Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

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Today, we enjoyed a fascinating boat trip which connected with a wide range of sites and sights including marine animals, historic and new bridges, latest military technology, historic houses and an island with an evidenced history spanning the Viking period through medieval to 20th century military defences. All of the foregoing in the space of just under four hours and in reasonable weather conditions. Excellent value!

We joined the tour boat at South Queensferry, itself a historic town, on the Firth of Forth near Edinburgh. The Firth of Forth is a bay or estuary where the River Forth joins the North Sea in eastern Scotland.

Our principal destination, where we alighted and spent about 90 minutes was Inchcolm Island. There is evidence of religious activity from the 10th century, Viking period. This was followed by monastery built in the 12th century, which was upgraded to an abbey  (Augustinian) in 1235 and continued in operation until the Reformation in 1560 when it was disbanded. The ruins are in a good state of repair and show evidence of :

  • 12th century church.
  • 15th century church.
  • Chapter House
  • Warming House
  • Abbot’s House.
  • Cloister
  • Dormitory
  • Refectory
  • Kitchen.

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Another interest on Inchcolm are the remains of military defences (mainly gun emplacements) from the two World Wars.

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Whilst navigating around the waters of the Forth we encountered:

  • A small colony of grey seals basking on rocks.
  • The iconic Forth Rail Bridge.
  • The Forth Road Bridge and its under construction successor, the Queensferry Bridge.
  • Historic Hopetoun House.
  • Two aircraft carriers under construction at Rosyth Military Dockyard, the Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles.

Grey Seals in Firth of Forth

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Forth Rail Bridge

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New Forth Crossing under construction

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Aircraft Carrier, Queen Elizabeth

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This evening, I am posting information on the major Irish visitor site known as the Cliffs of Moher. These form part of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark situated in County Clare.

The Cliffs are almost diametrically opposite Dublin, on the east coast.  Each year about 1.0m people visit the site to facilitate which a large visitor centre has been built into the landscape.

The Cliffs extend for 8 km and reach a height of 214m above the Atlantic Ocean. To the N.W. can be seen the Aran Islands.

The site features O’Brien’s Tower which was built by a far-sighted, eponymous landowner in 1835 to stimulate tourism.

The site is of geological significance, dating back to the Upper Carboniferous Period, 300m years ago. More information on this aspect is provided below.

The nearest community is Liscannor, about 6 km distant.
Liscannor Village

This image includes O’Brien’s Tower, built in 1835 by the eponymous landowner to encourage tourism.


Cliffs and Atlantic Ocean

Here is evidence of bands of sandstone, siltstone and shale which date back 300m years to the Upper Carboniferous period. These deposits contain fossil formations.


This evening, I am posting information on the delightful village of Castletownshend which is situated on Ireland’s S.W. coast, about eight kilometers from Skibbereen in County Cork.

The village grew up around a castle built in the 16th century which dominates the local, Castlehaven Harbour. There is a long period of continuity here as the current occupants of the castle are descended from the original family. The castle is now operated as a Bed and Breakfast. Self-catering residences are available in the immediate environs of the castle.

The village,which features many large 18th century homes, runs at a sharp angle down to the harbour. The early 19th century church (Anglican) overlooks the community.

This quiet and relaxing environment is popular with holidaymakers who can indulge in watersports and hiking. Gastronomic tastes are satisfied by the excellent Mary Ann’s Restaurant.

Mary Ann’s Bar & Restaurant

Castletownshend B&B


Castlehaven Harbour