If you want to know what kind of events are planned during your stay on Islay, my first recommendation would be to get yourself a copy of the Ileach Newspaper when you arrive on the island or check their website. My second recommendation would be to carefully read this post and save it for future use! Although Islay is a relatively small island with a little over 3000 people, you'd be surprised to find out what they organise for everyone on the island, and it doesn't matter whether you are a visitor or not, you're always welcome. That's just one of the many delights of visiting Islay!
It would go too far to list everything that is organised this year in this post. There are however a couple of useful links that you can use to find out what's going on during the year. First of all there are the annual events which take place annually around the same date and the best known is probably the Feis Ile, the Islay festival of Malt and Music, usually held in the last week of May. This is however just one annual event, there are many more such as the Cantilena Festival, Port Ellen Book festival, Jazz Festival and Walk Islay just to name a view. There is a page on Islayinfo.com that covers the best known Islay annual events and includes links to the respective event websites, that's why you won't find the Islay Show here although it's the biggest annual event on Islay. Continue reading....Where the events page gives an overview of the various events, the event calendar on the Islay Weblog tells you when the exact dates are of these and other events including the Islay Show and the weekly visitor welcome evenings in the summer season from April to October. The event calendar on the blog will be updated on a regularar basis and some people on Islay add their events directly in that calendar, without my interference. The upcoming events of the first two months are always visible on the blog's homepage in the right-side column.
Is this it? No it's not! On the website from Islay and Jura CVS (Islay and Jura Council of Voluntary Service) is another excellent event calendar but more focussed to the local community. It's up and running since a couple of months and it's there for everyone, also to have a complete online overview of all events, workshops, AGM's and other locally held meetings. It's here that you find out how active this community really is, specially when you have a look at everything that is planned for the current month.
Another excellent source for local events besides the printed newspaper which I already mentioned, is the website from the Ileach Newspaper where you can find the upcoming events of the first couple of weeks and the major events of the year. The online Ileach calendar covers everything, from bikerides to belly dancing and Ceilidhs to Christmas singing.
This post should give you enough information to find out what's planned during your stay on Islay and will hopefully prevent disappointments when you find out about them too late!