In the 7th and 8th centuries Dunollie Castle, dramatically sited on a 30m high rock outcrop overlooking Oban Bay, was the chief stronghold of the Lorn kings of Dalriada, later becoming part of the lordship of Lorn centred on Dunstaffnage. In 1164 Dunollie passed to Dugall, son of Somerled, Lord of the Isles and it remains the seat of Clan MacDougall to the present day. The ruins incorporate part of the original 13th century castle of enclosure, although the surviving tower is generally accepted to have been built in the 15th century. A royalist stronghold, it was besieged by Parliament in 1647, and also defended after the 1715 Jacobite rebellion, being finally deserted around 1745 when the clan seat moved to nearby Dunollie House.
In recent years the castle has become unsafe and had to be closed to visitors. Since 2014 we have been working with the MacDougall of Dunollie Preservation Trust and Dunollie Projects on a phased scheme of urgent repairs, with the help of grant aid from Historic Scotland / Historic Environment Scotland, the Heritage Lottery Fund and others. In the first phase the ivy and trees were cleared from the wall heads of the tower and ‘soft capping’ ie a turf coping formed. In the course of this, important archaeological remains of the wall walk and Second World War lookout point were found. The second phase, completed last year, cleared ivy and stabilised and consolidated the two southern walls of the tower house. We also designed new window grilles, gates, handrails and interpretation board stands. The next phase will see the destructive ivy stripped from the northern walls of the tower and the masonry stabilised and consolidated. Future phases will aim at the interior of the tower and the curtain walls. As a result of the work already carried out, many visitors, local people and members of Clan MacDougall can once again visit the historic clan seat and enjoy the spectacular views.