“This I’ll Defend”- Edinburgh, Scotland

[ 4 ] June 3, 2011 |

We took a 3 hour ferry across the Irish Sea to cross from Northern Ireland to Scotland. It was a huge ship with enough room to carry cars, semi trucks and buses, as well as to have shops and restaurants on board. At check-in we offered our passports but were quickly told they were not needed. Traveling from the EU to UK… I wanted the stamp but haven’t gotten one since Dublin. After the ferry there was a bus to transport us all the way to Edinburgh on the east side of the country.

I found a website called Airbnb and reserved our accommodation through that. We rented a bedroom in a flat for 5 days. There were 3 other roommates that live there full time. It was nice to have a kitchen and laundry and to hangout with some locals. The deal with Airbnb is that after your stay you review each other online and that’s how you build your credibility to encourage people to want you as a guest or host.


Edinburgh is a charming city centered on the famous Edinburgh Castle at the top of a massive hill in the middle of the city. The pace of life seems just right for the capital of Scotland. Fun fact- there are approximately 5 million people in Scotland and 10 million sheep.

Edinburgh Castle

The Royal Mile is the main drag through the ”old town” district and is full of both typical local businesses and many tourist shops. We enjoyed exploring other streets full of vintage shops and artists boutiques.

Royal Mile


Thanks to my Scottish heritage we had a clan to read about specifically at all of the Scottish history and tourist shops. We are of the clan MacFarlane. Every clan has two tartans one called modern and the other ancient hunting. The MacFarlane tartans are some of the loveliest (according to me). The motto for the MacFarlane clan reads “This I’ll Defend.” We read a few documents that implied they were quite a rowdy bunch. At one time, the clan was stripped of their land for their “general lawlessness” by the king causing many of them to immigrate to Canada.

MacFarlane Tartan (modern)


We passed multiple handmade kilt shops and saw a few grooms-to-be being fitted for their big day’s attire. Many of the restaurants and shops in town had all of the employees wearing kilts.

I tried my hardest to get Pat fitted for a proper kilt, but he apparently really likes his pants.

Edinburgh is the seat of the Scottish Parliament.

Scottish Parliament

We visited the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s Palace in Scotland. She typically comes several times each year. She also has a vacation palace in northern Scotland. (That’s where she went the night after the recent royal wedding- so the “kids” could have the palace to themselves for the big party.) It was interesting to hear some of the details that go into her planning for every event. When she is having guests even the art displayed on the walls is specifically chosen, framed and hung based on the individual’s homeland, interest, etc. Whatever the Queen wants to create the atmosphere she desires. She even has regular input and final say on details such as menus and table settings.


Palace of Holyroodhouse




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Category: Alison's Blog, Blog, Destinations, Scotland

Comments (4)

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  1. Aunt Kathy says:

    Love you guys. You are making so many memories. Love Auntie

  2. Russ Porter says:

    Hey Pat and Alison,
    Who knew there was so much to see and do in Ireland. Looks like a beautiful place. BTW….Pat….If you plan on working out while on your trip….you might leave the skirt in the store! ha ha ha
    Miss you guys. Thanks for keeping us posted. Only two weeks until Ryan and Chelsea get married!

  3. Stephanie Schiltz says:

    I love the picture you have of the Royal Mile! It’s beautiful!

  4. Bill Jones says:

    I’d be lookin at the Graham plaid myself.

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