Perthshire Scotland > Towns > Dunkeld Guide > Dunkeld

Dunkeld Perthshire Scotland Dunkeld 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.

Dunkeld CathedralIn 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.

 

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