A Little Gem!


No it’s not a type of lettuce, but a small island called Lismore, north-west of the town of Oban, in Argyll, on the west coast of Scotland. It can be approached by the large CalMac car-carrying boat from Oban.

But if you do not want to be part of the herd, and can do without your car for a short time, then drive up over the Connel Bridge and head for the lovely little area called Port Appin. It is a famous bit of country-side, and may even be known to many who have read Kidnapped, or know of Rob Roy McGregor in Scottish History.

You then take the 10 minute journey on a tiny boat (which only seats about 12 people and numerous bikes) across to the north end of Lismore. One great thing is that you get to hear all the local gossip in that short time, from the locals….and you may have to reciprocate by letting folk know why you are going over!

Because of the narrow single-track roads, cars can only go along at a leisurely pace, and this has the advantage of being relatively-safe for walkers or cyclists…if everyone takes care!

Our reason for going over again was the ancient Church of Scotland building (which at various times has been Catholic and Episcopal). St Moluag had come from Ireland (you see a lot of good people come from that country!) in about 561 and set-up his own monastic centre. He also travelled widely over Scotland, the Isle of Man, and even Iceland, rivalling St Columba, who set-up the more-famous Iona Abbey.

The building you see in the photo is only the Choir area of what at one time had been a Cathedral, built in about 1300 (+- 50 years). There is evidence of the original Chancel, but inside the church looks happily self-contained. It is maintained with pride by the present members, and is always clean and fresh.

A relatively modern innovation on the island is the Heritage Centre, which was opened just over a year ago, to preserve and display the island, is what can only be described as an eco-friendly building, which does not intrude on the landscape but looks as if it has just risen from the ground……and the coffee is good!Well-worth a visit….ask for the key to go into the re-constructed old farmhouse, alongside, with many artifacts from a past era.

Unfortunately we had to return to the other world of rush and noise, refreshed by our little trip to a relatively-unknown bit of Argyll.

As they say in the holiday ads for Montenegro…..get there before the crowds find it!

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8 thoughts on “A Little Gem!

  1. it sounds so nice–enhanced, of course, by the your descripitve writing. i’m making a list of all the place you describe so when i come to visit i can do the ‘irish pisky’ tour. 🙂

  2. I always find buildings over a couple of hundred years old fascinating. So this is just what’s left of a larger building.. It looks to be a really large choir area. Did you get indoor photos?

  3. Hi Lisa…..yes, it was the Choir area, but the ‘gap’ in the wall between this area and what would have been the ‘peoples’ area is only about 2 metres wide so it would have been difficult to see what was ‘going on’. My suspicion is that the ‘choir area’ was probably used for small groups….althoigh it would still hold over 100 people. The fact that there are only about 150 people on the Island means that they could mostly squash in for a large funeral or wedding.

    Like any place you go to several times, you don’t take photos, as you ‘know what it looks like’ and don’t need to take a photographic image to remind you. I suppose it is a bit selfish. I designed the sound systems in both Dunblane Cathedral, and Iona Abbey…both very famous buildings in Scotland, but took no photos of my folk installing the systems!

    Next time I promise to take some photos.

  4. Also a little gem of an entry!
    I’ve been to Port Appin, but not Lismore. It’s a lovely area and one that I like to go back to some day. Cheers!

  5. All these places you describe sound like must-visits if ever a trip is to made. I LOVE the pictures of old buildings.

  6. Flighty…..well worth the £1.30 each way, just to make landfall on the island. It is only 10 miles long and 1 mile wide so lots of folk just cycle to other end and back, for the views.

    B&T……I should retire now and become a guide for bloggers!….some might say I was a silly old blogger!

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