If you are a first time visitor on Islay there are a few things that can help to get you started to discover Islay in the best possible way. One thing I would certainly recommend is a visit to the Tourist Information Centre, located opposite the Coop Supermarket in Bowmore's mainstreet 20 feet away from the Bowmore Distillery. You will find very useful leaflets, maps, books and information about Islay that will help you to plan your time on Islay and make the most of it. Another very useful resource for information is a printed copy from the local newspaper called "The Ileach" which can be obtained in almost any shop on Islay. There is a diary section in the Ileach with all the upcoming events on the island, including the visitor welcome evenings.
Another very useful source of information and entertainment are the visitor welcome evenings. The welcome evenings take place on Monday nights at eight, starting in the week after Easter to the end of October on different locations on Islay, but mainly in the distilleries. The evenings are presented by someone from the local tourist board and worth visiting, even for those who visit Islay regularly. Last year I attended one of these evenings at the Bunnahabhain distillery and it turned out to be a heart warming evening. We started off exactly at eight (try to be there in time) and the little room was quickly occupied by more than 25 people. The evening started off with a highland dance from a young girl followed by a young lad playing the bagpipes. After these two performances someone from the RSPB gave a slideshow presentation about Islay's wildlife which was very interesting. The presentation lasted almost 45 minutes and the evening ended around 9.30 with a raffle, a dram and a delicious clootie dumpling. If you want to attend the visitor welcome evening you can find the times and places in the Ileach local newspaper and website or on the Islay Weblog Events Calendar