Saturday, September 11, 2010

Greenan Castle

Greenan Castle sits alone on a cliff top near the Heads of Ayr overlooking the rocks and the beach far below.

This tall and slender tower house is a familiar landmark in the views of Ayr Bay. Standing four stories high at the summit, pretty crow-stepped gables project the corner turrets as was the fashion in the early 17th century. The above-ground entrance has the initials 'J K' embedded in them, confirming that this house belonged to a Kennedy, a powerful Ayrshire clan. Beside the initials, the date 1603 shows it was among the last tower houses built in Scotland.

John Kennedy (not our John F. Kennedy) was the last in a long line to build defensively on the exposed headland. A short distance inland from the tower is the remains of four concentric lines. They are the remains of unfilled ditches and have not been investigated archaeologically. Similar sites identify them as being the defenses of a prior fort--before the Romans invaded. Another example of this is Ayrshire Castle, the hill on which Robert II built his tower house around 1380. It was first defended in the Bronze-age over 2000 years earlier.

About a mile away from Greenan Castle is a large stone said to be a marker of where the Pics and Scots signed a peace treaty.


  1. Nicely done, Ayrshire is such a forgotten part of Scotland and with its early Celtic influences(Gaels and Britons) it has a unique flavor for the not found in other areas of Scotland. Have you been to this part of Scotland?

  2. What a haunting photo! Such a site would have to have a fascinating history.

  3. *deep sigh* Doesn't it look wonderfully peaceful?

  4. Can you imagine being in that castle with the wind whipping, waves cresting - all a gal needed was a kilted warrior to keep her warm....

    Another yummy castle. Thanks Victoria. Never get castles to see. :)