Isle of Barra
Isle of Barra (probably from 'Saint Barr') lies off the south coast of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides / Western Isles. The Isle of Barra is sometimes known as 'Island of Flowers'. The island is about eight miles long and about five miles broad, and covers about twenty square miles. The island is hilly, and Ben Heaval is over 1200 feet high, with a statue of the Madonna and Child high up on the slope. Ben Tangaval is nearly 1100 feet with the rest of the island having many high cliffs.
The island is only 8 miles (12.8km) from North to South and between four and 5 miles (6.4-8km) wide but has a population of about 1400, with Castlebay the only settlement of any noteable size. In the bay is Kisimul Castle (pictured right), historic seat of the MacNeils who sold the island in 1838 because of debt, the castle was bought back and restored, being completed in the 1970s.
The island has several magnificent beaches, including Traigh Mor, which is also used as the island's airstrip, Traigh Scurrival and Traigh Eais, and Halaman Bay (pictured left - click image to enlarge). In July the island is host to the Barra Festival (Feis Bharraigh).
The Uists and Barra - by Francis Thompson
This visitors' guide describes the culture, landscape, climate, flora and fauna of the island and the islands of North Uist, Benbecula, and South Uist. Steeped in history ranging back to prehistoric times, their heritage is based on the Gaelic language spoken by over 90 per cent of the population.
If you plan to visit the island please take a look in our accommodation section where you are likely to find a suitable place to stay.
You will find more information about the island on the next page but if you have something you would wish to contribute (such as material, photographs or details on your local establishment) please feel free to email us and we will contact you as soon as possible.
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