Dunottar Castle
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Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire

Known throughout Scotland as the granite city, much of the town was built using silvery grey granite hewn from the now abandoned Rubislaw Quarry, at one time the biggest artificial hole in the ground in Europe. On a sunny day, the granite lends an attractive glitter to the city, but when low, grey rain clouds […]

Castle Coole, County Fermanagh
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Castle Coole, County Fermanagh

Castle Coole is an imposing mansion built in 1790-98 for the Earl of Belmore by James Wyatt. The portraits of George I and Queen Charlotte by Ramsey hang in the hall. Highlights include some notable plasterwork by Joseph Rose, an Italian marble topped table and clock in the drawing room; distinctively shaped doors by George […]

Isle of Muck, Small Isles
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Isle of Muck, Small Isles

The tiny island of Muck, measuring just 2 miles by 1 mile, has exceptionally fertile soil, and the island is carpeted with wild flowers in spring and early summer. It takes its name from the Gaelic muc (pig), and pigs are still raised here.   Ferries call at the southern settlement of Port Mor. There […]

Downpatrick Cathedral, County Down
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Downpatrick Cathedral, County Down

The cathedral was built in 1790-1827, but it retains some portions of the older building, notably part of the east end (possibly the work of de Courcy), with its recessed doorway and trefoil niches. Within, arcades survive from the 13th, 15th and 16th centuries, and the font (retrieved in 1931 from a farmyard after being […]

Glasgow Cathedral, Scotland
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Glasgow Cathedral, Scotland

An attraction that shouldn’t be missed, Glasgow Cathedral has a rare timelessness. The dark, imposing interior conjures up medieval might and can send a shiver down the spine. It’s a shining example of pre-Reformation Gothic architecture, and the only mainland Scottish cathedral to have survived the Reformation. Most of the current building dates from the […]

Abbey Knockmoy
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Mount Bellew & Abbey Knockmoy, Ireland

Southwest of Roscommon to Galway via the demesne of Mount Bellew (landscaped by Hely Dutton; mansion demolished), shortly passing the battlefield of Knockdoe, where in August 1504 Gerald Fitzgerald, the Great Earl of Kildare, defeated his son-in-law Ulick de Burgh. Abbey Knockmoy was founded for Cistercians by Cathal O’Connor ‘of the Red Hand’ to commemorate […]

Ennis, County Clare
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Ennis, County Clare

North of the narrow streets of the old town stands the Court House, a Classical building of 1850-52 with original interior finishes. The ruined friary near the centre by the river, was founded by Donough Cairbrearch O’Brien in 1242, and surprised in 1543. An incongruous top storey with ugly spirelets has been added to the […]

Perth, Perthshire
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Perth, Perthshire

Lodged snugly in a lush valley alongside the M90, Perth’s biggest drawcard is historical Scone Palace, but the city’s grand Georgian buildings by the banks of the River Tay possess their own splendour. This market town was once a weaving, dyeing and glove-making centre and Scotland’s capital. Today it exudes a demure pride, suggesting the […]

Cork City
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Cork City and County

Beautifully situated on the River Lee, Cork City is after Dublin and Belfast, the 3rd city of Ireland with long established Choral, Film and Jazz Festivals. The rich farmland of Cork (the largest of the 32 counties) is separated by the Ballyhoura, Galty and the Knockmealdown Mountains range from Tipperary to the north, and two […]

Newtownards, County Down
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Newtownards, County Down

Newtownards, now a busy manufacturing centre in an old town, despite its name. It dates from 1244, when a Dominican Priory was founded here by Walter de Burgh, the church of which still stands in ruins in Court Square, off Castle Street. Of the existing remains the nave is the only original part; the tower […]