Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Favorite New Year's Weekend~ Dalhousie Castle in Scotland

I think my very favorite New Year's in recent history
was the year we traveled from Paris to Scotland with family.
My sister booked us into Dalhousie Castle, a 13th century castle near Edinburgh,
where upon arrival they realized they'd forgotten to tell us about the 
Murder Mystery group who had filled the restaurant to capacity.
 So they prepared us our own little dining room
in front of a fire, bringing us each course
and waiting on us like royalty. 

After dinner we retired to The Library for our evening glass of scotch,
not too peaty, if ye please.

We even had someone to pour it for us.
(Love the bar behind the secret bookshelf compartment!)
We each picked a book from the 'library shelf'
and read while sipping our scotch
(until the Mystery dinner was over and the library
became infiltrated with loud murder mystery revelers for their after-dinner scotch. The nerve!)

The entry to the castle is filled with deco beauty and wall art...

as well as, at the time, my niece and nephew
(better known as My French Babies!).

We retired to our beautiful rooms located in the old carriage house

and were treated to a bagpipe concert in the morning.

If you've ever wanted to stay in a castle,
I highly recommend Dalhousie
though I've only stayed in one~~ so far!

But the best part (not to be missed)~ the tradition of Hogmanay ("a gift given at New Year").

In earlier times in the Highlands,
Hogmanay was celebrated on New Year's Day
by blessing the household and livestock with 'magic' water
from a river crossed by both the living and the dead
and fumigating the house with smoking juniper branches.

Today, Hogmanay starts with an outstanding torch-lit procession in Edinburgh.
For a small price, everyone in the crowd buys their own torch
and follows the procession, to the sound of bagpipes and drums,
 through Edinburgh's historic old town along Princes street to Calton Hill
where the torches are thrown onto a Viking ship to watch it burn like a giant bonfire.

Auld Lang Syne is sung arm in arm (a Scottish poem by Robert Burns set to music)
and fireworks fill the sky. (BTW~Money from the sale of the torches goes to a children's charity!)
Several online sites have named Edinburgh's Hogmanay as the top-listed
New Year's Eve party in the world.
I'd have to agree!

And if you're looking for more fun,
January 25th is Burns Night, the celebration of Robert Burns' birth in 1759.
You can also catch a Burns Night Supper at The Auld Alliance in Paris
(80, rue Francois Miron in the Marais) for poems, songs and food.
And, of course, Scotch!

"We two have run about the slopes
and picked the daisies fine,
But we've wandered many a weary foot
since auld lang syne.
We two have paddled in the stream
from morning sun till dine,
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.
And there's a hand my trusty friend!
And give us a hand o' thine!
And we'll take a right good-will draught
for auld lang syne."

(All photography copyright: Kirsten Steen)


  1. Wow. That is like a fairy-tale come true!!! Simply amazing.

  2. Kirsten dearest,

    I AM FINALLY HERE! Woooo.....returning back to school this week has been a whirlwind! THANK YOU FOR COMING OVER and this post is DELICIOUS! Ahhhh, Scotland is another destination in my dreams. It just seems that there would be an air of antiquity that would just whisper ghosts of history and lore....such beauty and magnificance! YOUR BRING US THE BEST!!! Do have a lovely day ahead of you dear one, Anita

  3. That looks so perfect. That room with the bar reminded me of the movie with Grace Kelly and Bing Crosby - High Society.
    Love the poem - just a marvelous post!

  4. Wow, it sounds divine!!! Scotland is on the top of my list of places to go, and how classic to stay in a castle ~ what wonderful memories!
    I hope you are having a wonderful weekend! Thank you for your kind comments :)

  5. What an incredible Christmas in an amazing place.. I would love to visit Scotland. I always seem to be heading to warm place. Lovely photos. Carla

  6. Cool place to spend any time of year... but NYE would be great fun there.... hope the new year brings you good health and many great adventures & new discoveries Kirsten...
    ~~~ wave from Oia !

  7. What a charming place to celebrate! Have a great week, Kirsten!

  8. Dahlink, What a splendid post! Thanks for drinks and birthday frivolity @ Corny's, 'twas delightful. See you soon for Martini Thursday.....fun hats optional!

  9. What an amazing, amazing place! You, my friend, have had the most incredible adventures. I love that you share them here. Armchair travel feeds my soul.

    About Aimee Bender's book. It was, in a word, WEIRD! I'm not really sure why I finished it. I didn't really like it, but I wanted to know how she resolved everything. She didn't. Two stars - at best.


Hello and Welcome!
Thanks for coming and for making your thoughts and feelings known. I appreciate all comments greatly.
Hope to see you again!