The History of Argyll

A fascinating journey through Argyll and Bute's past.

The history of Argyll and Bute has a remarkable appeal. The past has left archaeological remains together with dramatic evidence of more recent occupation, all set amidst a stunning landscape of sea lochs and mountains. The early church could not be more evocatively nor more poignantly recalled than by the historic atmosphere of Iona. The heritage of the late medieval clans reaches out to descendants around the globe, while the great 18th and 19th century Highland diaspora - a consequence partly of clearance and improvement - has resulted in a pressing interest in family history research and in returning to explore the land from which ancestors set sail.

Scotland’s Richest Prehistoric LandscapeStanding stone

Argyll has its significant place in Scotland's story. Kilmartin valley in Mid Argyll comprises Scotland's richest prehistoric landscape with a concentration of cairns, standing stones and other impressive remains which have dotted the landscape from around 3000 B.C. Many of these monuments are easily accessible to the public and interpretation is provided by the award winning museum at Kilmartin. However, almost every area of Argyll and Bute contains visible and often dramatic evidence of pre-historic occupation. Argyll also formed a key role as cradle of the new Scottish nation and of its Christian faith through the arrival of the "Scotti" from Ulster to form the Kingdom of Dalriada in Argyll from around 500 A.D. With the hill fort at Dunadd in Mid Argyll as their initial capital, they enlarged their political and spiritual kingdom with the assistance of St. Columba and the infant Celtic church until, in 843 A.D., a King of Scots (and Scotland) was created in the person of Dalriadan king, Kenneth MacAlpine.