Inveraray Castle has been standing on the shores of Loch Fyne since the 1400s, although the impressive castle we know today was inspired by a sketch by Vanbrugh, the architect of Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard in the 1700s.
Vanbrugh died soon afterwards, but the great architect’s gem of an idea became the base of the house which the 3rd Duke was eventually to build.
The foundation stone was laid in 1746 and what followed was the construction – to a design by the architects Roger Morris and William Adam – of a truly modern, baroque, Palladian and Gothic-style castle, architecturally before its time.
Both Morris and Adam died before the castle was finished and Adam’s sons, James and Robert, brought the castle to completion 43 years after the first stone was laid.
The castle we know today was the result of a fire in 1877, which resulted in the addition of the third floor and conical roofs on the corner towers.
The ghostly bed in this room is elaborately carved and belonged to the MacArthurs of Loch Awe. Legend has it that a young Irish harpist was murdered by the Duke of Montrose’s men in 1644. The bed was moved to the present castle from the old Inveraray Castle and the boy’s ghost was so attached to the bed it travelled with it. When a member of the family is about to die, it is said that harp music is heard coming from the room.
The castle has a number of ghosts including the ‘Grey Lady’, only seen by daughters of a Duke of Argyll, a floating ship or ‘Galley of Lorne’ which moves away on the horizon on the death of the Duke and a raucous kitchen maid.
Last used as a proper working kitchen by the Duke’s grandmother, Duchess Louise in the 1950’s, it provides a fascinating insight into life ‘below stairs’ in a grand Scottish Castle.