Donation boost for Finlaggan appeal

Clan Donald Lands Trust, the charity that cares for Armadale Castle, Gardens & Museum, is pleased to support this funding appeal from the centre of the Lordship of the Isles on Islay. Read the full press release below,  issued today by the Finlaggan Trust.  

The Finlaggan Trust’s  funding appeal for a new walkway has been given a major boost with a pledge of £10,000 from Skye-based charity the Clan Donald Lands Trust. Combined with donations from the local community and other benefactors, this donation will set the Finlaggan Trust well on its way to raising the £30,000 needed to complete this essential project.

The two trusts have a shared interest in promoting Clan Donald history and heritage. Clan Donald Lands Trust was founded in 1971 to purchase and preserve some of the last lands in Clan Donald ownership in Sleat, south Skye. At the heart of these lands is Armadale Castle, Gardens & Museum of the Isles, now a thriving visitor attraction which includes a museum dedicated to Highland and clan history. The story of the medieval Lords of the Isles, and their base at Finlaggan on the isle of Islay, is an important part of the museum narrative.

The Finlaggan Trust was established in 1984 to protect and promote the historic site of Finlaggan. As the former administrative and ceremonial seat of the MacDonald Gaelic Lords of the Isles – whose vast territories endured for over three-hundred years – Finlaggan’s place in the shaping of Scottish identity is little known but crucial nonetheless. Initially, the Trust’s key aims were to stabilise and preserve the ruins on Eilean Mòr and Eilean na Comhairle (the two islands that form the core of Finlaggan), to protect and preserve the carved grave slabs on Eilean Mòr and to create and maintain an interpretive centre for visitor use. Later, in 2007, a 107m wooden walkway was constructed to allow pedestrian access to the site.

Sir Ian Macdonald of Sleat, chair of trustees of Clan Donald Lands Trust, said: ‘We are delighted to support this extremely worthwhile appeal. Our two organisations have a shared interest in promoting the culture, traditions and heritage of the clan. Finlaggan is a vital part or the Clan Donald story which we celebrate in our museum, and this donation will strengthen our existing working relationships. We are looking forward to watching the project develop and encourage others with an interest in clan heritage to support the appeal.’

Richard Russell, chair of the Finlaggan Trust, said: ‘We would like to thank the trustees of Clan Donald Lands Trust for this generous donation. We have had a long association with the trust who also supported the National Museums of Scotland’s excavations at the site between 1990 and 1997 and were instrumental in publicising Finlaggan initially. As the cradle and spiritual home respectively, our two organisations complement each other perfectly.’

Dr. David Caldwell, director of the excavations and one of the trustees of the Finlaggan Trust, added: ‘The support of Clan Donald was crucial when the excavations were being undertaken, not just because of the generous provision of funding but because it raised awareness and interest amongst MacDonalds and other clansmen to the significance of Finlaggan.’ Dr. Caldwell continued: ‘As a result, I have been privileged over the years to talk about the excavations to clansmen worldwide. The magic and beauty of the place always inspires those who see and hear about it. Going forward, there are tremendous opportunities for the two trusts to provide further support for each other’s activities and initiatives—a bridge from Islay to Skye.’

To assist it further in this vital project, the Finlaggan Trust has launched a JustGiving campaign, allowing anyone to contribute online. Alternatively, contributions can be made by contacting the Trust directly at finlaggan@outlook.com.

There are few locations in the west of Scotland with such a breadth of history as Finlaggan. Please help us maintain this beautiful and evocative site for generations to come.