Lots of transient elements to this photo: snow in the mountains, the play of sunlight on the hills, reflections of the sky and bridge captured in water, the fresh green of a new Spring! A fleeting moment saved forever in a photo!
William Morris once said – “Large or small, [the garden] should be orderly and rich.”
Not far from Galway, Ireland at Kylemore Estates is a 6-acre formal Victorian walled garden where orderly beds of flowers and vegetables are arranged against the backdrop of the Connemara Mountains. It is filled with plants introduced to the Irish bog environment prior to 1901. The garden was the winner of the Europa Nostra Award in 2001.
Yesterday I had toast for breakfast, with a little butter, of course. It was nice and crisp. Neither good for me, nor bad. Just nice. This morning I had toast for breakfast, with a little butter, of course; except today I added honey…and cinnamon…and sugar. It was so good; my favorite way to eat toast. I couldn’t dawdle or the honey would run through my fingers and down my sleeve, but I enjoyed every minute! Life should be like that – enjoyed before it runs through your fingers and down your sleeve.
Across the globe, castles and palaces are viewed as some of the most beautiful and historic structures in the world; which, as I recently discovered, is certainly the case in Scotland and Ireland. But what makes one a castle and the other a palace? Much like the difference between a house and a home, a lot depends on why it was built, how it is used, and who lives there. In general, castles are built for defense and protection, while palaces are meant to radiate luxury and elegance.
A castle is a fortified structure; a base from which an attack can be planned and carried out. Castles have certain architectural features that only other castles have; like moats, gatehouses, round towers, battlements and exterior slits for archers to fire arrows through. They are built with thick walls, usually of stone and bricks. According to history, castles were first constructed in the ninth century and are found mostly in Europe and the Middle East.
A palace is built to show off wealth and power. It is really nothing more than a beautiful place to live! Constructed with spacious halls and lovely rooms, the purpose of a palace is for the ease, enjoyment and diversion of the people who live inside it, usually royalty or other nobility. Palaces have been around longer than castles and are found all over the world.
Like a house, a castle is meant to provide shelter. Like a home, a palace is meant to provide warmth, comfort and space for a family to live together in harmony and love. With that in mind, I suppose the ultimate goal would be for a castle to feel like a palace; and a house to feel like a home.
Here are some castles that feel like a palace inside (and also a bit like a home):
Inveraray Castle, Scotland
Glamis Castle, Scotland
The following castles, while still beautiful, are not quite as elegant inside:
Kilkenny Castle, Ireland
Blair Castle, Scotland
Blarney Castle in Ireland is a good example of strength and ease of armament:
In Edinburgh, Scotland, a castle sits at the top of a hill ready to defend the palace down at the bottom. Impressive Edinburgh Castle dominates the skyline while the Palace of Holyrood House, the Queen’s official residence in Scotland, is the anchor at the other end of the Royal Mile. Attached to the palace are the remains of Holyrood Abbey.