Robert Lister Macneil, restorer of Kisimul Castle, Barra

+3 votes
67 views

Though Robert, archtect and author, doesn't have a Wikipedia article, he is mentioned at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clan_MacNeil as the restorer of Kisimul Castle, the home of the Chiefs of Clan Macneil. I think he should be a Notable. Also, might he not be included in the Euraristo Project?

From the bio: Robert Lister Macneil was born in 1889. An American citizen and a trained architect, he succeeded the chiefship of Clan Macneil, matriculating arms on 37 May 1915 as chief of the clan. In 1937 he was able to purchase Barra and the ruinous Kisimul Castle largely using the money from his second wife. Immediately he began work restoring the castle, aided in part by funds from a British Government grant. By his death in 1970 he had completed the restoration of the castle – ancient seat of the chiefs of the clan.

WikiTree profile: Robert MacNeil
in The Tree House by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
edited by Pip Sheppard

2 Answers

+4 votes
Few have done alone what Robert Listet Macneil did. The Clan Menzies have, but it took the whole clan, plus government grants, as in Macneils case. The interesting thing is how in Hebrides, Clans that claimed to be sharks proved to be Vikings and clans that claimed to be Vikings proved to be Gaels. The Macneils always claimed to be descendants of Niall Noigallach (Neill of the Nine Hostages), perhaps in retrospect an obvious claim given their surname, but Vikings liked the name too, as MacNeil DNA shows.
by Rory Cain G2G6 (8k points)

Not only that, Rory (a good Scottish name if there ever was one!), on Wikitree we have Macneil’s direct male line all the way back to Niall of the Nine Hostsges, link by link. And you’re right, the DNA just isn’t there. It is Viking.

+4 votes
The Clan Macneil Association of America has been tracing members' DNA submissions and has found that, indeed, the Barra MacNeils have DNA associated with Viking/Norwegian stock and that their bloodline acquired Barra and the Sudreys through marriage. The connection to Niall of the Nine Hostages is stronger through DNA associated with the McNeill/MacNeill clans in Knapdale and Kintyre in Argyll including Gigha and Colonsay. In any case, the personal effort, vision and support Robert Lister McNeil provided to resurrect Kisimul Castle as a gathering place for representing all branches of Clan Niall should always be remembered. He was certainly a notable personage, at the very least.
by Rob Green G2G1 (1.3k points)
I agree! I read his book, a gift from the late Royce Macneill who was president of the Association for many years. Robert Lister Macneil’s book on the restoration of Kisimul shows his architectural eye and his deep love of his heritage. It’s really is a marvelous read. He saved a piece of history from ruin and added much to Scotland’s heritage.

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