Theme Week Outer Hebrides – Barra

Wednesday, 23 August 2023 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
Reading Time:  5 minutes

Kisimul Castle and Castlebay © flickr.com - Tom Parnell/cc-by-sa-2.0

Kisimul Castle and Castlebay © flickr.com – Tom Parnell/cc-by-sa-2.0

Barra (Scottish Gaelic: Barraigh or Eilean Bharraigh; Scots: Barra) is an island in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, and the second southernmost inhabited island there, after the adjacent island of Vatersay to which it is connected by the Vatersay Causeway. The island is named after Saint Finbarr of Cork. In 2011, the population was 1,174. Gaelic is widely spoken, and at the 2011 Census, there were 761 Gaelic speakers (62% of the population).

The Isle of Barra is roughly 60 km² (23 sq mi) in area, 11 mi (18 km) long and 6 mi (10 km) wide. A single-track road, the A888, runs around the coast of the southern part of the island following the flattest land and serving the many coastal settlements. The interior of the island here is hilly and uninhabited. The west and north of the island has white sandy beaches consisting of sand created from marine shells adjoining the grassed machair, while the southeast side has numerous rocky inlets. To the north a sandy peninsula runs to the beach airport and Eoligarry.

Hebridean Sunset © panoramio.com - Neil Aitkenhead/cc-by-sa-3.0 Harbour Cottage © panoramio.com - Neil Aitkenhead/cc-by-sa-3.0 Kisimul Castle and Castlebay © flickr.com - Tom Parnell/cc-by-sa-2.0 Kisimul Castle and Castlebay © flickr.com - Conor Lawless/cc-by-2.0 Take off at Barra Airport © flickr.com - Tom Parnell/cc-by-sa-2.0 Castlebay from Leadaig © geograph.org.uk - Colin Smith/cc-by-sa-2.0 Castlebay from the Pier © geograph.org.uk - Colin Smith/cc-by-sa-2.0
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Kisimul Castle and Castlebay © flickr.com - Tom Parnell/cc-by-sa-2.0
The main village is Castlebay (Bàgh a’ Chaisteil) in a sheltered bay, where Kisimul Castle sits on a small islet not far from shore; giving the village its name. This is the main harbour. A smaller medieval tower house, Dun Mhic Leoid, is in the middle of Loch St Clare on the west side of the island at Tangasdale. The highest elevation on the island is Heaval, near the top of which is a prominent white marble statue of the Madonna and Child, called “Our Lady of the Sea”, which was erected during the Marian year of 1954. The predominant faith on the island is Catholicism and the Catholic church dedicated to Our Lady of the Sea is apparent to those arriving at Castlebay. Other places of interest on the island include a ruined church and museum at Cille Bharra, a number of Iron Age brochs such as those at Dùn Chuidhir and An Dùn Bàn, and a range of other Iron Age and later structures which have recently been excavated and recorded. Barra is connected by a modern causeway to the smaller island of Vatersay, population 90.

Tourism provides the main income for the majority of islanders; the high season lasts from May to September. Thousands of people visit the island every year, the busiest times being during Fèis Bharraigh & BarraFest in July. The Dualchas Heritage and Cultural Centre is located in Castlebay, next to Castlebay Community School. It has various exhibitions each year and is open throughout the year. In April 2020, Condé Nast Traveller summed up Barra as “a delightful little island with its own castle and beach airport” and recommended visiting the “high cliffs in the east and lovely beaches and bays in the west”. Castlebay is the primary base for tourists, with a few hotels, a supermarket, bank and petrol station. Explore Scotland stated in 2020 that the island was “also an ideal starting point for visiting and exploring the Uists and Benbecula”.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on Isle of Barra, VisitOuterHebrides.co.uk – Barra, Wikivoyage Barra and Wikipedia Barra. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.






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