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Lismore Island ( , ) is a partially Gaelic speaking island in the Inner Hebridesmarker of Scotlandmarker. The fertile, low-lying island was once a major centre of Celtic Christianity, with a monastery founded by Saint Moluag and the seat of the Bishop of Argyll.


The island of Lismore lies in Loch Linnhemarker, north east of Mullmarker, in Argyll and Bute Council Area. Composed almost entirely of Dalradian limestone, it has fertile soil and an abundance of trees and shrubs.

The island is linked to the mainland by two ferries, a vehicle ferry making the crossing to Obanmarker and a foot ferry making a shorter crossing from the northern tip of the island to Port Appinmarker.

Lismore Lighthouse, built by Robert Stevenson, lies on the small island of Eilean Musdilemarker to the south west.


Lismore, like other Hebridean islandsmarker, has suffered from depopulation since the 19th century. In 1845 there were 1430 people living on the island, though by 1971 there were only 180. In the 2001 census, the population was 146, over 45% of whom were over 60 years old, making it the Scottish island with the oldest population.

Farming has always been important, with barley and oats grown in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today cattle and sheep raised here are in great demand throughout Scotland.

Lime was quarried, particularly on the west coast.

The Great Garden or Enclosure

The Gaelic name, lios mòr, means "great garden" or "enclosure", reflecting either the fertility of a relatively low-lying island amidst mountainous surroundings, or the presence of a defined sacred area round the early monastery.

Saint Moluag

Saint Moluag (Old Irish Mo-Luóc) (d. 592) founded a monastery on Lismore. The island was a major centre of Celtic Christianity, and the seat of the later medieval bishopric of Argyllmarker or the Isles. To modern eyes it seems an isolated location for such a centre, but in an era when the fastest and most reliable transport was by water, Lismore was ideally situated. Of the cathedralmarker only the choir survives, in greatly altered form, the nave and western tower having been reduced to their foundations. Since the Reformation the choir has been used as the Parish Church of Lismore.

Other attractions

Other major antiquities on Lismore include an impressive broch and two ruinous 13th century castles, Coeffin Castlemarker and Achanduin Castlemarker, the latter was the seat of the Bishopric of Argyll until the early 16th century. The broch at Tirfuir on the south coast, is reasonably well preserved, with walls that are about 15 feet high and 10 feet thick, containing an internal passage.

Livingstones of Bachuil

Lismore is the home of the highland Clan MacLea, whose chief, is now Niall Livingstone of Bachuil, Baron of the Bachuil, who succeeded his father Alastair Livingstone of Bachuil, who died on 29 February 2008. Livingstone is the Coarb of Saint Moluag and, as such, the hereditary keeper of the saint's crozier or pastoral staff (an early church relic known as the Bachall Mòr).


Image:Eilean Musdile.jpg|The lighthouse on Eilean Musdilemarker lfrom the Obanmarker to Craignuremarker ferry.Image:Lismore.jpg|The view from Lismore's northern ferry pier to the mainland.


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