Dunfermline - Who Knew
So, this is my first attempt at a blog. I have been contemplating the idea for a while but hadn’t come up with anything interesting until…
I spent a day with Dunfermline Delivers visiting different local businesses and tourist attractions. Who knew being a tourist in your home town could be so fun and interesting.
Easter Craigduckie is only 3.5 miles to the north of Dunfermline. I have lived in this area for over 20 year now, went to High school here and it turns out, I didn’t have a clue about Dunfermline. So, bear with me whilst I take you through my fascinating day and see if there is anything you learn.
We started out at the Andrew Carnegie Birth Place Museum – if maybe like me, you have seen the little cottage which is signposted a museum as you come and go from the town center you must take time to visit.
The museum is free! We met a lovely host, who was so welcoming and showed us around the museum. I am very embarrassed to admit that I didn’t really know the history behind Andrew Carnegie! Turns out he was one of the richest Americans and was born in this cottage in Dunfermline in 1835. His father was a weaver and the family immigrated to USA 1848. He then worked in various jobs and built up Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Steel Company which he sold for $303,450,000 in 1901.
As if this wasn’t enough he spent his life following this as a philanthropist (love this word now that I know what it means!) he basically gave all the money he made away for the benefit of the public. This being the reason we have the Carnegie Hall, Carnegie Library and the Carnegie Swimming Pool (it’s all starting to make a lot of sense now). He also gifted Pittencrieff Park which he was banned from as a youngster, to the people of Dunfermline!
He focussed on local libraries, world peace, education and scientific research and has left behind trusts which are still running all this time after his death in 1919. The Birth Place Museum is absolutely super, set up as it would have been when he was born, and has lots of interactive activities for children too. I thought it was lovely that Andrew Carnegie’s wife, Louise, bought the cottage as a surprise 60th Birthday present for her husband. There is so much more I could tell you but you have to visit for yourself.
Off we go back up the hill towards the stunning Dunfermline Abbey. Now here is another place I have never been to. Yes, I’ve parked outside it often enough to go to the dentist but never been inside! Walking up the hill from the museum allows you to see the Abbey and the ruins of Palace in all their glory. Here we met Anne Marie from Historic Environment Scotland who showed us around and again was super enthusiastic and informative. The remains of the palace are stunning – the stone work so grand and you can walk down among them which is quite amazing.
Dunfermline dates back to the 11th century – the time of Malcolm III and his queen Margaret who’s son David raised the status of the little priory to Abbey in the 12th century. The abbey church is famous as a mausoleum of Saint Margaret, David I and Robert I. All quite fascinating.
From here we walked over to the Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries. This is one of the buildings I’ve actually been in. I popped into the shop looking for a gift one day. This said I had no idea at all what this building housed - it’s not just a gift shop! We had a tour of the buildings which was fascinating and I can’t wait to go back with the kids and take time to look at everything. The library was obviously brought about by Andrew Carnegie and its recent extension and modernisation (very sympathetically!) now provides an amazing facility including a museum which brings Dunfermline’s past to life with displays, special films and interactive games. There are loads for the kids to get involved with. The exhibition galleries have a great line up of exhibitors and are lovely to wonder around as are the gardens. By now we had worked up a drooth and headed to the Heaven Scent café within the DCL&G. The café had lots of yummy offers but we just had a drink and biscuit before hearing from Miriam from Fife Pilgrims Way.
Who Knew Dunfermline was so historical, pretty and exciting! Watch out for part 2 of this story to hear where else we visited right on our doorstep.