Islay Marathon 2016 on Sunday 18 September

The Islay Marathon will be taking place on Sunday 18 September. We had a very successful marathon last year and we’re confident that this year’s marathon will be just as good. It’s a fabulous route with some great views running from Portnahaven, along the length of the Rhinns to Bridgend and then following the High Road all the way to Port Ellen. As marathons go, it doesn’t get much better than that.

The event is also in memory of Menzies MacAffer, a former pupil of Islay High School who went on to serve with distinction in the Royal Marines and was a keen marathon runner, but whose life was tragically cut short. The Menzies MacAffer trophies, which have been kindly donated by his family, will be presented to the first male and female runners home at the Islay Marathon. Continue reading...

Islay Jura Toy Library Moved to the Square

Islay and Jura Toy Library has moved to bigger and better premises in Islay House Square. After occupying a small office in ICCI for the last five years, Toy Library Coordinator, Kirsten MacLellan is delighted with the new space which provides a much brighter, more welcoming and far more practical workspace and playgroup setting.

The Toy Library is a charity which allows members to borrow children’s books, toys and equipment such as car seats, high chairs, travel cots and pushchairs. The new, larger space means that parents will be able to browse what is available to borrow far easier, and Kirsten’s job will be less difficult as she will now have the space to organise the equipment in a way that the previous small space would not allow. The Toy Library also runs playgroup sessions several times a week, which will now be held in the new premises in Islay House Square, meaning Kirsten no longer has to lug huge boxes of toys in and out of the van to take them to various locations every week. Continue reading

Plague, Priests and Pirates on Islay

Islay’s intriguing past, a guest blog by Vivien Martin.

Mention Islay and for most people the first thing that springs to mind is undoubtedly whisky. But there’s much more to Islay than that. One of my own favourite parts of the island lies between Port Ellen and Kildalton, where, within a few short miles, you can discover sites that tell stories of the people, places and events that are part of the island’s rich, intriguing and often turbulent past.

Sitting at the ‘maritime crossroads’ between Ireland and the western seaboard of Scotland, for centuries Islay was where cultures met and new ideas arrived. Christianity, for example, reached Islay in the 6th century AD when Irish monks – perhaps even before Columba – sailed across from Antrim and established tiny chapels throughout the island.

For these early Celtic Christians there would have been little or no distinction between the spiritual and the political. All of life was bound together and they unflinchingly followed the command of Christ to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel”. The influence of these Christian missionaries is reflected in a multitude of ancient place-names on the island, many stemming from the old Gaelic word “cill(e)”, which means a church or a chapel. This later became the more familiar form “Kil“, seen in such place names as Kildalton, Kilchoman, Kilnave, Kilnaughton, Kilchiaran and many more. From tiny, humble beginnings these chapels grew into centres of worship and burial in parishes throughout the island.

Walking east from Port Ellen you soon reach the road to Kilbride Farm, and, passing an impressive 16-foot standing stone, you come to the ruins of one of these tiny chapels, this one still known by its more ancient name, Cill Tobar Lasrach, or Eaglais Tobar Lasrach, the Church of the Well of Lasrach. Sitting in a sheltered hollow, it is possible to see the outline of the small rectangular chapel surrounded by an almost circular enclosure. Continue reading....

A Chance to Meet an Author on Islay

As a former teacher on the Isle of Colonsay, Mavis Gulliver has a particular interest in children's literature. In 2016, her third book, 'The Snake Wand' was published by Cinnamon Press. Following 'Cry at Midnight' and 'Clickfinger' this continues the adventures of Merryn and Hamish MacQueen in their fight against Malevolent Witchery. Joining forces with the Benevolent Wizards their adventures take them to real locations on Scottish Islands where they engage with magical creatures from Scottish Folklore.

The books are available from The Celtic House, Bowmore, Islay. Alternatively, if she is at home on Islay, you can, by prior arrangement, purchase a set of three directly from her. If you do this, she will be happy to show you the objects that inspired her stories. It may even be possible for unaccompanied children to engage in a writing/illustrating workshop. The books are aimed primarily at 8 to12 year olds but they have been enjoyed by older children - and by adults. And although Mavis has not published any books for younger children she offers storytelling/illustrating sessions with 5-8 year olds. Contact mavisgulliver@googlemail.com for further details and see www.mavisgulliver.co.uk for each of the three books.

Tag: mavis gulliver author books

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