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Saligo Ale - Summers Delight or Winters Dream?

As you might or might not know is that Islay is also home to a genuine Brewery. The name of the brewery is Islay Ales and they are located on Islay House Square near Bridgend where they produce Real Ale. What is Real Ale? According to the Oxford English Dictionary: "Real ale is a name for draft (or bottled) beer brewed from traditional ingredients, matured by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is dispensed, and served without the use of extraneous carbon dioxide." The Islay Ales Company Limited was founded by Paul Hathaway, Paul Capper and Walter Schobert in 2003 to establish a microbrewery on the Hebridean Isle of Islay. And they succeeded very well if you ask me and the quality of the Ales match the quality of the Whiskies from Islay's well established Distilleries

As the title already says: Saligo Ale is a summer Ale, and should be served chilled, preferably on a warm summer evening. A real treat if you ask me. Saligo Ale however is not the only Ale sold at the brewery. Other names referring to Islay's rich history are: Finlaggan Ale, Black Rock (great with an Islay Steak), Angus Og Ale (was for sale during the 2004 Islay Festival), Ardnave Ale, Dun Hogs Head and Nerabus Ale (a typical winter Ale). Click here for a complete overview and details of all the fine Ales available.

If you visit the brewery for the first time you will find out that the staff is very helpful and are more than happy to let you taste some samples. Which doesn't make the choice easier, they are all superb but you will certainly find your favourite Ale to take home from your Islay trip. And here the Winter Dream comes in, remembering the beautiful times on Islay and looking forward to a renewed acquaintance with Islay, it's friendly people and the fine Ales at the Islay Ales Brewery

Royal Family to travel from Islay

The Royal Family uses Islay for setting off on a holiday cruise around the Western Isles. They left Port Ellen today and are guided by a Royal Navy frigate. Young and old on Islay waved the Queen, Prince Philip and other Royal Family members goodbye wishing them a wonderful cruise. They paid £125,000 to hire the Hebridean Princess for a week. The Hebridian Princess was once a Caledonian MacBrayne ferry and is now owned by the company Hebridian and normally sails from Oban to the Scottish Isles or Norway.

The pictures in this article are courtesy of Islay Studios Photography in cooperation with Brian from The Ileach

Islay Birding - A trip to remember

It's not more than logical that a Birding Trip on Islay is great fun with an entertainer like Jermey Hastings. Jeremy knows his way around Islay and is an expert in Islay wildlife. It's therefore a great compliment for Jeremy that he was mentioned today in the Online Independant. I can very much agree on that and as a participant I can only say the trip is fantastic, with so much to see and learn about Islay and Wildlife.

For those who like more info and book a trip with Jeremy you can contact him through the Islay Birding Website.

The battle of Traigh Ghruineard by Arra Fletcher

The battle of Traigh Ghruineard in 1598 was the last big Clan battle to be fought in the Island of Islay, and it was between Sir Lachlan Mor MacLean, the 14th Chief of Duart and his nephew Sir James MacDonald of Islay.

They fought over possession of the Rhinns in Islay which Lachlan Mor claimed was the dowry given to his wife in 1566 by her brother Angus MacDonald, chief of Clan Donald South, and the most powerful branch of Clann Dhomhnuill. Later, MacDonald gave the land of the Rhinns to Brian Vicar MacKay, lieutenant to the MacDonalds, and for years MacLean had demanded the return of the Rhinns to his wife.

At long last MacLean decided that the only way to settle things was to invade Islay and do battle with Angus' son James.

At that time no chief would go into battle without consulting a ban-fhaidh (wise woman) and this MacLean did. He was very annoyed when she told him not to go to Islay, and when he insisted that he was honour bound to go she closed her eyes, and raising her hands intoned this warning: "In spite of my plea you will set sail for Islay, do not arrive on a Thursday, do not fight on the shores of Loch Gruineard, do not drink from the well known as Tobar Niall Neonaich (the well of strange Niall) or else you will surely die."

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