Monday, February 12, 2007


The Medieval Fairyland of Peace

Andrew Carnegie bought Skibo Castle in 1898, 6 years after the infamous Homestead Strike

He bought it for £85,000 as a fixer-upper. He would go on to drop another £2 million into renovations. One of the biggest expenses was adding a little elbow room (a 16,000 sqaure feet) to it. When it was finished, the square footage measured over 60,000. The Taj Mahal measures in at a mere 35,000 square feet by comparison.

Long after Carnegie's death, Madonna married Guy Ritchie at Skibo Castle. Ashley Judd also tied the knot there.

According to the fine folks at the Carnegie Club, “Carnegie finally chose to buy Skibo in 1898 and made it a summer home for himself, his wife and Margaret, his only child…Every Summer, the Carnegies entertained in the grand Edwardian house party style – princes and paupers, writers and the occasional rogue, factory owners and factory workers – all Andrew Carnegie’s friends were welcome. He was an egalitarian idealist. He believed in meritocracy but he did not discriminate against aristocrats or Sassesnachs!”

Bill Runcieman, secretary of a Carnegie trust, says: “It was a grand place, some may say opulent, but I don't believe it was built to show off the Carnegie fortune. It had a practical purpose.” It was also a place where Carnegie would invite advisors to come and discuss philanthropic ideas. King Edward VII, W.E. Gladstone, Lloyd George, Hebert Spencer, Rudyard Kipling and the Rockefellers all made the trip for this purpose. Mr. Runcieman adds: "Well before he died in 1919 he had set up a number of trusts which he oversaw very closely. "Many may not know that he helped to revolutionize the way university education worked in the US.”