There are many folk on Islay with memories long enough to appreciate the scale of Kathleen, Ian and Rolandâ€™s achievement as the Islay Hotel in Port Ellen prepares to open to the public for the first time since the early 1990s. The steadily deteriorating building had long been a huge problem for Islay in general, and Port Ellen in particular, as thousands of visitors and locals drove past the sad sight as they came off the ferry. How times have changed... It is simply not adequate to describe Roland and Kathleenâ€™s decision to rebuild it as â€˜braveâ€™. The building had to be completely demolished. A water supply had to be almost literally fought for. Difficulty after difficulty had to be endured, addressed and finally faced down. One hundred and four individual shareholders stepped up to the plate and put their money behind their belief in the project. These are mostly local people, the vast majority from Port Ellen itself, who have risked their hard earned cash because they are determined to see this succeed.
Today, Saturday 24th September 2011, the reborn Islay Hotel is to be used for the first time. It will be an emotional moment for many. Next weekend, on Saturday 1st October 2011, the doors will be opened to the public. It will be quite an experience for anyone in the least bit interested in interior design, artistic endeavour, or who understands blood, sweat and tears. We are sure that everyone on Islay would like to join the Ileach in wishing the remarkable group of people whose belief and vision have made this amazing project happen every possible success...
The first picture shows Iain McLellan, Neil Campbell, Emma Goudie, Roland Worthington-Ayre and Kathleen Cunningham in the beautifully detailed bar at the new Islay Hotel. The bar shelves are manufactured from solid teak recycled from a floor taken out of the London Stock Exchange. The second and third picture show the remarkable transformation that has occured in a period of four years time.
The Islay Hotel in Port Ellen - Picture taken in the spring of 2011
The Islay Hotel in Port Ellen - Picture taken in the spring of 2007
This story was published with kind permission of the Ileach local newspaper.