- Clan Name: MacDougall
- Clan Motto: Buaidh no bas - translated - Victory or Death
- Clan Chief: Morag Morley MacDougall of MacDougall
- Clan Seat: Dunollie Castle, Oban, Scotland
- Clan Lands: Lorn, Argyll.
- Clan Tartan :
- Clan links : Clan MacDougall Society of North America
- Clan links :
The MacDougalls are descendants of Dougall, the eldest son of Sommerled. Ewan MacDougall was King of Lorn and King of the South Isles which was a title bestowed by the King of Norway.
To protect his Kingdom he embarked on a castle building spree building the castles of Aros, Cairnburgh, Coeffin, Dunchonnel, Dunstaffnage, Dunollie and Duntrune.
In 1263 during the reign of the young Scottish King Alexander 3rd, King Hakon of Norway launched an invasion with a "considerable fleet and army" intent on annexing more of Scotland. This forced Ewan to take sides and he sided with Alexander. The invasion eventually resulted in the Battle of Largs which put an end to the Norwegian plans of conquest.
The clan were supporters of William Wallace.
Alexander of Argyll, who was the son of Ewan (now called Lord of the Isles), married the sister of John Comyn (the black). When Robert the Bruce murdered his son John (the red) Comyn at Dumfries he set in motion a yearning for revenge that was going to cost someone dearly. The MacDougall's and the Comyn's together with the Lamont's controlled about 15% of Scotland.
Civil war broke out and King Edward 1st taking advantage of the situation sent forces north in support of the Comyn's and MacDougall's. In June 1306 Bruce was squaring up to take on the English at Perth when his camp was attacked by the Comyn Clan. Bruce escaped but his army took a beating. The following month John MacDougall of Lorn, son-in-law of John the red, caught up with the Bruce at Dalrigh and nearly changed history. The Bruce was lucky to get away, most of his family did not.
To cut a long story short, the longer Bruce survived the more his military feats gained him support. Within three years he had nearly eradicated the Comyns with a fire and sword strategy across their lands, he severely curtailed the MacDougalls and the Campbells, ever land greedy, snapped up whatever was going. It took until 1314 to winkle out the last of the English in Scotland with Bruce's finest day at Bannockburn.
The Clan's fortunes waxed and waned over the centuries but the period prior to the clash with Bruce was probably their strongest.
On the death of Bruce they did manage to get some of their lost lands restored, they lost a couple with marriages similarly gained a couple back. Then came 1647, the MacDougall's were royalists and suffered for the cause. Dunollie was besieged, Gylen castle was sacked and between 100-500 clansmen and kin were massacred when Dunaverty capitulated.
In 1661 Cromwell being beaten a period called The Restoration started and some of the lands lost in defence of the Stuart monarchy were restored by the new Stuart King Charles 2nd.
Then came the call of the Jacobites. In 1715 Dunollie was defended by the Chief's wife while his men were giving battle at Sheriffmuir. This resulted in the estate being forfeited and the Clan Chief being forced into exile, although he was later pardoned in 1727. The clan did not take part in the 1745 and 1746 Jacobite uprisings although some clansmen did fight on the Jacobite side at Culloden.
Dunollie Castle is situated on the northern outskirts of Oban. A small ruin surrounded on three sides by the sea. It is in one of these locations that probably always housed a strong point or lookout tower since man started fearing his fellow man. There is evidence of a fortification there in the sixth century. Parts of the north curtain wall (dating from 1150) and the Keep are mainly all that remain today, apart from the odd outlines bulging in the undergrowth.
Latest News After years of dreaming, scheming and planning The Dunollie Project has finally kicked off. They now have their own web-site ( link above ) keeping you abreast of all the happenings and have rolled out their programme for this Homecoming year.
Dunstaffnage Castle is located 5 miles to the north of Oban. The rough outside walls were part of the MacDougall build in the mid 12th century. The castle was captured by Robert the Bruce when he took his revenge following the battle at the Pass of Brander in 1308. As a Royal Castle, now, it was given into the care of the Campbells. In the 15th century it was enlarged at the orders of King Alexander 2nd. In 1810 it was ruined by a great fire.
Duntrune Castle is located on the north shore of Loch Crinan, just to the north of the village of Crinan in Argyll. Originally built by the Clan MacDougall in the 12th century it was taken by the Campbells. The enclosure wall is 6 foot thick and approximately 25 foot high and dates from the 13th Century the tower house dates from the 16th century when under the MacCallum ownership. It was again restored in the late 18th century and modernised in 1954. The Malcolm family moved out to their newly built Poltalloch House in 1853 but returned to Duntrune after 1954 where they still reside today. The castle is not open to the public, the family earns income from holiday lets on the estate
Aros Castle on the Sound of Mull is another built in the 12th century and captured for the Crown by Robert the Bruce two hundred years later. After which times it changed hands from MacDonalds to Macleans and eventually to the Campbells who allowed it to fall into ruin in the late 17th century.
Cairnburgh Castle is located on the Treshnish Isles northwest of Mull. Not much of it's early history is known but it was noted as held by Ewan MacDougall in 1249. To all accounts this castle was in an unassailable position but the down-side would then be it was hard to replenish. Believed captured by The Bruce and it certainly featured large in the MacLeans history later.
Dunchonnel and Coeffin were also both taken by Bruce.
Gylen Castle on the island of Kerrera was a new addition being built in 1587 during a good period for the clan. Although this was to be short lived the castle was destroyed by Covenanters during the civil war by General Leslie in 1647.
Dunaverty Castle shared the same fate in 1647 with it's garrison being massacred.
Castle Stalker situated on Loch Laich mid-way between Oban and Glencoe. Was originally built by the clan in 1320. Although it was to pass to the Stewarts along with the title The Lordship of Lorn around 1388.
Ardchattan Priory, six miles north of Oban, was founded in 1230 by Duncan MacDougall. It is now a ruin and a site where the MacDougall chiefs were buried up until 1737.