Monday, October 22, 2012
They have been looking this summer for an ancient monastery, Kildonan, on the Isle of Eigg. That's the Island just off the coast with the huge rock knob shape you can see at the South end with steep cliffs to the North. You can reach it by ferry from Mallaig or Arisaig. The Eigg people own the Island now, as part of a Trust.
These old church sites, were built upon even older religious sites, and this one might go back to Mesolothic times. The archaeological teams are from Glasgow, Cranfield and Birmingham universities
St Donan was the missionary who led a big expedition to Christianise these Islands. A contemporary of St Columba, he actually led a rival group. Apparently he and his followers were murdered and buried in the Church on Apl 17th April 617. How they know this in such detail beats me.
They had extensive signs of very ancient peoples here, anything up to 8,000 years ago. It has been a violent place in its day. The Vikings from Norway made this one of their early settlements in the 8th century. They brought the spoils from their raids on Iona and they brought slaves captured in Ireland. These poor souls were destined to be taken to Norway, sold on to Sweden, and the survivors from these journeys were taken to Constantinopol.
Isle of Eigg
The Isle of Eigg is situated in the heart of Clanranald country, this small island has a very bloody history being involved in every MacDonald rebellion against the crown and in a good many feuds. A lengthy feud between the MacDonalds and the MacLeods in the 16th Century led to the death of 395 MacDonalds in 1577, the island’s entire population, in “Uamha Fhraing” (Cave of Frances, aka Massacre Cave) The Clanranald residents of the island took refuge in a cave on the south coast and they were suffocated by a fire lit at the entrance by a party of MacLeods in what apparently was a revenge attack. The feud was finally ended some years later by the marriage of Alan of Moidart to the daughter of MacLeod of MacLeod. Hugh Miller visited this notorious cave three centuries later, in 1844, and described in his book, “The Cruise Of The Betsy,” seeing the bones of adults and children in family groups with the charred remains of their straw mattresses and small household objects. All were finally removed for burial in hallowed ground.
That's enough blood and gore for one day.
The story they don't tell you about the Glencoe Massacre History around the cottage in Appin Did the Vikings stage a battle in Glencoe? The Pictish broch in Lismore West of Scotland millions of years ago Robert the Bruce and the Ardchattan parliament Robert the Bruce and the Knights Templar The story of the MacDonalds of Glencoe Ancient roads of the Highlands Glencoe, the 4th Wonder of Scotland Castles in the Glencoe area