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Castles

Posted: 19 Dec 2001 1:39AM GMT
Classification: Query
Dear All:

Please post information for each of the Clan Castles and Towers
here. The property can be curently in "ruins" but should have the
official UK designated and registered number.If you are not
aware of the number then post and ask for someone
to assist in determining that number.

There needs to be a clear relationship between the Clan and
the current or previous ownership of the property.

Each Castle/Tower would then have it's own sub thread and can
be linked to newsletters and email messages.

The postings can even include current status reports, fund raising efforts,
societies that have restoration programs etc.

Descriptions of the Castle and Tower can include:
A: History as it relates to the Clan or Family
B: Major events that took place at the Castle
C: Layout of the Castle or Tower
D: Current Status. Those Castles that are currently
offering tours or visits would be allowed one
posting on hours, rates, web sites URL's and email
address, local phone number, and mail address.
Names of current proprietor should be included.
That posting should be kept current.
E: Newsletters that are approved by the Property owner
can also be published here. Please contact the
Board Admin before posting these.

Please reply to this post and change the subject heading to
the name of the property that is posting the news. Then
keep that thread current with the news etc of the current
activity of the Castle or Tower etc.

The benefit of having your own thread here is that you can
post the URL in newsletter or emails etc to newsgroups or
mailing lists etc. That way, any interested parties of the
Castle or Tower property from the Clan, Related Family ,
or even a unique family group can always come to this same
thread for the latest news and status reports.

The posting here will also be visible for an extended period vs.
the short retention time of the mailing lists.

Please feel free to post this notice to other surname message
boards and mailing lists that would be interested in this Castle
message board topic.

Best Regards
John A Hansen
Board Admin

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Thread > Castle

Kisumul Castle by Charlynn Helms

Posted: 19 Dec 2001 3:36AM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 19 Dec 2001 3:40AM GMT
Surnames: MacNeil
Learn a bit about the castle and the island (isle) it defends at this
website for the Isle of Barra:

http://www.isleofbarra.com/history-barra.html

KISIMUL CASTLE (Seat of the clan MacNeil of Barra)

The most visible of all Barra's heritage is this restored medieval tower
house castle with curtain wall. Dictated by the shape of the low rock island
on which it sits, the pentagonal castle is the first thing holidaymakers see
when they come to Barra by ferry from Oban. The castle would have been
difficult to capture being entirely surrounded by the sea, yet having a
fresh water spring. You come to the castle by boat in a journey of 200 yards
from Castlebay main street. As you approach the castle, look for a large
ring of rocks to the east of the landing place: this was a catchment basin
to trap fish when the tide when out, again vital if the castle was besieged.
Beside it is a sloping beach being the berth of the swift Kisimul's Galley,
an adapted form of the Vikings' boat design. Like most castles, Kisimul is
cold and draughty but you will enjoy clambering about. Not to be missed, in
the Great Hall, is the collection of English bayonetted muskets and pikes
used at the Battle of Culloden. What date do you see on the muskets? Look
out for the spartan toilets, flushed twice daily by the tide! Much of what
you see is the restoration work carried out by the clan chief Robert Lister
MacNeil between 1956 and 1970.
***************************************************

Or try the castles website (pictures too):

http://www.castles.org/Chatelaine/KISIMUL.HTM

Kisimul Castle sits on a rocky islet in the bay just off the coast of Barra.
Legend has it that this has been the stronghold of the MacNeils since the
11th century.

With its square keep and curtain wall, Kisimul has a similar design to
Dunstaffnage Castle. To withstand sieges, the castle was equipped with two
artesian wells to provide water and a fish trap in a catchment basin. A
galley used to be berthed alongside on a sloping beach with the crewhouse
nearby. At the first sign of trouble, the crew were expected to launch the
ship and defend the castle from attack.

The 21st chief had to sell Barra in 1838 and soon the castle was in ruins.
Many of the MacNeils went to seek a better life in America. In the late
1930s, the 45th clan chief, American architect Robert Lister Macneil,
returned to the island and bought the castle. Before his death in 1970 he
succeeded in completing the much-needed restoration work. Water was piped
from Castlebay and telephones installed.

His son Ian Roderick, Professor of Law, took over the castle and is still
the current Chief of the MacNeils of Barra. In March 2000 it was announced
that he had handed the castle into the care of Historic Scotland on a
1000-year lease with an annual token rent of £1 and a bottle of whisky. This
will ensure that conservation work will continue to maintain the castle for
generations to come.

Currently as far as I know it is only open three afternoons a week (probably
only in summertime) when a small boat takes tourists across on Monday,
Wednesday and Saturday from 2pm to 5pm. Approximately 3 pounds for adults
and only 25 pence for children including entry to the castle.
Phone 01871 810 449.

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