December 30th, 2018
Spent Christmas near Stranraer. This is the tower house in the centre of the town- the Castle of St John. Built around 1520 by the Adair of Kinhilt family, it is described as good example of an ‘L shaped tower house’ with a spiral star in the narrow projecting return. It originally funcioned as the administrative centre for the Adair territory; and this encouraged the settlement around it. As in many such buildings there are two vaulted chambers at ground level and a large vaulted hall above. Smaller chambers above would have been the original lord’s bedroom and private rooms. An extra floor above the string couse was added in the seventeenth century. The remains of a typically scottish bartizan can be seen at the opposite end of this string course from the return. In the nineteenth century the two upper floors became a gaol and the building became hemmed in by other stuctrures. Surrounding buildings were cleared forming the current square in the late 1980′s. Its an interesting tower that dominates its town square convincingly - much like the castle of Ballycastle must once have done. It now functions as a museum. Its a good idea to look at it and contemplate its long history from the very good coffee shop opposite.
The Pineapple was built in 1761 by the Earl of Dunmore as a summerhouse overlooking the walled garden of his estate. It must be one of the most unusual follies in the UK. Designed on classical principles yet surmounted by a convincing stone replica of the fruit, it is said to have been chosen because of the rarity of pineapples at that time. Clearly it was designed to be an exotic and very special place. 250 years later it could still be described in the same way. The building is maintained by the National Trust for Scotland and is located above the valley between Stirling and Glasgow. The entrance up an overgrown lane just adds to the power of this incredible place within the woods. It is well worth a visit.
House for an Art Lover was designed by Charles Rennie Macintosh in 1901 for a German competition but built in Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park in 1990. The design by Professor Andy MacMillan, head of Architecture at the Glasgow School of Art. took the competition sketches and converted them into a very convincing building. This skech of the final resullt is from the same angle as one of the original competition drawings. A case of art copying a reality which has copied art.
Marks of Time
Sketches of buildings in the North West of Ireland and further afield with a little information about their history.