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Island Of Barra

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Beautiful and wild, Barra’s perfect white beaches stretch for miles. Beautiful beaches and carpets of colourful wildflowers characterize this tiny but perfect island. Home of the ancient MacNeil clan, the island is steeped in Gaelic tradition and heritage and a trip out to Kisimul Castle is not to be missed. Ferries To Island of Barra.

 

Kisimul Castle Island of Barra ScotlandKisimul Castle, Island of Barra, Scotland. On a small island in the Loch at Castlebay. At high water the castle seems to rise straight from the sea. It was started about 1030 and ever since then has been a stronghold of the chiefs of the Clan MacNeil of Barra, pirate chiefs, one of whose ancestors was said to have refused Noah's hospitality as the "MacNeil has a boat of his own". After the decline in the fortunes of the Highlands and Islands which took place at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th Century, the chiefs left their ancient castle and went to America. The castle was left in ruins for centuries, but in 1938 the 45th clan chief, an American architect, bought the castle and began to restore it. In 1960 the castle restorer and Chief. Robert Lister MacNeil, held a
gathering at Kisimul Castle at which he welcomed back MacNeils from all over the world. On his death in 1970 his son, lan Roderick, a distinguished Professor of Law at Cornell University, became 46th Chief of the MacNeils of Barra and still maintains an interest in the castle.
The story is told that one of the first MacNeil Chiefs, a rather eccentric man, ordered an old piper to blow night and morning on the battlements before announcing aloud to the winds that the MacNeil of Barra had eaten and that other princes and lesser men might now take their meals.

Hebridean Toffee is a luxury Scottish tablet, which is entirely hand-made on the Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The Heart Hebrides Toffee factory is situated in Castlebay, overlooking Kisimul Castle, the ancient seat of the Clan MacNeil, of whom associations with Barra span the globe.

A Family from Barra

A Family from Barra Beryl Martin grew up as Pat Ridge, daughter of Nellie and George. George worked at the Municipal Milk Department; Nellie fostered children, to whom she was mostly cruel. Roaming Wellington as a child and schoolgirl, Pat started work at the Zig Zag factory at 14; she ran away from home at 21, never to see Nellie again. In 1985, the Adult Adoption Information Act was passed and Pat Hawthorne (now with a name bestowed by marriage) set off to find the family she learned about only in her 50s, the "family from Barra". Her natural mother had died only a few years before she met her two brothers, and discovered a family ready to claim her. Barra, the smallest island in the Hebrides, was the original home of the Martin family, to which Beryl Martin, in her 60s, returns, locating Scottish cousins and reclaiming her own history.

This appendage of Barra consists of a single hill, connected with the remainder of the island by a flat sand, over which the western and eastern seas almost meet at high water..

Imray Chart C65: Cinan to Mallaig and... Barra.

Barra and South Uist, Vatersay and... Eriskay Maps.

Barra and Vatersay / Barraigh Agus... Bhatarsaigh Map.

Barra: From the Clans to the Clearances... History and Archaeology on the Isle of Barra C.850-1850 AD. This large, well-illustrated book is the culmination of fifteen years of historical and archaeological research into the history of Barra and its people from the time of the Vikings to the notorious clearances of 1850/51, as revealed by archaeology and hundreds of historical documents tucked away in archives in Scotland, England, Italy and Canada. The book describes the homes and workplaces of the population from Kisimul Castle and Eoligarry House, to the blackhouses and shielings of the ordinary clansmen. It pieces together their way of life, and for the first time uses archaeology to reveal just what it was like to live in a blackhouse. There is also a special study of the township of Balnabodach, one of the most romantic settings in the whole of the Hebrides where one of the most notorious dramas of the Clearances was played out. There is also a chapter by renowned Canadian historian J L Bumsted.

The Vatersay RaidersThe Vatersay Raiders. All they wanted was land: land for crofting and land on which to build a house. In 1908, ten desperate men from the islands of Barra and Mingulay in the Western Isles were imprisoned for refusing to leave the island of Vatersay which they had raided, building huts and planting potatoes without permission. The case caused an outcry across Scotland, and the government eventually bought Vatersay for crofting.This book, the first about Vatersay, draws on detailed records to tell the remarkable story of the raiders: their struggle to escape from the poverty which, they claimed, the policies of the absentee landowner forced them to endure, the raiding and settlement of the island and the fraught process of dividing it up into crofts. An outline of subsequent developments in Vatersay, including the causeway, brings the account up to date. The book also documents the fascinating earlier history of Vatersay and its now-deserted neighbour Sandray. The story ranges from the intriguing monuments of prehistory to the shipwrecks and the 19th century evictions to make way for sheep-farming. The Vatersay Raiders.

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