The Castle of Dunaverty stood on the precipitous headland jutting into the sea to the south of the village, past Dunaverty Golf course.
First recorded in 712AD, captured by Haakon of Norway in 1263, sheltered Robert the Bruce in 1306, its history culminated in 300 men of the royalist garrison being massacred by the Covenanting army of Gen. David Leslie in 1647. The castle was rebuilt in 1542, attacked by the Earl of Sussex during his raid on Kintyre in 1558, and demolished in 1685, after the forfeiture of the Earl of Argyll. Today only slight traces of the walling remain.
The site is easily approached by the road past Dunaverty Golf Course, through the gates, then a fairly steep climb gives fantastic views west to Northern Ireland, east to Ailsa Craig and the Ayrshire Coast, with Sanda Island nearby.
Below the art deco Keil Hotel, lie the earlier ruins of Keil School, a private educational establishment for the sons of Argyll. It was founded when Sir William MacKinnon, who was born in Campbeltown, and made his fortune in East Africa donated to a trust which later bought Keil House. A catastrophic fire destroyed the building in February, 1924, relocated in Dumbarton, finally closing a few years ago. A statue of Sir William is located at Kinloch Park next to the new Community Centre.
This area is renowned for watching sea life. The area in front of the cemetery is a favourite sunbathing spot for seals. Sometimes dolphins can be seen frolicking in the water and on really special occasions you may be lucky enough to spot the wild otters.
St. Columbas‘s Chapel and Footprints
The medieval parish church, which lies about a mile to the west of the village, was built in the 1320’s under the patronage of the Lords of the Isles. The east end of the ruin dates from the 13th century the rest is later. Medieval grave-slabs lie inside the church carved in Kintyre, probably at Saddell Abbey. The graveyard dates from 1350-1500.
Overlooking the Chapel is a carved rock with two footprints known as St. Columba’s Footprints. One is known to have been carved by a local stonemason in 1856 and the other (nearest Ireland) is ancient and may have been used in the inauguration of Kings who would promise to follow in the footsteps of their ancestors.
The Kintyre Way
The Kintyre Way, is a segmented long distance walk stretching from Tarbert all the way to Southend via the Mull Of Kintyre.
Divided into manageable sections, the walk zig-zags across the peninsula climbing hills to stunning viewpoints and taking in some of the best locations and scenery across Kintyre. There are several additional spurs to walk and many of the places not on the walk are accessible by car and should be explored.
Argyll Arms Hotel | Southend | Kintyre | Argyll & Bute | PA28 6RP
Telephone: +44 (0)1586 830622