Friday, December 3, 2010

ISLE of ARRAN / Holy Isle...

The earliest recorded name for Holy Isle was Inis Shroin, which is old Gaelic for 'Island of the Water Spirit'. After the time when the Celtic Christian saint St. Molaise lived on the island at the end of the 6th century, it became known as Eilean Molaise, which is Gaelic for 'Molaise's Island'. This name gradually evolved over the course of centuries until it became generally known as Holy Isle (or the Holy Isle) and the village on the other side of the bay became known as Lamlash.
The source of fresh spring water [Holy Well] and an abundance of trees attracted St Molaise, who was born a prince of Ulster in 588AD but renounced his throne. He travelled to nearby Iona as a student of St. Columba, who took Christianity to the Picts of northern Scotland and the islands in the sixth century.
The main island path, passes the cave where St. Molaise lived which is indicated with a little sign pointing up some steps, followed shortly by the Holy Well. For centuries people have come to drink its cold and crystal clear water for the healing powers it is said to have. It should be pointed out that it does not meet [rolls eyes] current EU standards.

Holy Isle from the south

this very small ferry takes visitors over to Holy Isle from Lamlash

Mullach Mor, 1026ft. above sea level

affords fine this one

and this one...both looking  north

then we turn the HOKEY COKEY and...

look south!

feral goat

seal pup waiting on ferry at jetty...

In 1877 the inner lighthouse (facing Arran) was built on Holy Isle, engineered by David and Thomas Stevenson. It is locally known as "Wee Donald", though the current lighthouse keepers don't know why anymore.
The outer lighthouse, or Pillar Rock, was built in 1905 on the east shore. It had a fog horn and a revolving light that was lit by paraffin. Pillar Rock lighthouse was the first lighthouse built with a square tower and has several rooms inside for the men who worked there. Lighthouse cottages were built to house four families of the lighthouse keepers and a walled garden was made. The lighthouses became automated in 1977, and are now serviced every two weeks by local people living on Arran.

wild Eriskay ponies...

and this Soay ewe with two of her wee lambs

with another waiting back home at the door...
Since Rokpa Trust bought the Holy Isle in 1992 it has always been Lama Yeshe's intention to build a centre open to people of all faiths. Directed by Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist meditation master in the Kagyu tradition, the island is open to all, Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. This is in keeping with his wish to make the island available to as wide a group of people as possible. It is hoped that the Centre will become a focal point for interfaith work and retreat and be a peaceful refuge in this hectic modern world.
Celtic Christians sought the solitude of Holy Isle to support their prayer and meditation, just as the Tibetan yogis did in the Himalayas. The powerful nature of these places becomes charged with the energy of spiritual practice which can touch the heart and inspire the mind. The link forged with Tibet's ancient spiritual tradition is re-awakening Holy Isle to its sacred purpose. Separated from the busy world, this sacred island provides accommodation for both short and long retreats. It is a place to experience inner peace, to discover creativity and to find meaning in this precious human life.

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