Kilbrennan Farm

 


 

History of Kilbrennan

The challenge with giving the history of Kilbrennan is where to start, as this area has been inhabited from very early times.

However, if one simply concentrates on the evidence of still visible structures one can rough out a brief history.

Dun nan Gall

Just a quarter of a mile away from Kilbrennan on the shore of Ballygown bay there are the substantial remains of a Broch, which is called Dun nan Gall.

Photo of broch near KilbrennanBrochs are a structure unique to Scotland and their function and date have been a matter of great debate. Currently, the most popular view is that they were of late Iron Age construction, with dates clustering around the 1st Century BC to the 1st Century AD.

They were 'towers' consisting of two concentric drystone walls which are around three metres thick.

The internal diameters of Brochs varies from 5 - 15 metres. The Broch at Mousa on Shetland still has walls which are 13 metres high, but how high individual Brochs were is not known.

Photo of Dun nan Gall Broch with seaDun nan Gall currently has a height of around 2 metres and is about 5 metres at its broadest point with a length of over 7 metres.

Burial Ground and Chapel

In the field directly behind Kilbrennan is an early Christian burial ground and the remains of what is presumed to be a chapel. It is also assumed that the chapel was dedicated to St. Brendan. Whilst there is no hard dating evidence, the use of the Kil prefix, based on the Celtic Cill or Cil for Church or cell, would suggest that the name was in existence prior to the Scandinavian influence from the 8th century onwards.

Piping Links

According to oral tradition Kilbrennan was the farm which was occupied by the piper to the Macleans of Duart. According to "Old and New World Highland Bagpiping" by John Graham Gibson, the history of piping on Mull may go back to around the 1300's. It is claimed that the first piper to the Macleans of Duart was a Cu-duligh Mac Raing who was trained in Ireland.

It is also suggested that a piping school was established at Kilbrennan which lasted until past the middle of the 18th Century. According to Gibson, Samuel Johnson's comments would mean that the college ceased training in around 1757. The last piper occupant of Kilbrennan left in 1804.

 

More Recently

Photo of a September Full Moon at Kilbrennan
In more recent times (1990's) Kilbrennan has featured as the (outside) of a B&B in the Gold Blend adverts.

This caused some controversy as it portrayed Scotland as always wet. Ironically the advert was filmed during a drought: water tankers had to be brought in to spray the actors and building!

In 2005 Dougie Maclean released an album called 'Inside the Thunder'. It featured a song called 'Eternally You', about his great great grandmother, Anne Menzies, who lived at Kilbrennan. The link will open in a new window.

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