There has been a fortress guarding the crossing towards Kerrera where Dunollie Castle now stands for at least 1300 years. Long before Oban became a modern gateway to the isles, the old Kings ruled over Lorne from here.
Clan MacDougall would go on to control much of Argyll from Dunollie Castle until their conflict with Robert the Bruce serious reduced their power. They would eventually abandon the old tower to ruin for a comfortable mansion nearby. The MacDougalls weren’t the only inhabitants of this castle though, it was also home to a Glaistig.
These supernatural creatures could be dangerously vicious or incredibly useful, a blessing or a curse for your family. Fortunately, this Glaistig wasn’t badly affected by the violence that Dunollie had experienced in the past, it was usually a quiet, hard-working presence. She arrived every evening at dusk and spent the night sweeping and cleaning the castle.
The Glaistig of Dunollie Castle could be a grumpy and fickle being though. To make sure everybody knew she wasn’t happy about something, she would sprinkle dust in the family meal. She had a good sense of humour, since the only person she always left alone was the castle’s fool.
When the MacDougall’s left the castle for their more modern abode in the 18th century, sightings appear to have stopped. It seems like it was one decision too far for the moody Glaistig and she disappeared for good.
Written by Graeme Johncock
Graeme is the writer and storyteller behind Scotland’s Stories, sharing the traditional folklore and legends that make Scotland truly incredible.