Inverary is included in our 16 days "Best
Castles of Britain and Ireland" tour.
information was researched by our volunteer team member
Location: Inverary, Scotland
Inveraray Castle is haunted by several ghosts. In 1644 the Duke of Argyll was driven from the castle by the Marquis of Montrose. As the Duke departed the castle his harpist was left behind. The harpist had been caught peaking through a keyhole at the Lady of the house. For his he was hung. The ghost of the harpist has been seen still wandering the castle, wearing his Campbell tartan. It is said that he is heard playing his harp every day in the castleís Library.
Another legend is said to be of a ghost that warns of the death of a Campbell Chieftain. It is said that two days before the death of a chief a ghostly galleon, similar to the galleon on the Clan Campbell coat of arms is seen sailing up Loch Fynne. When the ship reaches land it does not stop, instead it continues to sail over land until it reaches the castle and claims itís victim. It is said that in the 18th century, one of the chieftains was so convinced that the ghost ship was coming to take him that he actually drank poison so he would not disappoint the galleonís ghostly crew.
On the 10th of July 1758 a Physician, William Hart, was walking along the castle grounds with two other men. The trio had all witnessed "a battle taking place in the sky, between Highland soldiers and French soldiers." They saw that the Highlanders had to retreat, and left behind many of their dead soldiers. Two ladies had also witnessed the battle in the sky. Several weeks later startling news arrived from America, telling of how a Highland regiment lost 300 of itís soldiers on July 10, 1758, while attacking a fort held by the French.
The ghost of a young woman who was murdered by the Jacobites has also been seen haunting the castle.
Inveraray Castle has been the seat of the Dukes of Argyll since the early 1400s. The original castle was built in the 15th century by Colin Campbell, 1st Earl of Argyll. This castle, now demolished, had been visited by James V in 1533 and Mary Queen of Scots in 1562. It was burnt by the Marquis of Montrose in 1644. The present castle is the third built on this site. Rebuilt in 1744, with corner towers and turrets, the castle is a fine example of early Scottish Baronial style. In 1780 the 5th Duke of Argyll made improvements to the interior resulting in the "finely detailed Tapestry Room in the style of a Paris Salon" and the Dinning Room, which is described as the "finest painted room in Britain."
The 8th Duke of Argyll began restoration in 1877 after a fire destroyed the upper floors of the castle. It was during this time the Armory Hall was built, and the external conical caps added to the corner towers. The castle was the first residence in Scotland to install electricity in 1890.
"Another massive restoration was undertaken by the 12th Duke of Argyll in the mid 1990ís following a further disastrous fire in 1975".
Inveraray Castle is the family home of the Clan Campbell. The State Dining Room, the Tapestry Room, the Armory Hall, the main reception rooms, the Clan Room, and a suite of former bedrooms are open to the public. The Armory holds over 1,300 pieces, a superb display including pikes, cutlasses, claymores, shields and ancient guns. "Other Items of interest include Rob Roy MacGregorís sporran and dirk handle." There are fine French tapestries on display, a grand collection of 18th century French, English and Scottish furniture, magnificent chandeliers, paintings, porcelain and silver. The Clan Room features information of special interest to members of Clan Campbell and on the ceiling towering above the entrance hall are the shields of different Campbell families.