The ruined Kildrummy Castle is one of the most extensive castles dating from the 13th century to survive in eastern Scotland, and was the seat of the Earls of Mar. It is owned today by Historic Scotland and open to the public.
The castle was probably built in the mid-13th century under Gilbert de Moravia. It has been posited that siting of Kildrummy Castle was influenced by the location of the Grampian Mounth trackway crossings, particularly the Elsick Mounth and Cryne Corse Mounth. Kildrummy Castle underwent siege numerous times in its history, first in defence of the family of Robert the Bruce in August–September 1306 (leading to the executions of Nigel Bruce and many other Scots), and again in 1335 by David of Strathbogie. On this occasion Christina Bruce held off the attackers until her husband Sir Andrew Murray came to her rescue. In the reign of David II, Walter Maule of Panmure was warden of Kildrummy Castle.
In 1374 the castle's heiress Isobel was seized and married by Alexander Stewart, who then laid claim to Kildrummy and the title of Earl of Mar. In 1435 it was taken over by James I, becoming a royal castle until being granted to Lord Elphinstone in 1507.
The castle passed from the Clan Elphinstone to the Clan Erskine before being abandoned in 1716 following the failure of the Jacobite rebellion.
Kildrummy Castle is 'shield-shaped' in plan with a number of independent towers. The flat side of the castle overlooks a steep ravine; moreover, on the opposite side of the castle the walls come to a point, which was once defended by a massive twin-towered gatehouse. The castle also had a keep, called the Snow Tower, taller than the other towers, built in the French style, as at Bothwell Castle. Extensive earthworks protected the castle, including a dry moat and the ravine. Most of the castle foundations are now visible, along with most of its lower-storey walls. Archaeological excavations in 1925 uncovered decorative stone flooring and evidence of battles.References:
The castle of La Iruela, small but astonishing, is located on the top of a steep crag in Sierra de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park. From the castle, impressive views of the surrounding area and of the town can be enjoyed.
The keep dates from the Christian era. It has a square base and small dimensions and is located at the highest part of the crag.
There are some other enclosures within the tower that create a small alcázar which is difficult to access.
In a lower area of the castle, protected with defensive remains of rammed earth and irregular masonry, is an old Muslim farmstead.
After a recent restoration, an open-air theater has been built on La Iruela castle enclosure. This theater is a tribute to the Greek and Classic Eras and holds various artistic and cultural shows throughout the year.
The first traces of human activity in La Iruela area are dated from the Copper Age. An intense occupation continued until the Bronze Age.
Originally, La Iruela (like Cazorla) was a modest farmstead. From the 11th century, a wall and a small fortress were built on the hill to protect the farmers.
Around 1231, don Rodrigo Ximénez de Rada, Archbishop of Toledo, conquered La Iruela and made it part of the Adelantamiento de Cazorla. Over the Muslim fortress, the current fortress was built.
Once the military use of the fortress ended, it was used as cemetery.