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Balnakeil House was built by the Mackay chiefs as a family mansion on the site of an earlier building which had at one time been the summer palace of the medieval Bishops of Caithness. There is little by way of contemporary documentation on the building itself but plenty of stories about the place and its inhabitants. The first occupant of the rebuilt mansion, Donald, son of the third Lord Reay was, according to poet Rob Donn, "the apex of society and entertainment, of the men of poetry and of music". In 1740, the minister in the nearby manse, the Rev Murdo Macdonald, wrote in his diary that he couldn't concentrate on composing his Sunday sermons for all the merrymaking going on at the house on Saturday evenings!

http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/bratach/february%202000/feb00%20Balnakeil.html

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