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Dunkeld Cathedral is only part of a long history of christianity in Dunkeld. In the 7th Century, Dunkeld was a centre of the very earliest Christianity in mainland Scotland, St Columba arrived here from the Island of Iona to set up the first centre of religion.
King of Scots, Kenneth MacAlpin, in the 9th Century, made Dunkeld head of the Celtic Church and capital of the newly-formed nation created by the union of the Scots and the Picts. It was in the 13th century that work started on what we know today as Dunkeld Cathedral.
The church in Dunkeld has been around a long time - over 1400 years (longer than the nation of Scotland has existed) - dating from the time when Celtic monks set up a base for mission .The Parish Church of Dunkeld continues to be an active congregation part of the Church of Scotland.
Dunkeld Cathedral Museum - Through the church, in the C15th sacristy, there is a small museum that is free to enter and learn about the fascinating history.
The oldest part of Dunkeld Cathedral dates from the 13th century, and today the parish church is housed in the original 13th century choir.
The Cathedral Tower built in 1469, has some rare medieval carved stones, and also a stone from the first church, showing a man on horseback blowing a horn and holding a spear.
Behind the High Altar, you will find the resting place of King Robert II's son, the Wolf of Badenoch, who was excommunicated by the Pope and in a rage burnt down the towns of Elgin and Forres, destroying Elgin Cathedral in 1390. He was forced to make public penance in sackcloth and ashes at Blackfriars Monastery in Perth in front of his brother King Robert III.
The Grounds of the Cathedral on the banks of the River Tay, are very tranquil and peaceful, beautiful and very well maintained. Benches allow visitors to sit and just enjoy the peace and special atmosphere of this remarkable place.
In the grounds you can find the 'Parent Larch' collected from Tyrol in 1738. This was a very important tree used as the seed source for the large-scale larch plantings carried out by the Dukes of Atholl on the hillsides around Dunkeld. One Duke used a canon to propagate the tree by firing it's seeds across the hillside.
There are regular services and events held in the Cathedral, during the summer months the hand bell ringers give regular performances and greatly enhance any visit. Dunkeld Cathdral is a popular venue for weddings.
Dunkeld Cathedral Guided tours available - details from the Tourist Office, Tel:01350 727688.
Dunkeld Cathedral is open all year:- April to September, 9.30am - 6.30pm; October - March, 9.30am-4.30pm. Managed and maintained by Historic Scotland.