Colonsay to Garbheilleach and Oban


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Video of Garbheileachs

28th May 2011.

Awoke at 7.00am – the longest nights sleep so far – 6 hours.

Schedule was to leave at 9.00 am but Ian Fisher didn’t arrive until 10.00am. so I had a very quick walk around the island.  

Dun Eibhinn.
The detached rocky knoll situated on the skyline directly in front of the viewer is the site of Dun Eibhinn (Dun Eivan). This Dun or fort, is believed to have been built by the High King Gille Adamnan as a royal residence in the early 11th century. It was a seat of Viking power in the Western Isles and occupied by descendants of Gille Adamnan, including Somerled and his grandson Donald, progenitor of Clan Donald. The fort came to Clan Macfie possession in the early part of the 13th century.

The Macfie or MacDuffie chiefs were Keepers of the Records for the Lords of the Isles and the Clan provided many of the priors for the Priory on Oronsay. Malcolm, last Chief of Clan Macfie, moved from Dun Eibhinn in the early 17th century and the fort fell into disuse from that time.

Unfortunately there was not sufficient time to visit the Kilchattan and Kiloran area, nor Oransay. Oransay would have been of particular interest in view of the comments which Kevin Byrrne, the local historian had sent us, in advance of the trip:
"Oransay's dedication was to "St. Buon Bardus" who I have identified as "St. Buo, the bard" (or educated chap), an Irishman who went off to Iceland about 800 and had a lot of success... Colonsay Vikings had quite close links with Iceland, as it happens... an adherent adopted the name of "Mac GiollaBhuidhe" (son of the servant of St Buo) and there are a lot of them in the local record for the 1600s (name is now Buie or Bowey)... any extra information would be most welcome!"
Could this be the same Buidhe (Buie) whose name is connected with many holy wells in Clare, in the form Iniona Buidhe - The Daughters (nuns?) of Buidhe and also Cill Iniona Buidhe - Kilnaboy.
read article about Inghin Baoith

Ian Fisher has worked all his life in the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and it seems that he wrote most of what I had been reading on the internet about this area.

From Colonsay we sailed towards the Firth of Lorne passing the Garbheileachs on the way. Fortunately the weather was good for this bit and the sea quiet so we sailed very slowly past Eileach an Naoimh and Dun Chonnuill about 50 yards offshore and Ian gave a running account of what we were looking at, or would have seen if we were on shore.

Video from the boat is unlikely to be of any use and too much wind for sound recording.

Eilleach na Naoimh is one of the Garbheileach group and is supposed to be the island mentioned in the life of Columba where Columba met Brendan – Hinba?

Another island – Dun Chonnuill also has interesting archaeology and Ian gave us running commentary on this also.
The RCAHMS report

We had a pleasant enough sail up the Firth of Lorne which is very nice, with small islands and forts along the shore-lines.


At Oban we birthed at a marina which is very convenient except that it is on the opposite side of the river from the town, and we have to use a ferry to get over and back. Last ferry 11.10pm.

After dinner we went to town on the 9.00pm ferry. I left the rest and went in search of a pub without a Television but a (drunken) local told me I was wasting my time, there was none! In fact all the pubs that I saw had at least 3 TVs. The best of a bad lot was the Kelvin Hotel which had Murphys Stout and according to the barmaid it was very popular. Except for the first pub which had 2 customers and 3 TVs all the others were loud drunken young people trying to compete with the TVs.


29th May 2011.