lies beside the River Tay surrounded by wooded hills and crags. Every summer
there is an Arts Festival.
The centre of the village comprises
neat late 17thC houses alongside the ancient cathedral. The oldest part of
the mostly ruined cathedral dates from the late 13thC but there has been
a monastry here since around 600, founded by either St Columba or Adamnan.
Pictland and Dalriada merged in 843
to become the kingdom of Alba and Columba's sacred relics were moved from
Iona to Dunkeld in 849. Dunkeld became the main religious centre in Scotland.
Kenneth I held court here making this his joint capital with Scone.
In 903 the
abbey was attacked unsuccessfully by Viking marauders. The Catherdral was
begun in 1235 and extended in 1406. However, in 1560 it was sacked by a
Reformation fuelled mob.
After the Battle of Killiecrankie in
1689 the victorious Jacobites attacked Dunkeld which was in Government hands
and held by Covenanting Cameronians. The battle destroyed most of Dunkeld
and the houses seen today were built immediately after this event.
On the west bank of Tay lies Birnam
whose woods feature in Macbeth. King Malcolm used them to attack Macbeth
at Dunsinane some 20km to the south. The nearby 18thC Hermitage was built
by the Duke of Atholl. This folly is set dramatically above the River Braan.
In the late 18thC the linen industry
flourished in the area with 5 lint mills and many home based weavers.
In 1809 the ferry across the Tay between
Dunkeld and Birnam was replaced by a bridge built by Thomas Telford. In 1856
the railway arrived in Birnam from Perth.