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Homecoming at Dunollie

Oban will come alive with drama and history from 17 to 23 July 2009 when an innovative theatre production, The Hidden Jewel, is performed on the move at and around Dunollie Castle, ancient seat of the Clan MacDougall. The outdoor event, presented by The MacDougall of Dunollie Preservation Trust, is part of the national programme of Homecoming Scotland celebrations.

The Hidden Jewel, by The Walking Theatre Company, follows the fortunes of The Brooch of Lorn after the spectacular Scottish jewel was stolen by the Clan MacDougall from Robert the Bruce in 1306. The drama tells of centuries of sieges and loss, to the iconic jewel’s disappearance in Campbell hands and then dramatic rediscovery, and the admiration of Queen Victoria in more recent times.

A superb replica of the iconic jewel of the MacDougall Clan - fashioned from pure Scottish silver, crystal, and Scottish freshwater pearls - has been created to represent the original now held in a bank vault for security. 

Dunollie Homecoming Project manager, Catherine Gillies said: “We still can’t quite believe that the story of the Brooch is about to played out at Dunollie. It is such a dramatic site and such an extraordinary tale, and it has been a dream for years to combine the two. Homecoming has given us the chance to do so”.

“It is not only MacDougall clansfolk who have recognised this for a ‘once in a lifetime’ event; we are getting bookings from far and wide from people interested in Scottish history as well as the diaspora Scots. It is going to be an amazing experience!”

Jim Mather, Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism, said:  “This wonderful event will strike a chord with locals and visitors alike and make Dunollie Castle more evocative than ever. The hard work and dedication that has brought this to fruition is to be applauded and I hope now rewarded with appreciative audiences.”

Councillor Roderick McCuish, vice-chair of Oban, Lorn and the Isles area committee of Argyll and Bute Council, said: “This is a tremendous project that deserves full support from everyone. In this Scottish Year of Homecoming it ticks all the boxes and fits well within the programme of national celebrations. I’m delighted to see this excellent event giving people from near and far an opportunity to find out more about the history of The Brooch of Lorn and the story of Dunollie and supporting an important cultural and historical centre to service this area.”

Marie Christie, Project Director for Homecoming Scotland, said, “2009 is a big year for Scotland when we look forward to welcoming back many of the millions of people around the world with Scots ancestry or affinity. The Hidden Jewel is a fantastic example of a historical homecoming and we are delighted to have played a part in this iconic event for Oban.”

The Brooch of Lorn is the theme for a full week-long Homecoming programme from 17 – 23 July, featuring a wide range of events including children’s events, guided tours, a ceremony to dedicate the new flag to the castle, and a formal dinner at Dunollie.

Joining forces with the Hope MacDougall Collection, the Trust have created a reception point for all Oban-bound Homecomers in the form of a superb new cultural space right in the heart of the town. This hub in George Street, Oban, hosts an acclaimed new exhibition on The Brooch of Lorn, as well as telling the story of the town, and providing a box office for The Hidden Jewel. Tickets for The Hidden Jewel, and full details of all events in the Homecoming programme, are also available online at