Stirling Castle unveils new tapestry

A magnificent tapestry telling a mystical medieval tale is to be unveiled at Stirling Castle. Entitled The Unicorn is Found, it is the largest of a series of seven tapestries being hand woven for the castle and measures 11 foot high by 12 foot wide.

The tapestries project, worth £2 million and due for completion in 2013, involves the creation of new versions of a surviving medieval set belonging to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Much of the funding comes from the Quinque Foundation in the USA.

Chris Watkins, Historic Scotland head of major projects, said: “The unveiling of the new tapestry will be a landmark moment as it means we have past the half-way point in this remarkable project.

“It is the largest of the tapestries being woven and has taken years of work to complete.

“We are proud to be helping keep alive these ancient weaving skills and to be creating new versions of one of the world’s greatest surviving sets of medieval tapestries.

“It is known that a similar set of tapestries once graced the walls of the royal palace at Stirling Castle.

“This is a quite remarkable project because it allows the public to see what these kind of tapestries looked like when they were knew and we are very grateful to the Quinque Foundation for its tremendous support.”

The tapestries will eventually go on permanent display inside the castle’s royal palace which is currently being returned to how it might have looked in the mid-16th century.

Each of the first three completed tapestries measure 3.3 metres by up to 3.8 metres and the public can photograph these tapestries in the Chapel Royal. Highlights of the detail and quality weaving by the West Dean Tapestry Studio and the Stirling Castle Tapestry Studio on these three Hunt of the Unicorn Tapestries

Speaking about The Unicorn is Found tapestry arriving at Stirling Castle, Stirling Castle manager,
Gillian MacDonald, said “It is truly magnificent, measuring 11 feet high, and is part of a £2 million project to recreate a series of tapestries like those which hung at the castle when it was a favourite residence of Scotland’s Renaissance kings and queens”.
Free Viewing Of The Unicorn Is Found Tapestry at Stirling Castle

Eilean Donan Castle pictures

Eilean Donan Castle is one of the most photographed castles in Scotland , if not the world . This is the story of the castle .

Eilean Donan means Island of Donan ( a religious figure from the 12 th century ).
Eilean Donan was the most important stronghold of Clan MacKenzie from the 13th Century .
In 1719 it was completely destroyed . Robert the Bruce was given refuge in Eilean Donan Castle by John MacKenzie, Second of Kintail when he was being hunted by the English at the begnning of the fourteenth century.

Above the entrance to the castle there is a Gaelic inscription which translates as : As long as there is a MacRae inside, there will never be a Fraser outside. Inside the courtyard is the famous Murchison Stone with an inscription about John Murchison of Auchtertyre who was killed in the Battle of Sherrifmuir in 1715. In the upper floor inside the castle there are six bedrooms named Loch Alsh,Loch Long, Eilean Donan, Ballimore, Loch Duich and Conchra. A panel shows the names of the constables ( guardians ) of the castle

Eilean Donan Castle was originally built in 1220 and owned by the MacKenzies of Kintail. The MacRae Clan who settled in the area came from the Beauly Firth where they had protected the Clan Fraser.They acted as bodyguards to the MacKenzie chiefs.

In 1719 it was held by Spanish Jacobites.
Three English frigates sailed into Loch Duich and bombarded the castle with cannon fire .
There was a direct hit on the castle arsenal and it was left in ruins . The castle them lay totally uninhabited and in ruins for nearly 200 years . In 1911 John MacRae-Gilstrap bought the castle and start work to restore the castle over a period of twenty years at a total cost of a quarter of a million pounds. Local materials were extensively used.
The castle found fame when it was featured in the film Highlander and a James Bond movie. A shot shows Bond driving his car over the bridge from the castle .

Eilean Donan Castle is on an island in the middle of 3 lochs – Loch Alsh , Loch Long and Loch Duich

Due to a change in Scots law it is now possible to get married in a Scottish castle .
The castle is open most of the year and it is run by the Conchra Charitable Trust .
Eilean Donan Castle prints
castle videos
Eilean Donan

Edinburgh Castle pictures

Edinburgh Castle is Scotland’s most popular visitor attraction,” Dr Murray said. “More than 1 million visitors are drawn each year by its spectacular location and history. They can see the Crown Jewels, the One O’Clock Gun and the Stone of Destiny as well as the Great Hall, St Margaret’s Chapel, and Mons Meg. “This new exhibition will explore more of the castle’s complex story, with links to Scots-born John Paul Jones – renowned in America as founder of the US Navy  and in Britain for capturing one of the Royal Navy’s warships – and the turbulence of revolutionary Europe at the end of the 1700s.”Edinburgh Castle is a world-class attraction and today’s well-traveled tourists have high expectations.”The vaults at Edinburgh Castle were constructed around 1500 and later used as soldiers’ barrack-rooms and a bakehouse. However they were used for many years as prisons of war from the 1750s into the early 1800s. Graffiti carved into prison doors reveal the names and sentiments of many of the men there, and some of them etched crude drawings of their vessels. One drawing shows a gallows and noose, with the inscription Lord Nord (North) – the British Prime Minister at the time of the American War of Independence. Another shows a ship flying what appears to be the stars and stripes: one of the earliest known depictions of the American flag.

Eilean Donan Castle pictures – picture gallery 1

I have added over 50 picture galleries to this site . Picture gallery 1 features Eilean Donan Castle pictures . I took these pictures about 5 years ago one winter evening . The castle is well illuminated at night and obviously looks completely different from the daytime .