The Full Wiki

Barra: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Barra is located in Scotland
Barra shown within Scotland
OS grid reference NF687004
Gaelic name About this sound Barraigh, Eilean Bharraigh
Norse name Barr-oy
Meaning of name Barr's island, after St Barr
Area and summit
Area 5,875 hectares (22.7 sq mi)
Area rank 20
Highest elevation Heaval, 383 metres (1,257 ft)
Population (2001) 1,078
Population rank 13 out of 97
Main settlement Castlebay
Island group Uists and Barra
Local Authority Na h-Eileanan Siar
Flag of Scotland.svg Lymphad3.svg
References [1][2][3]
If shown, area and population ranks are for all Scottish islands and all inhabited Scottish islands respectively.

The Isle of Barra (Scottish Gaelic: Barraigh, Eilean Bharraigh, pronounced [ˈparˠaj, ˈelan ˈvarˠaj]) is a predominantly Gaelic-speaking island, and apart from the adjacent island of Vatersay is the southernmost inhabited island of the Outer Hebrides (Na h-Eileanan Siar) in Scotland.



Satellite photo of Barra, Vatersay and surrounding islands

The 2001 census showed that the resident population was 1,078. The area of Barra is roughly 23 square miles, the main village being Castlebay (Bàgh a' Chaisteil). Barra is now linked by a man-made causeway to the neighbouring island of Vatersay (Eilean Bhatarsaigh).

The west of the island has white sandy beaches backed by shell-sand machair and the east has numerous rocky inlets. Barra is abundant with stunning scenery, rare flowers and wildlife, which can be appreciated by coastal or hill walks, drives or cycle rides along the various small roads. Car and bicycle hire are available locally.

Kisimul Castle at Castlebay is located on an island in the bay, so giving the village its name.

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 whole range of other Iron Age and later structures which have recently been excavated and recorded.


The Clan MacNeil has strong ties to the Isle of Barra and claims descent from the O'Neills of Ulster.[4]

Alexander, Lord of the Isles granted the island to the MacNeill clan in 1427. The clan held the island until 1838, when Roderick MacNeil, the 40th Chief of the Clan, sold the island to Colonel Gordon of Cluny. Gordon expelled most of the inhabitants in order to make way for sheep farming. The displaced islanders variously went to the Scottish mainland, Australia, New Zealand, the United States of America and Canada. Barra was restored to MacNeill ownership in 1937 when the Barra estate, which encompassed most of the island, was bought by Robert MacNeil, an American architect, and 45th chief of the clan.[5]

In 2003, the ownership of the Barra Estate was passed by the owner, Ian MacNeil, to the Scottish Government. The estate will be transferred to the inhabitants in the future if they request it. MacNeil, the 46th chief of the clan, had previously transferred Kismuil Castle to Historic Scotland in 2000.[6]

In May 2007 Channel 4's Time Team came to the hamlet of Allasdale to investigate the exposed remains of Bronze Age burials and Iron Age roundhouses in sand dunes that had been previously uncovered by storms. The programme was broadcast on 20 January 2008.[7]

The Dualchas Heritage and Cultural Centre is located in Castlebay, next to Castlebay Community School. It has various exhibitions annually, and is open throughout the year.[8]

Fèis Bharraigh & BarraFest - Live @ the Edge

Fèis Bharraigh began in 1981 when an idea was spawned to promote, encourage, foster and develop the practice and study of the Gaelic language, literature, music, drama and culture in the Islands of Barra and Vatersay. Since its inception in 1981 it has gone on to become a movement, now with 42 other feisean taking place every year throughout Scotland.

Following on from the success, and subsequent end of BarraLive; In 2007, Fèis Bharraigh launched BarraFest - Live @ the Edge, a two-day festival of traditional and modern Scottish music held on Tangasdale machair, literally on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.

BarraFest, generally takes place on the last full weekend of July, BarraFest 2010 will take place on Friday 30th and Saturday 31st of July 2010.

Barra in the Media

The 1949 Ealing Studios comedy Whisky Galore! was filmed on Barra. The film is based on the novel Whisky Galore by Sir Compton Mackenzie, who lived near the airport and is buried at Cille Bharra.[2][9]

In the sitcom Dad's Army, Private Frazer claims to be from the Isle of Barra. Frazer renowned for his "We're all doomed!" catchphrase, says his most famous story was when "a submarine was sunk in Castlebay, and seven brave men were trapped in. The water, got higher, and higher, until it got to their necks. And then...... terrible way to die!" much to the disgust of his fellow platoon. Apart from that story, Frazer speaks highly of the "lonely island."

More recently, Barra was featured in the Channel 5 program "Extraordinary people: The Boy Who Lived Before", where a young boy named Cameron, who lived in Glasgow, had memories of a past life on the island.

Barra is also regularly featured in various television programmes on the new BBC Gaelic Channel, BBC Alba.

In 2008 the Barra RNLI Life Boat, Edna Windsor was featured on a series of stamps.[10] The first class stamp shows the 17 metres (56 ft) Severn class lifeboat in action in the Sound of Berneray 20 kilometres (12 mi) south west of Barra in 3.5 metres (11 ft) swell with 30 kilometres per hour (16 kn) of wind.[11]


Barra hosts an annual half-marathon called the Barrathon.[12] The next event is planned for the 3rd July 2010; it is part of the Western Isles Half Marathon series. This is accompanied by a shorter fun-run for families, and younger children. A number of fund-raising events are held around this, including ceilidh's and Dances.

The Barra community holds an annual games on the island. In 2008, the Barra Games was held on the 20 July 2008.[13]

The island golf club, Comunn Goilf Bharraidh, has a 9-hole golf course that is claimed to be the furthest west in the United Kingdom. However, this title may in fact be held by one of the courses near Enniskillen in Northern Ireland.

Tourists can also go sea kayaking[14] or power kiting[15], and ample opportunities are available for keen anglers. Pony trekking is also an option, riding the rare, native Eriskay Ponies.

There is an annual hill race, where participants run up the highest hill, Ben Heaval and return back down to Castlebay square. The fastest recorded time was set in 1987, and is 26.25 minutes.


Uniquely in Europe, Barra's tiny airport, near Northbay, uses the beach called An Tràigh Mhòr (English: The Big Beach) as a runway. Planes can only land and take off at low tide meaning that the timetable varies. Barra's airport is the only airport in the world to have scheduled flights landing on a beach.[16] The aircraft currently in operation on Barra is the de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter, flown by Loganair on services to Glasgow and Benbecula from where connections to Stornoway are also available. There are no flights on Sundays. The beach is also a source of cockles.

Ferries to Oban, Lochboisdale and Eriskay are run by Caledonian MacBrayne.[17] Castlebay is the main port from which ferries sail to Oban on the Scottish mainland and Lochboisdale (Loch Baghasdail) in South Uist. The mainland crossing takes about 5 hours. A vehicular ferry travels between Ardmore (An Àird Mhòr) and Ceann a' Gharaidh in Eriskay (Èirisgeigh). The crossing takes around 40 minutes.

Industry & Tourism

The Hebridean Toffee Factory in Castlebay is one of the few manufacturers on Barra.[18]

The fish factory, Barratlantic, in Northbay is a major contributor to the island's economy.

A new venture, the Isle of Barra distillery producing around 25,000 litres per annum, is planned for Borve on the west side of the island.[19] When operational it will be amongst the smallest in Scotland and the second distillery in the Outer Hebrides.[20][21]

Tourism is the main income for the majority of islanders. The main tourist season lasts from May to September. Thousands of people visit the Island every year, the busiest times are during Fèis Bharraigh & BarraFest in July.

Boat trips to the neighbouring island of Mingulay are available during the Summer season, island hopping plane trips are also available.


See also


  1. ^ General Register Office for Scotland (28 Nov 2003) "Occasional Paper No 10: Statistics for Inhabited Islands" Retrieved 9 July 2007.
  2. ^ a b Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. pp. pp 218-222. ISBN 1841954543.  
  3. ^ Ordnance Survey
  4. ^ "MacNeill of Barra History". ScotClans. Retrieved 18 December 2007.  
  5. ^ "Barra". Undiscovered Scotland. Retrieved 4 November 2007.  
  6. ^ Ross, John (6 September 2003). "A gift to Scotland - the isle of Barra". The Scotsman. Retrieved 4 November 2007.  
  7. ^ "Barra, Western Isles". Time Team. Retrieved 21 January 2008.  
  8. ^ "Dualchas". Comunn Eachdraidh Bharraidh agus Bhatarsaidh. Retrieved 29 March 2008.  
  9. ^ "Whisky Galore!". Retrieved 29 March 2008.  
  10. ^ "Set of stamps honours the courage of Britain’s lifeboatmen and coastguards". London: The Times. 13 March 2008. Retrieved 26 December 2008.  
  11. ^ "Royal Mail Stamps 'Mayday - Rescue at Sea'". Retrieved 26 December 2008.  
  12. ^ "Barrathon". Retrieved 29 March 2008.  
  13. ^ "Isle of Barra Events". Barra Accommodation. Retrieved 21 March 2008.  
  14. ^ "Clearwater Paddling". Retrieved 29 March 2008.  
  15. ^ "Barra Power Kiting". Retrieved 29 March 2008.  
  16. ^ "Barra Airport". Highlands and Islands Airports Limited. Retrieved 6 April 2009.  
  17. ^ "Barra". Caledonian MacBrayne. Retrieved 15 October 2009.  
  18. ^ "Heart Hebrides Toffee". Retrieved 24 July 2008.  
  19. ^ "Isle of Barra Distillery". Retrieved 29 March 2008..  
  20. ^ "Map of Scotch Whisky Distilleries". Retrieved 6 April 2009.  
  21. ^ "Western Isles Distillery". Retrieved 21 June 2009.  

External links

Coordinates: 56°59′N 7°28′W / 56.983°N 7.467°W / 56.983; -7.467


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

The 'runway' at Barra airport
The 'runway' at Barra airport

Barra [1] is an island in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. The island has a population of 1078, and is connected by causeway to Vatersay in the south and by ferry to Eriskay (and hence South Uist) in the north. The airport is one of only two in the world where scheduled flights land on a beach runway. The main settlement is Castlebay.


Barra is a predominately Catholic island, so there are fewer restrictions on Sunday activities (shops etc) than the islands further North. There are also some wayside shrines which is unusual in Scotland.

The Tourist Information Office [2] is in Main Street, Castlebay (01871 810336) and open from Easter to October only (usually opens for evening ferry arrivals). Coming off the ferry, take the right fork in the road and head up past the shops.

Get in

By boat

Caledonian MacBrayne - Citylink coaches and trains connect with the ferries in Oban. Details as at Summer 2006:

  • Oban - daily, taking 5+ hours; this ferry lands at Castlebay.
  • Eriskay - daily, up to 5 per day, taking 40 minutes; this ferry lands at the north end of the island, and there are often (but not always) connecting buses to Castlebay.

By air

Barra Airport uses the beach as the runway, which means that flight times vary with the tide. Flights from Glasgow and Benbecula on most days (weather permitting) are operated by Loganair as a franchise of FlyeBe.

By causeway

Barra is linked by causeway to Vatersay to the South.

By bus and ferry

As part of the Western Isles Overland Route combination of bus and ferry, you can travel in under a day from Stornoway on Lewis.

Get around

Castlebay village can easily be explored on foot.

By bus

There are good bus services during the day Mon-Sat, but little in the evening and no buses on Sundays. Western Isles bus timetables

  • Kisimul Castle, Castlebay [3] - take the five minute boat trip out to this castle.
  • The airport - worth stopping by to watch a plane land on the sand.
  • The church - quite interesting, and gives good views of the bay.
  • Tangisdale Beach
  • Cycle or drive around the island.
  • On a calm day, take a boat trip (enquire locally) to one of the uninhabited islands to the south.
  • Play golf.
  • Sea canoeing [4].
  • Visit Vatersay.
  • Co-op at Castlebay is open Mon-Sat 08:30-18:00, Sun 12:30-18:00. Co-op with the highest sales per square foot in the UK, but that's because there are only 2 aisles.
  • Grocer on Main Street, Castlebay, sells newspapers.
  • Hardware store in Castlebay.


The meals in the hotels in Castlebay can be good, especially the fresh local fish and shellfish.

  • Café in Main Street, Castlebay.
  • Castlebay Hotel.
  • Craigard Hotel.
  • Dualchas Café in the Heritage Centre, Castlebay (daytime only).
  • Castlebay Hotel. Often has live music late on Saturday Nights.
  • Craigard Hotel.


Booking ahead is recommended as the island can get fully booked at popular times.

  • Dunard Hostel (Castlebay) 01871 810443 [5] is a 16 bed hostel which caters for families aswell as individuals. Book well in advance to stay in summer. A few minutes walk from the ferry.

Bed & breakfast

Some can be found on the tourist board website [6], but many are no longer listed due to the charges and "hassle".

  • Tigh-Na-Mara Guest House (Castlebay) 01871 810304

Self catering

Renting a house for a week or more is a popular option. Such places are generally let from Saturday to Saturday. Some of these can be found on the tourist board website [7].

  • Castlebay Hotel - 01871 810223 [8] is a few minutes walk from the ferry. Website also has general info on the island.
  • Craigard Hotel (Castlebay) 01871 810200 [9] is a few minutes walk from the ferry.
  • Isle of Barra Hotel - Tangasdale Beach, 01871 810383 [10] is in a nice location next the beach, about 5 miles from Castlebay.

Get out

Head north to the islands to Eriskay, South Uist, Benbecula, North Uist, Harris, Lewis, maybe taking the ferry or flight back to the mainland from Stornoway.

This article is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

BARRA, or Barray (Scand. Baraey, isle of the ocean), an island of the outer Hebrides, Inverness-shire, Scotland. Pop. (1901) 2362. It lies about 5 M. S.W. of South Uist, is 8 M. in length and from 2 to 4 m. in breadth, save at the sandy isthmus 2 m. below Scurrival Point, where it is only a few hundred yards broad. The rock formation is gneiss. The highest hill is Heaval (1260 ft.) and there are several small lochs. The chief village is Castlebay, at which the Glasgow steamer calls once a week. This place derives its name from the castle of Kishmul standing on a rock in the bay, which was once the stronghold of the M`Neills of Barra, one of the oldest of Highland clans. There are remains of ancient chapels, Danish duns and Druidical circles on the island. There is communication by ferry with South Uist. The parish comprises a number of smaller islands and islets - among them Frida, Gighay, Hellisay, Flodda to the N.E., and Vatersay, Pabbay, Mingalay (pop. 135) and Berneray to the S.E. - and contains 4000 acres of arable land and 18,00o acres of meadow and hill pasture. The cod, ling and herring fisheries are important, and the coasts abound with shell-fish, especially cockles, for which it has always been famous. On Barra Head, the highest point of Berneray, and also the most southerly point of the outer Hebrides chain, is a lighthouse 680 ft. above high water.

<< Barr

Barrackpur >>


Up to date as of January 15, 2010
(Redirected to barra article)

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also bärra






barra (plural barras)

  1. (Geordie) A hand-pushed cart of the type commonly used in markets.

Related terms




  1. Third-person singular past historic of barrer.



barra m.

  1. Alternative form of barr.
  2. nominative plural of barr



barra f. (plural barre)

  1. rod, bar
  2. helm, tiller
  3. stroke (symbol)

Derived terms



  1. Third-person singular present tense of barrare.
  2. Second-person singular imperative of barrare.



From Arabic.



  1. out


Portuguese Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia pt



barra f.

  1. bar (solid object with uniform cross-section)

This Portuguese entry was created from the translations listed at bar. It may be less reliable than other entries, and may be missing parts of speech or additional senses. Please also see barra in the Portuguese Wiktionary. This notice will be removed when the entry is checked. (more information) April 2008

Scottish Gaelic


barra m.

  1. spike
  2. sandbank
  3. Genitive of bàrr.

Derived terms



barra f. (plural barras)

barra f.

barras f.

  1. bar
  2. slash ("/" symbol)

Related terms



Conjugations of barra
Infinitive barra
Present tense barrar
Past tense barrade
Supine barrat
Imperative barra
Present participle barrande,
Past participle barrad


  1. (of a conifer, especially a Christmas tree) To drop its needles.

Related terms


Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to Alfredo Barra Lázaro article)

From Wikispecies

Alfredo Barra Lázaro (1946-) [[1]]

Técnico del Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC, Madrid, España [[2]]


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address