About the village
The name Kildonan is derived from St. Donan, a 6th century disciple of St. Columba. St. Donan is said to be buried beside the mill wheel on Kildonan Farm, where there is also the foundation of a chapel.
Early life centered round Kildonan Castle, a square, four-storied keep. This was a Royal residence until 1405, when it was bestowed by King Robert on John Stewart of Ardgowan, later, in the 17th Century, it became part of the Hamilton estates. It is now a lonely ruin.
The village originated from the small clachans dotted round the district, the majority engaged in farming. Religion had great influence in each community, and The Free Church was the first church to be built in Kildonan. The Kirk Session was judge and juror in the many cases which came before them, which ranged from distribution of money to the needy, neighbours squabbles and illegitimate births. The present school was built in 1873, though the Church of Scotland Assembly had provided a school at Little Mill in 1828. Records show that in 1920 a total of 64 pupils attended the school, unfortunately these numbers declined and in 1968 the school closed. Kilmory pupils now attend Whiting Bay Primary School. The building has now been converted into self-catering holiday cottages.
The essential Village Hall was build during the First World War as a reading room, and was extended later to become the Hall as it is today. The rocky shoreline round this area was the scene of many shipwrecks. Until recently Kildonan was the only Coastguard Station on the island, this was closed in 1981 and the Coastguard Officer for the island is stationed in Lamlash. Up until 1946 smacks and puffers were coming in to Yellow Port with provisions, coal and building materials.
Driving into Kildonan is like slipping gently back in time. It has beautiful beaches and birdsong, you can sit on a sun warmed rock and watch the seals and time will just slip by…probably far too quickly!