Early History of Lismore

Lismore is steeped in history and there are nearly 200 results on the The Royal Commission of Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) site - See RCHAMS

In the pre-Christian era the island was the sacred place of the kings of the Western Picts whose capital was at Beregonium, across the water at Benderloch. Their kings were cremated on the ancient bronze age man made ‘burial mound’ of Cnoc Aingeil (Gaelic for ‘Hill of Fire’) at Bachuil, about three miles from the north of the island, near to the site that St. Moluag chose for his first centre. There are several other smaller cairns on the island but many have been sadly diminished as their stones were used for other purposes.

One of the earliest artefacts found on Lismore is a polished stone age axe found at Balnagowan, thought to be from 3500BC.

A Bronze armlet from the first century AD was found near Cill nan Suidh (Burial place of the Kings), near the Achnacroish car ferry terminal. The last person to be buried here is thought to be a Lady who was reputedly a descendant of Kenneth MacAlpin, first King of Scots. An excellent replica is kept in the Island’s Heritage Centre but the original is in the National Museum in Edinburgh.

Tirefour Broch is a remarkable Iron Age (800BC – 40AD) fort that still stands sentinel over the Firth of Lorn. In its hey day it is thought that it was 45 feet high with a diameter of about 70 feet. See Tirefour Broch

Castle Coeffin (shown in the photograph at the top of this page) is a picturesque ruined 13th century Castle standing on the shore overlooking Loch Linnhe. It has a hall-house and courtyard and was probably built by the MacDougalls of Lorn. The name is said to come from Caifen, a Viking prince whose sister was said to haunt the castle until her remains were returned to Norway to be buried by her lover's side. See Castle Coeffin

Achadun Castle was probably built by the MacDougall's of Lorn and was used as the Bishops Palace from the 13th to 16th Centuries. See Acahdun Castle

Dun Chruban, Dun Fiart, Sean Dun, Dun Sloc A' Bhrighide, Dun Cuilein, Dun Mor and Dun Chillchearan are the names of six Duns on the island that could date from the fifth or sixth centuries when St Moluag came over from Ireland. For an index of Duns at the RCAHMS site. See Lismore Duns

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