British Folklore
Fairy Lore & Prehistoric Sites in Britain
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Dun Ghallain

Dun Ghallain

On the north shore of Loch Sunart, south of Salen between Camus Inas and Laga, is the Iron Age hill fort of Dun Ghallain.  It is this place that is the setting for the romantic tale of 'The Swan of Salen."

An undated manuscript titled Exploring Sunart, Arnamurchan, Moidart and Morar tells of how a local chieftain fell in love with a beautiful but low born maiden. His mother, opposing the match, caused the girl to be transformed by magic into a swan, which the chief, when out hunting, shot and killed. He was horror-struck to see the swan at the moment of its death resume the form of his beloved. Overcome with grief, he fell on his own sword, and the lovers are said to still lie together beneath the ruined walls of Dun Ghallain.

The story has been retold over the centuries, and it has grown in the telling. Several modern versions have made their way through the years and the tale itself has evolved and been recorded completely much changed in the 2001 publication of Highland Myths and Legends by George MacPherson. Gone are all the associations with Dun Ghallain in the most recent version of the story, but it is where the story began.