Medieval Britain: Castle Sween

Achnamara, Loch Sween, Knapdale, Argyll, Scotland
(55.9479°N 5.6654°W)

Late twelfth century
Open to Visitors

Castle Sween (or Caistéal Suibhne) is thought to be one of the earliest stone castles built in Scotland. Located on the eastern shore of Loch Sween, in Knapdale, Castle Sween was built sometime in the late twelfth century. The castle’s towers were later additions to wooden structures which have since vanished.

The castle probably takes its name from Suibhne, a twelfth-century figure who may have constructed the fortress. In 1310, Edward II granted John MacSween and his brothers the ancestral lands of Knapdale, provided that they oust John Menteith.

In 1647, during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, Castle Sween was attacked and burnt by Alasdair MacColla and his Irish Confederate followers.

Visit Castle Sween


Bike Access
Carpark Uphill
Challenging / Areas Not Accessible
Castle Sween, view from North-East. David MacGibbon, Thomas Ross
Castle Sween, view from North-East. David MacGibbon, Thomas Ross, The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland, vol. 3 Page 62 Fig. 22, 1887. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Castle Sween, inner courtyard from the North-East. Source: Wikimedia Commons.


Castle Sween is open year-round.


On the east shore of Loch Sween, in Knapdale off the B8025. 

Grid reference – NR 712 788.





Castle Sween Gifts

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