St. Margaret’s Chapel

Hello friends,

Do you ever feel like the gears in your brain get stuck? Seriously, I have been trying to put words to paper for four solid days and I haven’t been able to get past ‘hello’! Maybe it has something to do with the elephant sitting on my left sinus cavity. Anyway, if today’s post stinks, you will know why! ūüėÄ

“And all I could say was, “hello”. –An Affair to Remember, 1957

Today we’re going to take a quick look at the oldest surviving building in Edinburgh. This is St. Margaret’s Chapel, located at Edinburgh Castle.

This amazing old structure was built by King David I of Scotland nearly 900 years ago – sometime around 1130. David dedicated the chapel to his mother, Queen Margaret, who died at the castle in 1093.

The arched chancel is original construction.
St. Columba, one of five stained glass windows in the chapel

In 1251, Pope Innocent IV canonized the Queen. Queen Margaret of Scotland was now Saint Margaret of Scotland.

St. Margaret

St. Margaret was an English princess of the House of Wessex. After the Norman Conquest of England, Margaret and her family fled to Scotland where she later married King Malcolm III. Margaret was known as a pious woman who performed many charitable acts.

Following the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, the chapel fell into disuse. In fact, during this time it was used as a storehouse for gunpowder! Fortunately, in 1845, the Scottish antiquary Daniel Wilson recognized the significance of the historic building and in 1851, with the support of Queen Victoria, St. Margaret’s was restored.

Additional restorations took place in the early twentieth century, with stained glass windows added in 1922. Today the beautiful little chapel is owned by Historic Scotland and cared for by the St. Margaret’s Chapel Guild – a group of Scottish ladies who are all named Margaret. I love that so much! The Margarets ensure that the chapel has a welcoming display of fresh flowers at all times.

If you visit Edinburgh Castle (which you MUST do if you’re in Edinburgh), be sure to include some time to pop in to St. Margaret’s. It’s a pretty special piece of history.

Well, that’s it for today, friends. Short and sweet. Can’t believe I made it to the end. I do hope you enjoyed!

Have a wonderful week. See you soon.

Cheers,

My Plaid Heart In the West Indies: Castillo de San Felipe del Morro

Greetings!  How is everyone?  My goodness, can you all believe there are only 14 days until Christmas?  How the days do fly by.

Friends, today I would like to share something a little different with you.  The day after Thanksgiving, Mr. C and I along with his parents, took a Holland America cruise to the Eastern Caribbean.  It was a new experience for me on two counts.  First, because I had never been on a cruise.  Second, because I had never traveled farther south than Houston, Texas or the Florida Panhandle.

Our journey began in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida where we embarked on our seven-day sea adventure. We sailed first to Turks & Caicos, then to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and finally, to the Bahamas where we spent a day on the cruise line’s gorgeous private island, Half Moon Cay. ¬†Then it was back to port in Florida, another great vacation in the books.

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Docked for the day at Half Moon Cay, Bahamas.

One of the greatest highlights from our trip was our stop in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. ¬†I had done a little research beforehand and knew that if I only had time to see one thing while I was there that it would be the 16th century fort, Castillo de San Felipe del Morro (or simply, El Morro). ¬†After all, you guys know I’d never let a good castle go to waste!

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Bass Rock

Hello, my friends. ¬†How are you guys today? ¬†I’ve missed you. ¬†I have been away on holiday with Mr. C and his parents, off the grid and making memories. ¬†But I’m back now, ready to catch up on all the things you’ve been up to and eager to share some of the best moments from our trip. ¬†For today, though, I’d like to show you a tiny island located in the outer part of Scotland’s Firth of Forth, where the river meets the North Sea. ¬†This island is called Bass Rock and it is a beast of a thing!

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Rising to a height of more than 300 feet, the rocky island is a steep-sided volcanic plug that dates to the Carboniferous Age – arising a whopping 300+ million years ago. ¬†At a distance, the surface of the rock can appear white, almost as if covered in a dusting of snow. ¬†This is because of the presence of the world’s largest colony of Northern gannets. ¬†In fact, in the peak of their nesting season, it is estimated that more than 150,000 of these sea birds call Bass Rock home!

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Lovely Lauriston (the sequel)

Hi Friends!  A warm welcome to you today.

Earlier this year, I took you guys on a photo tour of the spectacularly beautiful grounds at¬†Lauriston Castle. ¬†Well I would like to revisit Lauriston with you today. ¬†Only this time, I invite you to join me as we explore the beautiful Edwardian interior, decorated and designed by the castle’s final owners, Mr. William Robert Reid, his wife Mrs. Margaret Johnstone Reid, and Mrs. Reid’s brother, Mr. William Barton.

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Mr. C and I visited Lauriston Castle for the second time in March 2017. ¬†It is one of our favorites, so no trip to Edinburgh will now ever be complete without paying a visit to this lovely place. ¬†We were thrilled to be able to take a guided tour of several of the castle’s main rooms. ¬†Our docent was excellent and was a wealth of knowledge of the castle’s history, from the first construction in the sixteenth century until the passing of Mrs. Reid in 1926. ¬†I think that if I lived in Edinburgh, I would want that job!

To recap a little of Lauriston’s history…

Lauriston‚Äôs tower house was built by Sir Archibald Napier sometime around 1593 and the pretty Jacobean-style extension was added in 1827. ¬†Over the centuries, the castle passed through numerous hands until it came into the possession of its final owners ‚Äď William and Margaret Reid. The Reids acquired the property in 1902 and lived there until Mrs. Reid‚Äôs death in 1926. ¬†Because the couple had no children, they left the castle to the city of Edinburgh under the condition that it be preserved unchanged. ¬†And so the promise was kept. ¬†The remarkable Edwardian interior, filled to the brim with their fine furniture and artwork, is now a museum maintained by the city. ¬†For a nominal fee, you can take a guided tour of this home (uh, castle) which remains exactly as it was at the time of the Reids. ¬†The manicured grounds, which boast a view of the sea and a stunning Japanese garden are a real bargain ‚Äď free! ¬†Lauriston truly is a gem in Edinburgh. -from my previous post, “Lovely Lauriston“.

Well, are you ready to step inside and see what a 425-year-old castle clothed in 100-year-old decor looks like?  Great.  Follow me, friends.

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Dunnottar Castle

Welcome back, everyone. ¬†Hope you’re having a lovely week.

If you like castles, then you’ll want to stick around for today’s post. ¬†It’s a biggie!

Castles are amazing, don’t you think? ¬†It doesn’t matter to me if it has been renovated and now serves as a five-star luxury hotel, if it’s a well-preserved ruin, or if all that remains is a crumbling mess, a mere shadow of what once had been. ¬†Every castle has a tale to tell and I love them all.

Today I would like to take you to Dunnottar Castle which sits on the North Sea, about two miles from the town of Stonehaven, Scotland. ¬†I can still remember my reaction the firstfullsizeoutput_296 time I rounded the path and Dunnottar came into full view. ¬†Hmmm, how do I describe it? ¬†¬†Okay, got it. ¬†Do you remember the romcom “Notting Hill” starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts? ¬†(Where have all the romantic comedies gone, by the way?) ¬†Do you remember the scene where William (Grant) takes the famous actress Anna Scott (Roberts) as his date to his sister Honey’s birthday party? ¬†And do you remember Honey’s reaction at meeting Anna for the first time? ¬†Hahaha! ¬†Yeah. ¬†That pretty much sums it up.

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Perched atop a massive flat rock with sheer cliffs on three sides and connected to the mainland by only a narrow stretch of earth, Dunnottar Castle and its surrounding landscape is an extraordinary sight to behold.  Truly, photos cannot do justice to the magnitude of the rock upon which the castle resides.

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