Originally the 13th century was the stronghold of the MacLeods and later the MacDonalds of Sleat. At some time in the 14th century it was taken back by the Clan MacLeod and held briefly by the MacAskills, allies of the MacLeods but it was recaptured by the MacDonalds sometime in the 15th century and became the seat of the MacDonalds of Skye.
After more than a century of sieges and inter-clan hostility, the Macdonalds moved back to Duntulm in the early 17th century, leaving the castle abandoned.
Among the many legends associated with Dunscaith are those recounted in Macpherson's Ossian concerning the adventures of the Irish folk hero Cu Chulainn, who came here when he first landed in Skye. One tradition tells how he came here to learn the marshall arts of war from the warrior queen Sgathaich, whose home was in Dunscaith.
In Gaelic, it is called Dun Sgathaich, which translates to ’Dun of Shadow’, perhaps because it sits in the shadow of the Cuillin Mountains?
Dunscaith is on the Isle of Skye, in the north-west of Scotland. It is located in the Parish of Sleat, in the Highland council area.