St Aubin's Cathedral (1751-1767) is the only cathedral in Belgium built in academic Late Baroque style. It was the only church built in the Low Countries as a cathedral after 1559, when most of the dioceses of the Netherlands were reorganized.
In the interior, there is an ornamented frieze, carved with swags of fruit and flowers between the Corinthian capitals runs in an unbroken band entirely round the church. All colour is avoided, replaced by architectural enrichments and the bas-reliefs in the pendentives of the dome. The interior contains some pieces of art, like paintings by Anthony van Dyck, Jacob Jordaens and Jacques Nicolaï, a Jesuit brother and student of Rubens. The is also an old, romanesque baptismal font.
In the cathedral a marble plaque near the high altar conceals a casket containing the heart of Don Juan of Austria, Habsburg governor of the Spanish Netherlands, who died in 1578; his body lies in the Escorial near Madrid.
Despite being in Belgium, the cathedral design has an Italian influence; it was built to designs of the Ticinese architect Gaetano Matteo Pisoni in 1751 and 1767. A tower of the former Romanesque church dated from the 13th century that stood on the site has survived and is located at the west end of the church.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.