Saturday, June 19, 2010

Stirling Castle and Dunfermline Abbey Scotland

We took a day trip to re-visit Stirling Castle. We had been here in 2001 but didn't have a lot of good pictures. The one thing that had stuck out in my memory was the King's Knot.

View from the castle.

The palace was built for King James V and his second queen, Marie of Guise, around 1540. It is one of the most remarkable Renaissance buildings not just in Scotland but the whole of Britain. Indeed, it is now the country’s most complete example of a palace of its era.

That is the Wallace monument in the distance.

The gardens were perfect.

It is a beautiful castle to visit and they had some interesting exhibits on display. I particularly liked The Great Kitchens which had a short video explaining where all the food would come from and how it would be cooked and stored.

Some entertainment in the Grand Hall.

Dunfermline is a large town in the west of Fife. It was once the capital of Scotland and it's a great place to visit if you're interested in history. Dunfermline's heritage quarter includes the 12th century abbey which is the final resting place of Robert the Bruce and the burial site of 11 other Scottish kings and queens. You can also step back in time in The Royal Palace, Abbot House and St Margaret's Cave. The famous philanthophist Andrew Carnegie was born in Dunfermline.

Dunfermline Abbey is a Church of Scotland Parish Church.The church occupies the site of the ancient chancel and transepts of a large medieval Benedictine abbey, which was sacked in 1560 during the Scottish Reformation and permitted to fall into disrepair. Part of the old abbey church continued in use at that time and some parts of the abbey infrastructure still remain. Dunfermline Abbey is one of Scotland's most important cultural sites.

The Benedictine Abbey of the Holy Trinity and St Margaret, was founded in 1128 by King David I of Scotland, but the monastic establishment was based on an earlier foundation dating back to the reign of his father King Máel Coluim mac Donnchada, i. e. "Malcolm III" or "Malcolm Canmore" (regnat 1058-93), and his queen, St Margaret of Scotland. At its head was the Abbot of Dunfermline, the first of which was Geoffrey of Canterbury, former Prior of Christ Church, Canterbury, the Kent monastery that probably supplied Dunfermline's first monks. At the peak of its power it controlled four burghs, three courts of regality, and a large portfolio of lands from Moray in the north south to Berwickshire.

I was happy, John less so, that there were a couple of weddings.

We drove over to the Wallace Monument but decided at the last minute not to visit it as we had been there before.

Photos from 2001! Sadly, pre-digital.

On our previous visit we saw the statue of Braveheart as Mel Gibson and it made us laugh. I’ve since learned the following:

In 1997, a statue of Gibson as "William Wallace" was placed outside the Wallace Monument near Stirling, Scotland. The statue, which includes the word "Braveheart" on Wallace's shield, the work of sculptor Tom Church, was the cause of much controversy and one local resident stated that it was wrong to "desecrate the main memorial to Wallace with a lump of crap". In 1998 the statue was vandalised by someone who smashed the face in with a hammer. After repairs were made, the statue was encased in a cage at night to prevent further vandalism. This only incited more calls for the statue to be removed as it then appeared that the Gibson/Wallace figure is imprisoned. The statue was removed from the site in 2008 to make way for a new restaurant and reception to the visitors' centre.

Day 16 Edinburgh to Melrose/Carlisle.
Melrose and a Pig with Bagpipes


  1. What a gorgeous castle! Reminds me of a castle in Ireland.

  2. All castles are gorgeous, but not sure if I am tough enough for that kind of life...unless I was the queen of the castle!

  3. Oh my! I have a 4-rm house, what ever would I do with a castle. Guess I'm just meant to be a peasant. The grounds and the scenery are breath taking. Ooooh, to be royalty!


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