kilmartin

Dunadd Fort Coronation Site,  Scotland

Dunadd is an Iron Age hillfort near Kilmartin in Argyll and Bute, Scotland and is believed to be the capital of the ancient kingdom of Dál Riata. Dunadd, a rocky crag, may once have been an island but now lies inland near the River Add, from which it takes its name. It is known for its unique stone carvings below the upper enclosure, including a footprint and basin thought to have formed part of Dál Riata’s coronation ritual. Dál Riata was a Gaelic overkingdom on the western coast of Scotland (then Pict-land) and part of Ulster in Ireland. In the late 6th and early 7th century it encompassed roughly what is now Argyll and Bute and Lochaber in Scotland and also County Antrim in Ulster.

Kilmartin Castle, Argyll and Bute, Scotland

Kilmartin Castle, a small ‘Z-plan’ tower house, dating from about 1580, stands above the village of Kilmartin. It was a property of the Campbells, many of whom are buried in the nearby churchyard. John Carswell, Rector of Kilmartin and later titular Bishop of the Isles, lived here before moving to his new residence at Carnasserie Castle. The castle comprises an oblong, three-story main block, with round towers to the north-east and south-west corners, as well as a small stair tower in the west front. Formerly ruined, it has been restored as a private house in recent years and is currently for sale.

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Carnasserie Castle by UKFPV Flyer

The Dunadd Footprint and view from the Dunadd hillfort

Dunadd is an Iron Age hillfort near Kilmartin in Argyll and Bute, Scotland and is believed to be the capital of the ancient kingdom of Dál Riata.

Dunadd, a rocky crag, may once have been an island but now lies inland near the River Add, from which it takes its name. The surrounding land, now largely reclaimed, was formerly boggy and known as the Mòine Mhòr ‘Great Moss’ in Gaelic.

Dunadd is known for its unique stone carvings below the upper enclosure, including a footprint and basin thought to have formed part of Dál Riata’s coronation ritual. On the same flat outcrop of rock is an incised boar in Pictish style, and an inscription in the ogham script. The inscription is read as referring to a Finn Manach and is dated to the late 8th century or after.

Carnasserie Castle was built in 1565 on the site of an older castle by reforming churchman John Carswell, who was Rector of Kilmartin, Chancellor of the Chapel Royal at Stirling, and later titular Bishop of the Isles. Although the castle was notionally built for Carswell’s patron, the Earl of Argyll, he intended it as a personal residence for himself. The tower house castle is noted for its unusual plan and renaissance detailing.

The castle is located around 2km to the north of Kilmartin, in Argyll and Bute, western Scotland.