Torosay Castle and Garden
Torosay Castle is a 19th century Baronial mansion completed in 1858 for John Campbell of Possil by David Bryce, now found within 12 acres of landscaped gardens. It is built on the end of a ridge between a small burn and the sea, and overlooks Duart Bay. The eucalyptus walk along the burnside which leads to the old walled garden can be found to the south, and to the east you can explore the bog garden, old rock garden, greenhouses and Japanese garden with its dramatic sea-view. An attempt to convert it into a hotel was not a success, and eventually the house and gardens were opened to the public. This continued to be the case until 2012, when Torosay was sold to an overseas buyer.
Aros Castle is a 13th century stone rectangular hall house and courtyard fortress. in 1688 the castle was described as, 'ruinous, old, useless and never of any strength'. The house is buried by masonry to first floor level and projecting from the north wall, are the remaining walls of a turret. To the west and south, are the overgrown walls of the courtyard, along with turf-covered foundations of an eastern rectangular building and traces of other buildings. It was probably built by one of the MacDougall Lords of Lorn and was once the major stronghold of the Lords of the Isles. You can walk around the castle at your own risk - take care and watch for loose masonry and hidden drops.
Isle of Iona
About hundred and thirty-five people live on Iona permanently, all year round. Some families have been here for many generations, whilst others have arrived recently to build a life on the island. Work on Iona is divided between crofting, raising cattle and sheep, and tourism-related jobs in catering, accommodation provision, and tour-guiding on land and by sea.. Iona's place in history was secured in 563 AD when St. Columba arrived on its white sandy beaches with 12 followers, built his first Celtic church and established a monastic community. Over the centuries the monks of Iona produced countless elaborate carvings, manuscripts and Celtic crosses. Perhaps their greatest work was the exquisite Book of Kells, which dates from 800 AD, currently on display in Trinity College, Dublin. Shortly after this in 806 AD came the first of the Viking raids when many of the monks were slaughtered and their work destroyed. St.Columba`s Bay, at the south end of Iona, is believed to be the place where St.Columba and his fellow monks landed on Iona in 563. The walk is strenuous in places, so it is advisable to get directions and advice before setting off. If walking with friends, try some times of silence, using your senses of touch, sight, hearing, and smell to enhance the experience. Enjoy the birds and the wild flowers.
Make time to visit Iona Heritage Centre when you next come to Iona. Learn about island life over the last few centuries; the fishing and crofting community, school and churches, artists, craftworkers, visitors and memorable events. View old photographs and search the family trees for your ancestors, many of whom emigrated to the New World. There is also information about the geology and wild flowers of Iona. There is a lot to see, so perhaps take a break in the Heritage Garden Café, relax in the garden, browse the Gift Shop, or spend some quiet time in the historic Telford church.