Visit the Fascinating Folly at Dunmore
Located between the villages of Dunmore and Airth, in the Falkirk Council area of Scotland, is a most unusual 18th century building dubbed the Dunmore Pineapple. The building with its large pineapple-shaped cupola forms part of the walled gardens at Dunmore Park, and was built in 1761 by John Murray, the 4th Earl of Dunmore, for his wife Charlotte. The top of the pineapple stands well above the surrounding walls and has four large vases surrounding it. The vases cleverly conceal chimneys for a heating system that was used to create a microclimate within the high garden walls to enable the cultivation of exotic plants, such as pineapples.
Discovered by Christopher Columbus in the Caribbean, pineapples became a coveted commodity in Europe, so much so that there is an official portrait of King Charles II of England being presented with a pineapple. After decades of failed attempts, gardeners in Europe perfected a method of cultivating pineapples in hothouses, but the sweet, juicy fruit remained a delicacy among the upper classes. While it is unclear as to why the 4th Earl of Dunmore decided to adorn his garden pavilion with a pineapple, it’s likely the fruit’s status had something to do with it. Certainly it is unique in Scotland.
In 1974 the Countess of Perth donated the walled gardens and the Dunmore Pineapple to the National Trust for Scotland. The overgrown gardens and neglected buildings were restored, and today the Pineapple is rented out by the Landmark Trust as a holiday home. Visitors to the Pineapple should approach from the car park on the south side of the building, and can enjoy a stroll through the gardens, around the outside of the garden wall and through the woodland.
Visitors may also come across the remains of the house built for the 5th Earl of Dunmore, which was partly demolished and then gutted by fire. The parsonage still stands in the east side of Dunmore Park, but is not open to visitors. Nonetheless the trip may be considered worthwhile to view the folly known as the Dunmore Pineapple.