Stormont Castle is a mansion in east Belfast which is used as the main meeting place of the Northern Ireland Executive. It was never a castle as such: the original building was reworked in the nineteenth century in the Scottish baronial style with features such as bartizans used for decorative purposes.
Between 1921 and 1972, it served as the official residence of the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. However, a number of prime ministers chose to live at Stormont House, the official residence of the Speaker of the House of Commons of Northern Ireland, which was empty as a number of speakers had chosen to live in their own homes. It also served as the location of the Cabinet Room of the Government of Northern Ireland from 1921 to 1972.
Before devolution it served as the Belfast headquarters of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Office Ministers and supporting officials. During the Troubles, it was also used by MI5 officers.
The castle is open to the public each year on the European Heritage Open Day weekend.References:
Easter Aquhorthies stone circle, located near Inverurie, is one of the best-preserved examples of a recumbent stone circle, and one of the few that still have their full complement of stones. It consists of a ring of nine stones, eight of which are grey granite and one red jasper. Two more grey granite stones flank a recumbent of red granite flecked with crystals and lines of quartz. The circle is particularly notable for its builders' use of polychromy in the stones, with the reddish ones situated on the SSW side and the grey ones opposite.
The placename Aquhorthies derives from a Scottish Gaelic word meaning 'field of prayer', and may indicate a 'long continuity of sanctity' between the Stone or Bronze Age circle builders and their much later Gaelic successors millennia later. The circle's surroundings were landscaped in the late 19th century, and it sits within a small fenced and walled enclosure. A stone dyke, known as a roundel, was built around the circle some time between 1847 and 1866–7.