In July, Aegean Odyssey will depart Tower Bridge on a wonderful cruise around the British Isles. Not only is her embarkation port noteworthy, but the places she will visit are also worth mentioning, including the Eden Project from the port of Falmouth, Dunvegan Castle from Portree in Scotland and Inverary Castle from Oban. It’s the latter which is our focus today, as we look at Inverary, its history and its spooky goings on.
Inverary Castle is accessed via the port of Oban, In Scotland, and has been standing guard over the shores of Loch Fyne since the 1400s. It is a unique piece of architecture that incorporates Baroque, Gothic and Palladian styles – sketched out by John Vanbrugh, architect of Blenheim Palace, for the 2nd Duke – and it also provides a fascinating insight into one of Scotland’s most famous ancestral homes.
In the mid-15th century, Sir Duncan Campbell was head of the Campbell family and he had drive and ambition. He wanted the family to play a much larger part in Scottish affairs, so he set out to make his dreams come true. He founded a small castle (Inverary) and his son founded a town around it in the 1470s.
Home to the Duke and Duchess of Argyll, the castle spans several generations of the Campbell clan and it has been the centre piece to many TV dramas, including the 2012 Christmas episode of Downton Abbey when it stood in as the fictional “Duneagle Castle”.
The category A listed building also boasts a stunning formal garden that has only recently been opened to the public. Whatever time of year you visit, there is so much to enjoy and admire. Aegean Odyssey will visit in 2018 during the summer month of July, so guests can expect to find rhododendrons and azaleas, among many others.
As you’d expect, the castle has seen its fair share of war and peace over the years, so naturally, it has a few stories to share, ones of the ghostly kind!
There have been many ghostly happenings at Inverary over the years, some of which date back to when the original structure called the site home. In 1644, the castle was ransacked and burned by the army of James Graham, the first Marquis of Montrose. Argyll fled the burning castle and in doing so left behind many others whom were ultimately killed, including Argyll’s harp player who was captured and hanged.
Although the original castle was gone and a new one took its place, it is said that the harper’s ghost still roams the halls. He is said to primarily haunt the Green Library and for over 100 years there have been strange noises heard and books have mysteriously fallen to the ground. He is thought to be a friendly ghost and has made his presence known in mischievous ways many times throughout the years, especially when there are ladies present. Although there is a hive of activity in the castle, it tends to only be family members that hear the noises and not visitors. The harper is also more active around the time of a Duke’s death and funeral, thus giving way to the theory that he is in fact an omen of death.
The ghost of a young woman has also been seen wandering the grounds. It is believed that she was murdered by the Jacobite’s, although this has never been proved and her identity remains a mystery.
You can explore Inverary Castle and its tales in 2018 on Aegean Odyssey’s dedicated ‘British Isles’ voyage, sailing in July. Special offers are currently available on this sailing and several others. Availability is limited.