The history of the Clan and its establishment in the Oban area dates back to 1164 when Dugall the eldest son of King Somerled of the Hebrides founded the clan when his father was killed in battle against the King of Scots. Somerled was of mixed Celtic-Norse royal blood. Dugall, (Dubhgall) took over the heartland what is now called Argyll. His title being, King in the South Isles, Lord of Lorn. The surname MacDougall means Son of Dougall, the gaelic words Dubhgall, means black stranger or foreigner, so "son of black stranger" is a known expression for MacDougall.

There has been fortifications in the area of Dunollie, Oban since 600 AD and the original Clan Chief Dougall would have capitalized on this strategic position. Through time the principal seats of our Chiefs were Dunstaffnage, Gylen, and Dunollie Castles. The present official residence is Dunollie House, which nestles close to Dunollie Castle, Oban.

The centuries of the Clan tell rich stories of the successes of the development of the Clan and the low ebbs it faced from conflicts and political intrigue. One was being the dispute with Robert the Bruce concerning his claim to the Scottish throne. These generated battles with Bruce and in one such fight a clansman got close enough to grab Bruce's cloak and shoulder brooch. This famous brooch became known as the Brooch of Lorn and is a treasured possession of the Chief of the Clan.

The Society's Gift Shop holds several books on the Clan History as well as other Clan merchandise for sale.

There are other important MacDougall families resident in the Oban area; they are Mac Dougall of Gallanach and Mac Dougall of Lunga. These historic sites form the fabric of other historical MacDougall sites in the Oban area.

  • Dunollie Castle & House. Clan Seat of the MacDougall of Lorn.
  • Gylen Castle, Island of Kerrera, (1582) now restored.
  • Ardchattan Priory. Near Oban. Ancient burial place for Mac Dougall.
  • Dunstaffanage Castle. Now owned by another Clan.
  • Ardencaple House. Until recently the home of the mother of Princess Diana.
  • Ardmaddy Castle. Once the principal house of the MacDougalls of Raera.
  • Aros Castle. A fortification of the Clan located on the Sound of Mull
  • Coefin Castle. An early Norse stronghold this MacDougall Castle on Lismore guards the Sound of Morven.
  • Innischonnaill Castle. Loch Awe, was in the hands of the MacDougalls during the battle of the Pass of Brander. Also a long term seat of the Campbells.
  • Ardfad Castle. Island of Seil, little remains but was once the seat of MacDougalls of Ardencaple
  • Ardlarach House.  Island of Luing This house built by Patrick Mac Dougall, 1787.
  • Achadun Castle. Lismore. This castle once served as a home for the Bishops of the Isles
  • Mac Dougalls of Lorn
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  • Mac Dowells of Galloway

Senior descendents in the main line the House of Fergus (b 1096) first ancient Lords of Galloway; Fergus was a blood relation and ally of King Somerled. Fergus successive heirs through Elizabeth daughter of Henry 1 of England were Uchtred, Roland (Constable of Scotland) and Alan (co-signatory of the Magna Carta).

John (The Red) Comyn was Grandson from the MacDowell line who was murdered by Robert the Bruce, the Mac Dowalls (Galloway MacDougalls) became mortal enemies of Bruce and was aided by the Argyll Mac Dougalls, in their dispute with the Bruce.

The present Chief of the Mac Dowalls, Fergus, lives in Canada.

Argyll Clan History

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PLEASE NOTE: The Clan Society would like to acknowledge and thank Mc Tavish's Kitchens, Oban, for kindly supplying the following information.