Events during Dunyvaig Castle Excavations

During the first excavation at Dunyvaig, in 2018, a spectacular item was found, the seal of Sir John Campbell of Cawdor (c. 1576-1642), who had taken ownership of Islay in 1615. The seal had lain on a clay floor within the castle for more than 400 years, buried below mounds of rubble from the collapsed defensive wall. Once used to sign and seal charters and legal documents, it is a circular disc of lead, carrying the inscription IOAN- NIS CAMPBELL DE CALDER. [Calder was the original spelling of Cawdor]. Finding the seal was a huge reward for the entire excavation team led by Islay Heritage, a Scottish Charity, and the University of Reading. The Seal is now on display in the Museum following an evening event on 12th August when Steve Mithen presented it.

Excavation at Dunyvaig Castle will resume for its second season on Thursday 15 August 2019. Everyone is invited to join Islay Heritage and University of Reading team at 11.00am that morning to start the dig – bring a spade (or borrow one of ours) to help de-turf and hear about the excavation.

The dig will continue until 3 September, with a team of 40 staff, students and volunteers. Islay Heritage has arranged a programme of events at the dig for everyone to join in with, engaging and learning about Islay’s heritage in new ways. Read more...

Islay to Colonsay Day Trips

One of the perks of being on Islay is the chance to visit a few neighbouring islands such as Jura, Colonsay and (indirectly) Oronsay. Where Jura is only a 5 minute ferry trip away from Port Askaig, the Isle of Colonsay requires a bit more planning. With the latter it all comes down to finding a nice day to make the trip from Port Askaig to Scalasaig, the main settlement on Colonsay. Make sure to check the weather beforehand. If the return ferry is on yellow alert you'd better stay on Islay to avoid cancellations and the chance to be stuck on Colonsay as it only sails to Islay twice a week, on Wednesday and Saturday. There is a daily ferry service in the summer from Oban to Colonsay.


Kiloran Bay Colonsay

The Isle of Colonsay is easily accessible on foot, by bike or by car. There is one main circular road, single track, covering most of the island with a few minor roads going to Kiloran Bay in the north and Oronsay in the south. It's an ideal island for cycling and it's highly recommended to take your bicycle to Colonsay, it's free to take it with you on the ferry and you save £35.50 on ferry fares for your car. Alternatively you can hire a bike on the island for £10 a day. Read more...

Amazing Islay Video of Soldiers Rock

It's time to share a great Islay video with you. It's an exceptional good video as it contains some crips shots from a drone, but most of all it's from a stunning part of Islay not known with many folk. It shows parts of The Oa and the walk up to Soldiers Rock, an impressive Sea Stack within 20 metres from the cliffs. The drone footage is mostly of Soldiers Rock, the stunning surrounding landscape and Port Ellen. This one is highly recommended :-)

Cantilena Festival Islay 19th season

The Cantilena Festival is a week of classical music concerts in venues throughout Islay. It consists a mix of professional players and young professional musicians who are senior students of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS). The Festival gives Islay the opportunity to hear live classical music and, just as important, gives these young people a chance to work and learn from experienced musicians. The concerts are informal and there’s always a chance to chat to the players and learn how passionate they are about their music.

Sunday 7 July sees the start of the Festival when the opening concert in the Columba Centre, Bowmore, will feature our professional players in works by Mozart, Schumann and Shostakovich. This is followed on Monday evening at Laphroaig Distillery and our Young Professionals’ Showcase. Come along and listen to our extremely talented young professional musicians from RCS show off their skills in a varied programme.

Tuesday evening’s concert in Lagavulin will include works by Corelli, Vivaldi, Rossini Mendelssohn, and little-heard Scots composer Thomas Erskine and features all the Cantilena players. Back in Columba on Wednesday, Daniel Silcock, a senior piano student at RCS will return to Islay to present a recital of Debussy’s Preludes. The second half of the evening will feature chamber music by Brahms and Beethoven. Continue reading....