Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Trip to Stirling Castle



This last weekend, we had some visitors in town and decided to show them Stirling Castle.  The town of Stirling is a short distance from Edinburgh, about an hour on the train.  It has always been a very strategic location in Scottish history, marking the point between the lowlands and the highlands.  It was home to many Scottish kings and queens including an infant Mary Queen of Scots, who was crowned in the chapel when she was only 9 months old.  It has been the backdrop of many battles throughout Scottish history including the famous Battle of Stirling Bridge in which the Scottish hero, William Wallace, led an army that defeated a much larger English force and drove them from Scotland.

I'm perpetually in awe of how much history is encompassed within this building and these grounds.  It's quite remarkable.  Even though we've been to the castle before, every time we go we discover something new.  This time, we were also blessed with absolutely beautiful weather.  I wore my 1941 trousers (Simplicty 3688) and my mid-40's 'Vitemeatavegamin' blouse (DuBarry 5327).




Historic Scotland, an organization responsible for the stewardship of Stirling Castle and other historic monuments, recently spent several years reconstructing the Royal Apartments in the castle.  The apartments opened last summer but this is the first time we've seen them and they do not disappoint.  While to many people, the reconstruction may look a little 'too new', all of the design (including the painting, tapestries, etc.) were done using period techniques and following period descriptions of how the royal rooms would have looked:



As someone who has visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art at the Cloisters in NYC many times, I've been watching with eager anticipation while they wove replications of all five unicorn tapestries by hand.  The weavers took several trips to see the original tapestries in NYC to match the exact colours and yarns.  The tapestries are absolutely stunning and this must be what it was like to see the originals unveiled at the end of the 15th century.





One of the other great buildings in Stirling is the Wallace Monument (seen below).  You get a stunning view of the monument from Stirling Castle and vice versa.  The monument was built in the 1860's and includes a museum that houses William Wallace's giant (5ft, 6in) Claymore sword.  Unfortunately, the museum was closed by the time we got there but the hike up to the monument was quite lovely.





Such a lovely day!  It's wonderful to go back to such an awe-inspiring place. Have you ever been to Stirling?  Do you ever get that overwhelming feeling of awe when you're in a place that is so old?

23 comments:

  1. I've been to Stirling Castle. It was amazing. I enjoyed looking at your pictures - it really brought back memories...

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  2. Gosh, Scotland is so beautiful!  I can't get over it!  I spent a few days in Edinburgh last summer and fell in love!  Thanks for sharing your great photos!

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  3. Thank you so much for your post and for sharing the wonderful photos! I would love to go to Scottland one day!

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  4. Totally; it's like you can feel the history emanating off the building.  The restoration is beautiful - I esp. love the carving!

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  5. Anne Sofie Wang PedersenAugust 01, 2012 7:27 AM

    Ohh I have been there. jealous you got to see the apartments, they very renovating them when I was there some years ago..
    lovely lovely

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  6. I LOVE Stirling Castle.  We always go and have lunch at the Portcullis afterwards (esp. lovely in the winter with their roaring fire!).  I haven't been back to the castle since that wing reopened so I definitely need another visit.  Lovely photos - glad you had such a good time!

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  7. CharlottepowellbrooksAugust 01, 2012 10:06 AM

    the Wallace monument looks amazing. Long has Scotland been on my list to visit now I feel some urgency about it, thanks for the tour!

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  8. I feel the urge to return to Scotland when I visit the UK next year. So beautiful and such amazing history filled with people with such strength and courage.
    Although its not Scottish I was so moved by St Pauls Cathedral. I thought my heart was going to fall out of my chest, the immense scale and exquisite detail. The little chapel in the Bar Convent in York I also felt touched by.

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  9. beautiful.. i must visit scotland once, nature is so perfect there, i envy you you get to see it every day.. and castles are perfect too, wouldn't mind seeing them neither :)

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  10. M A S Maquillaje profesionalAugust 01, 2012 2:51 PM

    Qué sítio más bonito. Me parece un lugar precioso.

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  11. Beautiful! I love castes, although we don't have any here in the States :) Another reason to go back to Europe, I suppose! :)

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  12. The royal apartments are amazing! I've never been to Scotland (although it's on the definitely-going-there-someday list), but I'd really love to visit Stirling. I really love pretty much every old building ever. All of our friends go on beach vacations and go skiing and we save up all of our money to go to Europe. I think it would be easier to just live "across the pond." :-)

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  13. I was able to visit Stirling Castle two summers ago when I went to Scotland for family vacation and it was lovely! I'm from California so we have absolutely nothing like it at home. I loved the history and the views around the castle. Just beautiful.

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  14. Oh, I can't wait to visit this place! I love it when I can walk into an old building and feel a sense of history...much more difficult in the US where nothing is that old!

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  15. I know exactly what you mean about going to places that are so old. At first for me it doesn't seem like it's a big deal, but then when I start thinking about the people who must have lived there and how long ago it was, I usually fall silent in wonder. I've never been to Scotland or really even heard of Stirling Castle, but it looks so amazing. Thank you so much for sharing these pictures and a little bit of history. Also, I just loved your outfit you made/wore - you look so great!

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  16. oh absolutely! We went to Bodmin Castle and I was having conniptions of delight the whole time! And Glastonbury, and Sarum, they all just played with my head. I could almost see the original inhabitants going about their business. I definitely have to get farther north next trip!

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  17. Jessica CangianoAugust 01, 2012 10:32 PM

    While Canada, being such a young nation, doesn't really have historical buildings that are this old, I do completely understand the sense of all-encompassing awe that can fill you when you stand in an old building or location. I too have felt that myself many times, even in places as "young" as 100 years old.

    ♥ Jessica 

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  18. i LOVE those flower baskets against the castle walls!  i'd probably stand outside staring at that and miss the tapestries like a dork.

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  19. Amazing place, I have never been there but it is on the list. Recent family research shows that one of my distant great-grandfathers (11?) was the Sheriff of Stirling Castle. What a surprise. I would so love to see the tapestries in the apartments, they look amazing. Thanks so much for sharing, love it!

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  20. I love Stirling Castle! I visited when I was performing in the Fringe Festival. The real question is, have you been to the Fringe Festival? Because that thing is amazing...

    But the castle is pretty incredible too!

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  21. what lovely photos!! visited stirling castle (amongst other wonderful places in scotland) on my honeymoon so these pics brought back wonderful memories :)

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  22. It's so lovely!  What fabulous pictures, and I'm so glad you had sunny weather for your outing!

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  23. Great post! That reminds me, I really have to visit the Cloisters.

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I read each and every comment--thank you so much!

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