LA Hilden
Dunrobin Castle

Dunrobin Castle is located in Sutherland, Scotland. (The Highlands)  Since the 13th century, the home has been the family seat of the Earl of Sutherland and Clan Sutherland.  The Earldom of Sutherland is one of the seven ancient earldoms, and was created in 1235.  The early castle was a fortified keep, with walls six feet thick.  The castle underwent additions from the 16th century forward.  In 1845, the castle was remodeled to fit the Baronial style.  The gardens as well as the conical spires were influenced by French design.  In 1915, the castle was serving as a naval hospital, and a fire destroyed many of the newer additions.  The home was repaired and renovated after WWI.  In 1963, when the 5th Duke of Sutherland passed, the Earldom, along with the castle, went to his niece, the current Countess of Sutherland, while the Dukedom passed to the male heir.  The castle became a boy’s boarding school in the late 1960’s, but after seven years, it reverted back to a family home.  The castle is open to the public, with private accommodations used by the Sutherland family.

Easter Eggs

Decorating eggshells is an ancient tradition.  In cultures around the world, the egg is a symbol of new life, fertility, and rebirth.  For this reason, many ancient cultures used eggs during their spring festivals.  In Africa, decorated ostrich eggs have been found that are over 60,000 years old.  Ostrich eggs of gold and silver were found in graves of the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians. 

In 1610 A.D., the Christian Church began the custom of decorating eggs in memory of Jesus Christ.  These eggs were stained red to represent the blood shed at Christ’s crucifixion.  The hard shell of the egg represented Christ’s sealed tomb, and thus the cracking of the egg symbolized resurrection.  Christians wouldn’t eat eggs during Lent, and Easter was the first chance to eat them after 40 days of going without.  The eggs laid during that time were often preserved through boiling.  This is also why eggs were in abundance during Easter meals.

Many traditions have formed around eggs.  In Europe, they were hung on New Year trees and Maypoles, since the egg symbolizes the regenerative forces of nature.  Egg hunts and rolling eggs down a hill were games played by many cultures.  Every year the White House has an Easter egg roll on the lawn.

Decorating techniques and traditions vary by culture, but eggs were often given as a token of friendship, love, and peace.

A special thank you to

Augill Castle

Augill Castle is located in Cumbria, England.  The mansion was built in 1841 to serve as a Victorian gentleman’s country residence in the Lake District.  The castle came into being due to the two feuding Pearson brothers, who were on a mission to compete and out do each other in building the best house.  The older brother moved to higher ground where he could look down upon his family home, and he succeeded in commissioning the beautiful folly retreat of Augill Castle.  The castle has gothic towers, a turreted hideaway, and mullioned windows.  By the early 20th century, the castle became a local landmark.  Augill was placed on the market for sale in 1919.  I’m not sure of the new buyers, but the castle was left in the 1990’s, and remained abandoned until eventually purchased by Simon and Wendy Bennett.  It is currently a luxury bed and breakfast.

Captivating Man of April 

Kit Harington

Born: December 26, 1986

English Actor. Game of Thrones. FYI: Game of Thrones starts on April 6th.

Witch Hunts

My article about the history of witch hunts.

Dalhousie Castle

Dalhousie Castle is located in Midlothian, Scotland.  The first castle was constructed in the mid 15th century, although the current structure dates to the 17th century.  The castle is made from pink sandstone and sits on the River Esk.  The drum tower is the oldest part of the L Plan design.  There was a dry moat around the castle, complete with a drawbridge, but it was filled during the late 20th century. Dalhousie Castle was the seat of the Earls of Dalhousie, the chieftains of Clan Ramsey.  In the early 20th century, Clan Ramsey moved to Brechin Castle, but they kept ownership of Dalhousie Castle until 1977.  After eight hundred years of being in the Dalhousie family, the castle was leased for a boarding school, and then converted to a hotel, before it was eventually sold in 2003.  This is the longest any one family owned a castle in Scotland.  The Ramsey Coat of Arms is carved in stone above the castle’s entrance.  Dalhousie Castle is currently a hotel and spa.

What I’m Currently Working On
Castle Fraser

Castle Fraser is located in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.  It is considered the largest and grandest castle in a Z-plan design.  (A Z-plan castle has a central rectangular tower, with smaller towers attached diagonally at opposite corners.)  The castle’s origins date back to the 1400’s in the form of an old tower square, this square was expanded upon during reconstruction.  Construction began on the five-storey castle in 1575 by the 6th Laird of Fraser, and was completed in 1636.  The castle underwent changes and was added to over the following decades.  In the 18th century, it was modernized.  The interior was redesigned again in 1820 and 1850.  The castle remained in the Fraser family until 1897, when the last male heir, Frederick Mackenzie Fraser, died childless.  His widow, suffering from financial difficulties, sold the castle in 1921.  The 1st Viscount Cowdray purchased the castle, restored it to a shooting lodge, and then gifted it to the National Trust of Scotland in 1976.  The castle is open to visitors during the warmer months, but the grounds and walled gardens are open year round

Blackrock Castle

Blackrock Castle (formerly Mahon Castle) is located in Cork, Ireland.  The citizens of Cork appealed to Queen Elizabeth I to construct a fort at Blackrock.  The round tower structure was built around the 1600’s as a stronghold against pirates and invaders.  The castle was under the ownership of the City of Cork beginning in 1608.  In 1722 and 1827, the castle was destroyed by fire and rebuilt by the citizens of Cork.  When the castle was restored, the architects added three additional story’s to the original tower and rebuilt some of the outbuildings.  The Cork Corporation purchased the castle in 2001.  In 2007, in collaboration between the Cork Institute of Technology, Cork City Council, and a private benefactor, Blackrock Castle was reopened and converted into a science observatory center.  People can send messages from the center to the Pan Galactic Space Station.  The castle is open in July and August for touring.

Picture by John Galvin

Captivating Man of March

Will Grant 
Born: May 21, 1992

BMX Racer and Model