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Museum of Island Life Skye

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The Skye Museum of Island Life is situated in the northwest of the Isle of Skye, in the area of Kilmuir, 21 miles northwest of Portree. Open Monday - Saturday, Easter - late September, 9.30am - 5pm, last entry 4.30pm. Postcode: IV51 9UE

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The image top is of Car Park and Entrance to the Skye Museum of Island Life. The Kilmuir Graveyard for the Grave of Flora MacDonald is a short walk uphill from the Museum.

The second image is of the Shop in the Museum.

The other images show a number of Thatched Stone Buildings that were common on Skye and other Islands for hundreds of years.

The Buildings show a typical Highland Village, including Homes, Shop, Iron Mongers, Weavers, and more.

The Building at the bottom end of the complex is used as a Museum, giving information on Crofting on the Islands, Jacobite Risings, and Flora MacDonald, the woman that helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape after the Jacobite defeat by Government Troops at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.

A short walk uphill from the Museum is the Kilmuir Graveyard, Burial Place of Flora MacDonald, also some old Flat Grave Slabs of Knights.

Museum of Island Life History

800s - Vikings were in control of Skye and other North Western Isles.

1100s - the Vikings were forced out of the Western Isles by Scottish Kings using Clans such as MacDonald and MacLeod to keep control of the area for the Kings.

1400s - Clan MacDonald took control of the northwest area of Skye with their Duntulm Castle being built 2 miles north of the Museum.

Clan MacDonald and Clan MacLeod of Dunvegan Castle, 38 miles southwest, fought for hundreds of years over Land. The two Clans ended their feuds in the early 1600s after pressure from the King.

The Chiefs of each Clan owned vast areas of land with their Castles used to control the area. Crofters would pay rent to the Chief, and most of the men would fight for the Chief when required. This allowed Highland Clans to raise large Armies at short notice.

1500s - England and Scotland began adopting Protestantism as they claimed the Catholic religion based on the Pope in Rome needed reformed.

1689 - the first of a series of Jacobite Risings began after the Catholic King James II was overthrown by his Protestant daughter Mary and her husband William of Orange.

Many Highland Clans fought for the Catholic Stuart's to be restored to the throne, and many fought on the side of the Government. Some would change sides, depending on which side looked like they would win.

To fight on a loosing side at that time, could lead to you losing your Castle and Land.

1722 - Flora MacDonald was born on South Uist west of Skye.

1728 - the father of Flora died, leading to her mother marrying Hugh MacDonald of Armadale Estate on the southeast of Skye.

1746 - the Jacobite's led by Bonnie Prince Charlie lost for the final time at the Battle of Culloden. Flora MacDonald then helped Bonnie Prince Charlie flee to Skye, then from there make his way to safety in France. This Romantic Event led to Skye becoming the most famous of all the Scottish Islands.

Clan MacDonald and Clan MacLeod of Skye supported the Government at the time of Culloden, but remained in Skye, so never fought at the Battle. Many other Clan MacDonald and MacLeod, from other areas, fought for the Jacobite's at Culloden.

The aftermath of the Battle of Culloden led to Crofters being refused the right to wear Tartan and own Weapons.

The Highland Clearances began soon after with Crofters being forced off their land to make way for large scale Sheep Farming, also, to reduce the population so Risings would be less likely.

Many Crofters moved to Cities or emigrated to North America and Canada.

1750 - Flora MacDonald married Allan MacDonald, a Captain in the British Army.

1774 - Flora and Alan emigrated to North Carolina in America.

1776 - the American War of Independence broke as Americans fought to put an end to British rule in America. Alan MacDonald fought for the British. He was captured then sent to Canada with Flora.

1779 - Flora traveled back to Skye.

1783 - the American Revolution ended with Britain loosing control. This led to Britain using Australia as a place to offload people they believed were trouble makers. Many Crofters would then be deported to Australia after being accused of Petty Crimes, and the best known reason, Sheep Steeling.

1855 - Major William Fraser bought Kilmuir Estate from the MacDonald's. Fraser gained a name for being involved in the Highland Clearances, forcing Crofters off their land to make way for large scale Sheep Farming.

1790 - Flora MacDonald died on the Isle of Skye, with her burial at Kilmuir Cemetery next to the Skye Museum for Island Life.

1965 - the Skye Museum of Island Life was created by using a Croft that had been on the site since the early 1800s. That Croft had been lived in up to 1957. More buildings have been added over the years to show all the Trades that were part of Croft Life in the 1800s.

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