Glencoe, Highlands
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Glencoe, Highlands

The famous massacre of the ‘glen of weeping’ was carried out by a gang of 128 soldiers led by Campbell of Glenlyon; his victims were the Macdonalds of Glencoe, whose chief had delayed signing the oath of allegiance, required of all Highland chiefs, to William and Mary, in place of Stuart James VII. In the […]

Leinster Aqueduct
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Robertstown, County Kildare

Ten locks west along the Grand Canal from Dublin. Robertstown is a characteristic 19th century canal side village, with warehouses and cottages flanking the waterfront, freight barges plied the route until about 1960, but pleasure boats have since replaced them. Visitors can take barge cruises from the quay and the Grand Canal Company’s Hotel, built […]

Mingary Castle, Argyll
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Mingary Castle, Argyll

In this castle, on the southern side of the Ardnamurchan peninsula, James IV stayed in 1495 while on a campaign to subdue the recalcitrant Highland chiefs. Mingary Castle predates the King by over 200 years, however, parts of it having been erected in the 13th century. A stone’s throw from here is the scattered village […]

Gerinish Island, County Cork
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Gerinish Island, County Cork

Also known as Ilnacullin, this small island was turned into an exotic garden in 1910 by Harold Peto for Annan Bryce, a Belfast businessman. Framed by views of Bantry Bay, the gardens are landscaped with Neo-Classical follies and planted with rich subtropical flora. The micro-climate and peaty soil provide the damp, warm conditions needed for […]

Floors Castle, Roxburgh
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Floors Castle, Roxburgh

The village of Roxburgh as it exists today is barely noticeable, as it quietly gets on with its farming business by the banks of the River Teviot in the Borders heartland. But in the Middle Ages there was a town of the same name about a mile away, which was of great importance as one […]

Turoe Stone, County Galway
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Turoe Stone, County Galway

The Turoe Stone stands at the centre of a large area of parkland, the Turoe Pet Farm and Leisure Park, near the village of Bullaun. The white granite boulder, which stands about 1m high, dates back to the 3rd or 2nd century BC. Its top half is carved with curvilinear designs in a graceful Celtic […]

Linlithgow Palace
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Linlithgow, West Lothian, Lothian

One of Scotland’s oldest royal burghs, Linlithgow was a common stopover for important personages in the Middle Ages. Today the ruins of the fortified Linlithgow Palace are exceptionally well preserved. Its oldest part is the tower in the right foreground, which was built in 1302. The small octagonal tower on the left, called Queen Margaret’s […]

Hook Head, County Wexford
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Hook Peninsula, County Wexford

This tapering headland of gentle landscapes scattered with ancient ruins and quiet villages is perfect for a circular tour. The “Ring of Hook” route begins south of New Ross at Dunbrody Abbey, the ruins of a 12th century Cistercian church, but Ballyhack is another good place to start. Once a fortified crossing point into County […]

Lismore, County Waterford
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Lismore, County Waterford

This genteel riverside town is dwarfed by Lismore Castle, perched romantically above the River Blackwater. Built in 1185 but remodelled in the 19th century, the castle is the Irish seat of the Duke of Devonshire and is closed to the public. However, you can visit the sumptuous gardens, which include a lovely riverside walk. Lismore […]

Dryburgh Abbey, Berwickshire
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Dryburgh Abbey, Berwickshire

When William and Dorothy Wordsworth visited Dryburgh in 1803 during their tour of Scotland (recorded by Dorothy) they were admitted by a goblin-like woman who smelled of peat: ‘If she had emitted smoke by her breath and through every pore, the odour could not have been stronger’, wrote the poet’s sister. The abbey itself proved […]