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Orkney captures the imagination and the eye, its balding turf reflective of constantly changing shades of light as clouds scurry across windswept skies. In summer the days are lengthy and the sunniest moments are often long into the evening – a great time to be...

The Callanish Standing Stones, West of Stornoway, form one of the most complete stone circles in Britain and are one of the most atmospheric prehistoric sites anywhere. Its ageless mystery, impressive scale and undeniable beauty leave a lasting impression. Sited on a wild and secluded...

In the 6th century St Comghan founded a monastery here, which became not only a place of prayer but also a noted centre of culture and learning. The monastery was razed in the late 11th century and the present ruins date from the 12th century....

The ruins of Dunnottar Castle are spread out across a grassy promontory rising 50m above the sea. As dramatic a film set as any director could wish for, it provided the backdrop for Franco Zeffirelli’s Hamlet, starring Mel Gibson. The original fortress was built in...

The Scottish Baronial pile that stands on the lower slopes of Cave Hill was begun in 1862 and completed in 1870, to replace Belfast’s earlier castles that had burnt down in the 12th and 18th centuries. It was designed by W.H. Lynn for the 3rd...

The success of Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code and the subsequent Hollywood film has seen a flood of visitors descend on Scotland’s most beautiful and enigmatic church - Rosslyn Chapel. The chapel was built in the mid-15th century for William St Clair, third earl...

Graiguenamanagh (pronounced Graig-na- manna) means ‘dwelling of the monks’. The monks in question were sensible enough to place their abbey in the lee of 1703ft Brandon Hill, in the wooded valley where the Rivers Barrow and Black Water meet. This is the valley whose peace...

West of Ballater lies Balmoral Castle, the Queen’s Highland holiday home, screened from the road by a thick curtain of trees. Built for Queen Victoria in 1855 as a private residence for the royal family, it kicked off the revival of the Scottish Baronial style...

This 15th-century castle is the mecca of first-time visitors to Ireland, who hope to win the gift of eloquence by kissing the Blarney Stone. The magnificent keep, with Walls 85ft high and 12ft thick at the base, was built in 1446 by Cormac MacCarthy, and...