By: rick5 (offline) Wednesday, 05 May 2010 (Read 14730 times)
I'm visiting Islay from Australia on the last weekend of June 2010 to view where my ancestors lived up until the 1850s. Unfortunately what I had hoped to be a five day trip has been shortened to just the weekend and leaving on the Monday afternoon. I regularly visit the Islay website and have a picture in my mind of the places I'd like to visit, Laphroaig distillery (I recently discovered their great whisky), Museum of Islay life, some of the beaches and the area around Kilmeny Church and graveyard where my ancestors lived (McInnes and Currie). Given my very short stay I'd be interested to hear of any other must see places that people might suggest.
I've just returned to Australia after a memorable visit to Islay. Stayed at the Ballygrant Inn where the publican David Graham and his son Ewin made me feel very welcome. The room I had was small but clean and cosy and the food and drink first class making for a very pleasant stay. Food in the restaurant was excellent and David was particularly helpful in providing me with information on Islay and even arranged for access to my ancestors farms at Keppols and Kepplesmore. An emotional moment for me seeing where and how they would have lived, so I was most grateful to David. What a shame their old farmhouse is now derelict like many others appear to be in the more remote parts of Islay, I imagine it is the result of the land laws in Scotland. Are there not any organisations on the island who look to preserve or restore some of these old buildings something I would volunteer to do if I lived closer? I did visit Islay House Square and was most impressed with the recent restoration work there and the opportunities given to local businesses to operate from the site. What a great initiative.
I also found the varied scenery one of Islay's greatest attractions and enjoyed some peacefull strolls on lovely beaches on the West coast through to walks in small forests and a drink at the pub in the prettty little village of Bridgend. Only dissapointment was turning up at the Islay Museum of Life on a Sunday to find it closed, you would think this would be the busiest time for tourists. All in all a great, albeit short trip. Hopefully I can return for a longer trip in future.
Hi Rick, thanks for sharing your whereabouts with the readers and good to hear you had a great time!
I guess most of the old buildings are on the land that belongs to one of the estates and I think it's up to the owners of these estates to determine wether these buildings get a new future or stay as they are.
The Islay Museum should have been open on Sunday's in June, as far as I know they are open every day in the summer season. Perhaps they were short staffed? Was there a sign on the door? Better luck next time Rick!
Perhaps it was a one off that the museum was closed, but on the day there were several visitors wanting to have a look and we were all dissapointed, we assumed because the museum is in the church that may have been why it was closed on the Sunday. It didn't matter I went back the next day and had an hour or so looking over the museum and didn't mind having a drive back to Port Charlotte, it was a good excuse to have a look at some of the nearbye beaches.
The Maggie is one of Ealing studios lesser known comedies. A wily old skipper of a Western Isles 'Puffer' and his motley crew lead all who come into contact with them a fine old time! Many scenes on Islay!