Stirling’s 900th Anniversary Celebrations Start in Style

Stirling’s 900th anniversary celebrations got underway in style in the spring sunshine last Friday (26 April) as partners came together to launch an exciting year-long programme of events.

The festivities began, fittingly at 9am, at Stirling Castle with a ceremonial opening of the ancient castle gates.

As a lone piper played, James Erskine; the current Earl of Mar and the King’s Hereditary Keeper of Stirling Castle; and Elaine Watterson, Stirling Provost; unlocked the gates to signal the start of the celebrations. Representatives from the local partners involved in Stirling 900 also came along for the event and were joined by some special costume performers including Mary Queen of Scots.

At 10am, the bells rang out at The Church of the Holy Rude for one hour to mark the city’s birthday, before David Galletly’s amazing new artwork that celebrates Stirling’s history and its people was officially unveiled in the city centre.

The colourful 30ft long illustration has been installed on one side of the square directly across from Stirling train station, one of the busiest in Scotland. It showcases some of the major moments of Stirling’s rich history over the past 900 years, from the Battle of Bannockburn to the opening of the University of Stirling, and mingles it with legends from the Stirling area such as William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, Sir Andy Murray and Billy Bremner.

Pupils from Riverside Primary, who had been among those to submit suggestions for the artwork, came along to chat to David and to see the artwork take pride of place in the heart of the city.

It was then onto the community event at The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum, where some of Stirling’s historical treasures were on show including the ancient key of Stirling and the world’s oldest curling stone.

Attendees had an opportunity to take part in creative and heritage activities, including penning some special recollections about Stirling to a memory tree, and to find out more about Stirling’s major anniversary.

The Provost added her own words to the memory tree about Stirling in between chatting with visitors, and she also praised the incredible work of the Dementia Café in a short address to those present.

In the evening, a special reception was held at the Smith, involving all the key partners in Stirling 900 and other local dignitaries.

Speeches from the Provost, Council Leader, Cllr Chris Kane; and Professor Kirstie Blair, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Stirling, highlighted Stirling’s remarkable history and heritage, the special characteristics of its people, some of the exciting events and activities taking place over the 12 months, and the area’s bold ambitions for the future. 

In a hark back to the city’s ancient past, the Dean of the Merchant Guildry of Stirling (Elizabeth Roads) and the Deacon of the Seven Incorporated Trades of Stirling (Stuart Campbell) proclaimed the start of Stirling’s 900th anniversary. 

Stirling Makar Laura Fyfe recited a moving poem she had penned for the occasion – ‘Her Slow Beating Heart’ – before folk group Gleusda added drama and atmosphere with some beautiful Gaelic songs. 

Colonel Alastair Campbell DL, Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Stirling and Falkirk; thanked partners for coming together and creating the bumper programme of events for the anniversary celebrations, and everyone left with a smile on their faces after watching a short and light-hearted ‘happy birthday Stirling’ film.

For more information on all the events taking place for Stirling 900, visit: 


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top