Laarne Castle is a moated castle established in the 11th or 12th century to guard the approaches to Ghent from the sea. It was comprehensively renovated in the 17th century.

Today the castle is partly used as a museum displaying a wonderful collection of tapestries, furniture, weapons and silverware. This beautiful castle is one of the best-preserved fortifications in Flanders.

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Founded: 12th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Belgium

Rating

4.2/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Anna Okunkova (19 months ago)
We were there for the poetic walk, it was wonderful experience! Very impressive architecture and interiers!
Cedric VM (2 years ago)
Beautifull castle
Irina Demianets (2 years ago)
Nice view but only from outside. There's nothing special inside except a guided tour and a silver room!
Larry Curtis (2 years ago)
Nice spot for picnic, castle tour very informative
Qwimpy17 (3 years ago)
Visited the castle during a flower-event. The castle was not fully visitable because some parts were closed due to a route laid out in the castle itself. That's why we couldn't get to see the silver collection they have etc. That made me quite disappointed. This special eventday it wasn't worth the money (€5 entrance).
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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.