Dingwall Castle is believed to have been established by Norse settlers in the area in the 11th century. During the Wars of Scottish Independence the castle was garrisoned by the forces of king Edward I of England. However it was later captured by Scottish forces for king Robert I of Scotland (Robert the Bruce) led by Uilleam II, Earl of Ross.
From the castle, the Earl of Ross (chief of Clan Ross) led the men of Ross to fight against the English at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. As a reward in 1321 King Robert granted Dingwall Castle with the town and lands of Dingwall to the Earl of Ross.
In 1370 a feud arose between William de Moravia, 5th Earl of Sutherland (chief of Clan Sutherland) and Aodh Mackay (chief of Clan Mackay). A meeting was arranged for them to meet at Dingwall Castle to resolve their issues. However Aodh Mackay and his son Donald Mackay were both murdered in the castle while they were asleep by Nicholas Sutherland, brother of the Earl of Sutherland.
In 1411 Domhnall of Islay, Lord of the Isles (chief of Clan Donald) captured Dingwall Castle as part of his attempt to seize the title of the Earldom of Ross. This took place shortly before the Battle of Harlaw. In 1438 the next successive Clan Donald chief, Alexander of Islay, Earl of Ross was officially recognised as the Earl of Ross and took up his residence at Dingwall Castle. His son, John of Islay, Earl of Ross was not as successful; the Earldom of Ross was confiscated from him and the castle became a royal possession once more in 1475. John Munro, 11th Baron of Foulis was then made governor of the castle, who in turn was succeeded by Andrew Munro, 2nd of Milntown. The next governor in 1488 was Sir James Dunbar.
In 1507 Andrew Stewart, Bishop of Caithness carried out improvements after the castle had been assaulted by the MacDonalds and Mackenzies. The Crown abandoned Dingwall Castle in about 1600 and it eventually fell into a ruin. The castle ceased to be maintained after the death of king James VI of Scotland in 1625. It was used as a quarry until 1817 when it was finally levelled and only a few fragments remain.
A tunnel still exists that runs from the site of Dingwall Castle to the basement of nearby Tulloch Castle. The tunnel has now collapsed, but it is possible to view this passageway through an air vent on the front lawn of Tulloch Castle's grounds.References:
German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.
In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).
In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.
Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.