and fishing community. The structure was inhabited for over seven hundred years.

History

 

Kildonan Dun was built around the first or second century AD and served as a fortified enclosure associated with a small farmstead. The dun was protected by an irregularly shaped curtain wall, the trace of which was defined by the terrain on which it was built. It was constructed from rubble and fronted with boulders. Access was via a single entrance which was secured by a wooden door. Within the curtain wall there would have been one or more huts and almost certainly an area for holding livestock. The uneven ground seen today was originally flattened with gravel and the entrance passage was paved. The perimeter wall also included a wall walk accessed from stairs built within its thickness.

 

Like the Tower Houses that sprung up across Scotland throughout the late-Medieval period, the dun would have formed the centrepiece of a small community. Archaeological evidence points to the existence of several small timber huts in the vicinity and the surrounding area would have been farmed. Furthermore the community would undoubtedly have exploited the rich natural resources from Kilbrannan Sound.

 

Kildonan seems have been occupied for an extended period with this continuing even after Kintyre had become incorporated into the Kingdom of Dál Riata (which was centred on Dunadd hillfort). It was still occupied by the ninth century AD - some 700 years after its original construction! Although abandoned sometime after, it was re-occupied in the late twelfth century and was used as a livestock stock enclosure.

 

 

Bibliography

 

CANMORE (2016). Kildonan. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

Fairhurst, H (1939). The galleried dun at Kildonan Bay, Kintyre.

Feachem, R (1963). A guide to prehistoric Scotland. London

Konstam, A (2010). Strongholds of the Picts; the Fortifications of Dark Age Scotland. Osprey, Oxford.

Ritchie, J and Harman, M (1985). Exploring Scotland's heritage: Argyll and the Western Isles. Edinburgh.

Tabraham, C (2000). Scottish Castles and Fortifications. Historic Scotland, Haddington.

What's There?

Kildonan Dun is a first or second century AD fortified farmstead. The waterside location offers superb views on a clear day.

Kildonan Dun. The dun was an enclosure fortification where the curtain wall protected a number of smaller buildings within. Such structures were commonplace during the period as were brochs, which tended to be smaller and were normally roofed.

Interior. The interior of the dun.

Stairs. The walk walk on top of the curtain wall was accessed via an internal set of stairs.

Curtain Wall. The curtain wall was built from rubble.

Kildonan Dun. The dun was built on a rise overlooking Kilbrannan Sound.

Getting There

Kildonan Dun is located just off the B842. There is a car parking directly opposite (Forestry Commission Ballochgair).

Car Park

PA28 6QR

55.494094N 5.516124W

Kildonan Dun

No Postcode

55.493431N 5.515081W