Digital Gallery: Finlaggan - 1450

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition


In the late medieval period, Loch Finlaggan in Islay of the Inner Hebrides was an important power base. The two islands of Eilean Mor (or Large Isle) and Eilean na Comhairle (or Council Isle) on the loch were the site of a major residence of the Lords of the Isles, who governed the Hebrides and parts of mainland Scotland and Ulster. A complex of buildings spanned the two islands, connected by a causeway, and served as the administrative and ceremonial centre. Research has revealed the comfort and wealth of the area, with dogs wearing decorative collars, and the Lords and their followers enjoying music, imported wine and board games. The lordship was traditionally held by the MacDonald family, who rule stretched from Antrim in Ireland to the north east of Scotland. During the late medieval period, the Scottish kings were trying to reign in the influence of the MacDonalds. In the 1490s, for instance, James IV sent a military expedition to sack Finlaggan, destroying many of the buildings. The site subsequently sank into obscurity.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2021


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