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Eilean donan

The meaning of «eilean donan»

Eilean Donan (Scottish Gaelic: Eilean Donnain) is a small tidal island situated at the confluence of three sea lochs (Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh) in the western Highlands of Scotland, about .mw-parser-output .frac{white-space:nowrap}.mw-parser-output .frac .num,.mw-parser-output .frac .den{font-size:80%;line-height:0;vertical-align:super}.mw-parser-output .frac .den{vertical-align:sub}.mw-parser-output .sr-only{border:0;clip:rect(0,0,0,0);height:1px;margin:-1px;overflow:hidden;padding:0;position:absolute;width:1px}1 kilometre (5⁄8 mi) from the village of Dornie. It is connected to the mainland by a footbridge that was installed early in the 20th century and is dominated by a picturesque castle that frequently appears in photographs, film and television. The island's original castle was built in the thirteenth century; it became a stronghold of the Clan Mackenzie and their allies, the Clan MacRae. However, in response to the Mackenzies' involvement in the Jacobite rebellions early in the 18th century, government ships destroyed the castle in 1719. The present-day castle is Lieutenant-Colonel John Macrae-Gilstrap's 20th-century reconstruction of the old castle.[2]

Eilean Donan is part of the Kintail National Scenic Area, one of 40 in Scotland.[3] In 2001, the island had a recorded population of just one person,[4] but there were no "usual residents" at the time of the 2011 census.[1]

Eilean Donan, which means simply "island of Donnán", is named after Donnán of Eigg, a Celtic saint who was martyred in 617. Donnán is said to have established a church on the island, though no trace of this remains.[2]

It is possible that an early Christian monastic cell was founded on the island in the 6th or 7th century, and that it was dedicated to Donnán of Eigg, an Irish saint who was martyred on Eigg in April 617. No remains of any Christian buildings survive, though fragments of vitrified stone (stone that has been subjected to very high temperatures) have been discovered, indicating that there was an Iron Age or early medieval fortification on the island.[5][6]

In the earlier thirteenth century, during the reign of Alexander II (ruled 1214–1249), a large curtain-wall castle (wall of enceinte) was constructed; it enclosed much of the island.[2] At this time, the area around the island was at the boundary of the Norse-Celtic Lordship of the Isles and the Earldom of Ross: Eilean Donan provided a strong defensive position against Norse expeditions.[7] A founding legend has it that the son of a chief of the Mathesons acquired the power to communicate with birds; as a result of this power, and after many adventures overseas, he gained wealth, power, and the respect of Alexander II, who asked him to build the castle to defend his realm.[8]

At a later date, the island became a stronghold of the Mackenzies of Kintail, originally vassals of William I, Earl of Ross.[2] At this early stage, the castle is said to have been garrisoned by Macraes and Maclennans, both clans that were later closely associated with the Mackenzies.[9] Traditional Mackenzie clan histories relate that Earl William sought advantage from the Treaty of Perth of 1266, by which King Magnus VI of Norway ceded the Hebrides to Scotland, and demanded that his kinsman Kenneth Mackenzie return the castle to allow his expansion into the islands. Mackenzie refused, and Earl William led an assault against Eilean Donan that the Mackenzies and their allies repulsed.[10]

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