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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Castles, Clans & Carolina

Posted June 30, 2011

How many of you have visited a castle? Disney World doesn’t count!  What were your experiences?

Castles abound in Scotland. There are hundreds of them. Many reflect the names of ancient clans. Others bear the names of the towns and cities where they are located. You could easily spend your whole vacation in Scotland going from castle to castle. Two of the grandest castles are in Edinburgh and Stirling, both perched high on hilltops. We visited a dozen castles and castle ruins during our recent trip to Scotland including the one in the Aberdeenshire village of Leslie.

Many North Carolinians make pilgrimages to Scotland to see the castles of their ancestors. Centuries ago large groups of immigrants from Scotland and Ireland left religious strife and economic woes to pursue a new life in America. North Carolina was more attractive than Pennsylvania, Virginia and other states because the land was cheaper and there wasn't a lot of turmoil with Indians here. My own Leslie relatives left Scotland, stayed a short while in Northern Ireland and then made their way to Pennsylvania and eventually down to the Waxhaw region south of Charlotte.

If you're looking for a way to celebrate your own connection to Scotland you might want to consider the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games coming up the second weekend in July. These games are considered among the best in the world. 

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  • nc_jcnumber5 Jul 1, 2011

    I have some great memories and pictures of Culzean (Culeen) Castle from my visit there in 2001. This castle was the home away from home for Dwight Eisenhower during World War II. In 1945, Scotland was so grateful to Eisenhower for his wartime leadership that they donated the castle’s upper apartments to him for his private use for the rest of his lifetime. The castle has an amazing weapons room that doesn't have roped off areas like Biltmore does. You can touch all of these medieval weapons. Here's a nice web site about it.

    http://www.travelife.ca/scotland/eisenhower-s-castle-is-fit-for-a-king.html

  • kmartj91 Jun 30, 2011

    I have really enjoyed this blog. My father and I have been researching our families history starting in Skye, Scotland and ending up in the Sandhills of NC. I have been all over Fort Bragg, Vass, and Carthage visiting family cemeteries and old home sites and it has been wonderful to share that with my Dad, so I can just imagine what it is like to actually visit Scotland and share that experience with your son. Thank you for sharing.

  • klcmomof2 Jun 30, 2011

    Went to Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye (MacLeod clan seat). It was amazing!

  • wdwbmw Jun 30, 2011

    When my husband and I were in Germany in the 60's because the army sent him there, we visited the ruins of a castle that had been bombed during WWII. The thing I remember most was that the drain spouts looked like dragon heads and the water from rain would come out the dragon's mouth. I also thought about how sad it must have made the citizens of that town to see their castle in ruins.

  • blytle Jun 30, 2011

    Have not visited any, but saw several castles and ruins years ago during a trip to northeastern England. Quite a sight!!

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