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X SLAY is a large island, and the most southerly of those called the
Hebrides. In length from noi-th to south it is about thirty miles,
and its extreme land-breadth about eighteen, its contents about
154,000 acres. Askaig, the jnost northern port on the island, is
distant from Edinburgh (by way of Tarbert) 179 miles, from Invcr-
ary 7ti, and from Tarbert 40. It lies in a westerly direction from the
peninsula of Kyutiro, distant from it about twelve miles, and is
separated on the north, from the Island of Jura, by a narrow chan-
nel. It comprises three parochial divisions, namely, Bowmore (or
ICilbarrow), Kilchoman and Kildalton. The mountains to the east
of tlie island rise to an altitude of fifteen hundred feet, and are the
resort of eagles , falcons and other birds ; and great numbers of seals
are to be found along the coast. The shore is very rugged, but in
some parts has fine fiat shores and sandy bays, and the face of the
country is finely varied by hill and dale. Many parts are well plant-
ed, and the island contains several beautiful lakes, wcU-stocked with
mo^t delicious trout, together with the rivers Som and Laggan : the
former empties itself into Loch Indaal, and the latter into Laggan
Bay. The Laggan water is not surpassed in the West Highlands as
a salmon stream. In boisterous weather many vessels come into
Loch Indaal for shelter. Near the centre of the island is Loch Fin-
laggan, about three miles in circumference, with an islet of the
same name in the middle. It was here the Macdonalds (Lord of the
Isles) resided in all the pomp of royalty, and the ruins of their
castle can yet be seen. Near the Island of Fiulaggan is another
little isle called Eilan-na-corlle — the island of council — whero a
body of judges constantly sat to decide differences between the
subjects of the Macdonalds. On the first island were buried the
wives and the children of the Lords of the Isles, but their own per-
sons were deposited in the more sacred ground of lona. Before
Islay became the seat of government for the Lords of the Isles, it
appears to have been under the dominion of the Danes and Nor-
wegians, as there are many duns and castles, evidently of Danish
origin, besides many places which have Danish names. The land
is tolerably cultivated, but it is still susceptible of great improve-
ment. Upwards of three thousand head of black cattle, and several
hundred horses, peculiarly adapted for small carriages, are annually
exported, besides sheep. An immense quantity of whisky, the pro-
duce of the distilleries in the island, is also exported to Glasgow,
England and America. Lead and iron are said to abound in this
island, and a company was at one time formed, called the Islay
Blining Company, for extracting some of those minerals ; the under-
taking, however, proved abortive, and the company was dissolved.
There is a regular weekly communication by steamer, from Port-
Ellen and Port- Askaig, with Glasgow and West Tarbert on the main
land. There are many ruinous remains of ancient castles, churches,
&c. scattered over the island; but, perhaps, the most remarkable
natural curiosity in this part of the empire is Sloc-Mhaol-Doraidb,
a large basin formed in the rock by the action of the sea, on the
south-west point of Laggan Bay, about nine miles from Bowmore,
into which the turbulent waters of the western ocean rush, by two
channels in thfe rock, covered with natural arches; the grandeur of
the scene presented during the flowing of the tide is inconceiv-
able; this cave is scarcely inferior to the famed one of Fingal,
in Staffa, and can only be entered by a boat in fine weather.
At the entrance stands a perpendicularrock, fifty feet high, with a
belt round it, and is designated the " soldier," 'from appearing to
guard the approach to it. The interior is dome-roofed and spacious,
with a beautiful lake of fresh water, ** icy cold and crystal clear."
There are several other interesting perforations in difi'erent parts of
the island. The scenery in this locality, as well as several other
points of theisland, is highly interestin;,Vind occasionally approaches
the sublime. It was on this coast, in ' he vicinity of the last named
cave, that on the 27th of April, 1847, the Exmouth was wrecked, when
two hundred and forty-eight of the crew and passengers perished.
Population of Islay in 1871, 8,143.
Bowmore is the principal place on the island. It was founded in
1768. and is situated on the east side of Loch Indaal, three miles
south of Islay House, 11 s.s.w. from Port-Askaig, and the same from
Port-Ellen and Port-Charlotte. The town, which consists of two
principal streets, and several smaller ones diverging, posseeses a
good quay and a comfortable inn. It is a place of some business,
several trading vessels belonging to it. The public structures aro
the parish church, a circular edifice, vnth a peculiar formed spire ;
a neat Free church, a Baptist chapel, a union workhouse, and a build-
ing originally intended for a gaol, but now apprupriated to the more
beneficial uses of a public library, containing about eighteen
hundred volumei. An assembly room is on the same floor as the
library. There is also a large and excellent parochial school, with
a house for the master, built and liberally endowed by Campbell of
Islay, likewise a Free church school. A sheriflTs court is held here
twice a year. There is a distillery worked by W. & J. Mutter. The
Bowmore Hotel is the principal one in the town. Population in
1871. 867. , . , ^ 1,
At BiuDGE-END,thr(?e miles north of Bowmore, and eight miles
south of Port-Askaig, is a branch of the National Bank of Scotland,
which greatly facilitates the commercial transactions of the island.
A court is held monthlv for the recovery of small debts, and sessions
fer the trial of petty offences. A short distance to the west stands
Islay House, surrounded with fine gardens and well planted grounds ;
it is situated at the head of Loch Indaal, of which it commands a
fine view, as well as of the adjacent country.
Port-Askaig is a small creek or harbour, on the north-east side of
the island, opposite Feoline in Jura, from which it is separated by
the sound of Islay, about a mile broad; the port is eleven miles
north-east of Bowmore, and is the only quay on the island where
vessels of considerable burden can load and unload at low water.
Here lobsters are found in great abundance.
About four miles from Bridge-end, on the road to Port-Askaig, is
the village of Ballegeant, where there is a lead mine, which gives
employment to a number of hands. The lead is of fixst-rate quality,
and contains a small quantity of silver.
Port-Charlotte is a small village, in the parish of Kilchoman,
on the west side of Loch Indaal, nearly opposite to Bowmore; it is
16 miles s.w. of Port-Askaig, and contains a good inn, a distillery,
and an excellent school, erected by Charles Moriison, Esq. Popu-
lation in 1871, 484.
Port-Ellen is a seaport and village, in the parish of Kildalton,
on the east side of the island ; 11 miles s.e. of Bowmore, and 22 s. of
Port-Askaig. In 1824 there stood only one house here, though in
1836 there were above one hundred and fifty; and the population
and habitations have greatly increased since. The bay is con-
sidered safe, and is nearly a mile wide. The quay is commodious,
and is formed on a rocky promontory near the middle of the har-
bour ; the quay was erected in 1826, and enlarged and improved in
1832. by Campbell of Islay, who also erected a lighthouse. A branch
of the City of Glasgow Bank is established here. The Village is
substantially built, and contains two inns. The inhabitants are
principally employed in agi-iculture and fishing, and the prosperity
of the village maybe said to have been increasing for several years.
Population in 1871 was 979.
PoHTNAHAVEN is a Small village and seaport, 24 miles s.w. of Port-
Asl^aig, and 16 s.w. of Bridge-end. It is at the southern extremity
of the island, having a quay formed by the rocks on the shore ; and
near the port is an elegant lighthouse, erected in 1324-5. Here is
also a parliamentary church and a parochial school. A considerable
business is done in the season of fishing, the shores on this part of
the island abounding with the finny treasures. Population in 1871,
The fairs held in the Island of Islay, are as follows :— for cattle,
last Wednesday in April, last Tuesday in June, July, August and
September. At Bowmore, February, Tuesday, if 12th, or first Tues-
day after; August r2th, if Friday, or first Friday after, for horses;
last Tuesday in August for cattle, November for horses, Friday, if
12th, or first Friday after ; for cattle, Tuesday before. At Bridge-
end, for cattle aud horses, Tuesday before second last Wednesday
in October. At Ballegrant, for horses, Tuesday in February, after
that at Bowmore. At Port-Askaig, for cattle, second last Wednes-
day in May. At Port-Ellen, for horses and cattle, in November, day
before that at Bowmore.
POST 02TIC3S, Bowmore, Donald M'Fadyen, Post Master.— Jjettevs arrive in summer on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at
seven evening, and Friday at six evening, and in winter on Tuesday and Friday at five morning ; and are despatched in summer on Mon-
day aud Tuesday at^seven evening, and Friday at five and at a quarter before twelve morning, also on Tuesday at a quarter before threo
afternoon, and in ^\ inter on Tuesday and Friday at a quarter-past one afternoon only.
Money Order and Telegraph Office and Savings Bank.
Post Office, BniDGE-END, John M'Irdeor, Post Master. — Letters arrive in summer on Monday, Tuesday, Thui'sday and Friday at
seven evening, and i i winter on Tuesday and Friday at four morning; and are despatched in winter on Tuesday and Friday at one
afternoon, and in sum-ner on Tuesday at six morning and two afternoon, and an Friday at a quarter before five morning and at a quarter
before one noon. Money Order and Telcpinuh Office and Savings Bank.
Post Office, ?0RT- Askaig, Duncan Blair, Post Master. — Letters arrive in summer on Monday at half-past seven evening, and on
Tuesday, Thuisday ;■ id Friday at laalf-past nine night, and in winter oa Tuesday and Friday at half-past eight morning; and are des-
patched in winter on i'uesday at twelve noon and Friday at ten morning, and in summer on Tuesday at half-past eight morning and
twelve noon, and on Thursday at four afternoon.
Money Order and Telegraph Office and Savings Bank.
Post Office. Port-Ellen, Alexander M'Dougall, Post il/a.ifcr.— Letters arrive in \vinteron Tuesday and Friday at two morning,
and in summer on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at four afternoon; and are d2:?patched in summer on filonday at half-past
our afternoon, and Tuesday aud Friday at half-past five afternoon, also on Friday at eight morning, and in winter on Tuesday at half-
past three afternoon and on Friday at twelve noon.
Money Order and Telegraph Office and Savings Bank.
Post Eicceiving: House, Ballegrant, Isabella M'Dougall, Post iVisfress.— Letters arrive in winter on Tuesday and Friday,
and m summer Tuesday and Thursday; and are despatched in winter on Tuesdav and Friday, and in summer on Tuesday, Thursday
and Friday. The nearest Money Order Office is at Port-Askaig.
Post Receiving iSouse, Port-Charlotte, Donald Martin, Post ilf oster.— Letters arrive on Tuesday and Friday, and are
despatched same days. The nearest Money Order Office is at Bridge-end.
Post Receiviner House, Portnahaven, James M'Auley, Posi ilfcwfer.— Letters arrive on Tuesday and Friday, and are des-
patched same days. The nearest Money Order Office is atlBRiDGE-END.
Post Receiving- House, Gruniahd, John M'Taggart, Post Master.— heiterH arrive on Tuesdav and Friday, snd are des-
atched on Tuesday and Thursday The nearest Money Order Office is at Bkidge-ekd.
1-1 343

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