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Islands Book Trust

Castles and Galleys

Castles and Galleys

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A Re-Assessment of the Historic Galley Castles of the Norse-Gaelic Seaways
Paula Martin (Ed.)

An outstanding feature of the Norse-Gaelic seaways is the network of dramatic castles built on or near the shore. They typically dominated main lines of sea communication, and were accessed by ‘birlinn’ or galley. They played a central role in the Hebrides during the Hebrides’ heyday, broadly from the Norse period through to the end of the Lordship of the Isles, when the islands were at the crossroads of the Norse-Gaelic world.  In recent years considerable inter-disciplinary scholarly effort has gone into reinterpreting their history, dates, functions, and method of construction.

In 2015 the Islands Book Trust, in conjunction with Historic Scotland and Macneil of Barra, held an international conference with the aim of studying four aspects of the castles: Physical, Historical Evidence, Functions, and Relations. The conference brought together some of the leading experts in their fields and their conclusions are published here in this book, which will appeal to anyone with an interest in these unique buildings.

Published: 2017

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