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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lismore is located in Scotland
Lismore shown within Scotland
OS grid reference NM840408
Gaelic name About this sound Lios Mòr
Meaning of name 'great garden' or 'great enclosure'
Area and summit
Area 2,351 hectares (9.1 sq mi)
Area rank 33
Highest elevation Barr Mòr 127 metres (417 ft)
Population (2001) 146
Population rank 36 out of 97
Main settlement Achnacroish
Island group Mull
Local Authority Argyll and Bute
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.

Lismore (Scottish Gaelic: Lios Mòr, pronounced [ʎis̪ moːɾ]) is a partially Gaelic speaking island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. This 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 Linnhe, north east of Mull, in Argyll and Bute Council Area. Composed almost entirely of Dalradian limestone,[4] it has fertile soil and an abundance of trees and shrubs.[5]

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

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


Lismore, like other Hebridean islands, 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.[6] 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.[7]

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.[4]

Lime was quarried, particularly on the west coast.[5]


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 Argyll 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 cathedral 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.

Coeffin Castle in 1995.
Achanduin Castle on Lismore as seen from Bernera Bay.

Other attractions

Other major antiquities on Lismore include an impressive broch and two ruinous 13th century castles, Coeffin Castle and Achanduin Castle, 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.[4]

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).



  1. ^ 2001 UK Census per List of islands of Scotland
  2. ^ Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. ISBN 1841954543.  
  3. ^ Ordnance Survey
  4. ^ a b c "Isle of Lismore: History". Isle of Lismore Community Website. Retrieved 2008-11-01.  
  5. ^ a b "Overview of Lismore". Gazetteer for Scotland. Retrieved 2008-11-01.  
  6. ^ "Isle of Lismore". Tom Paterson Genealogy. Retrieved 2007-08-17.  
  7. ^ "Scotland's Island Populations". Scottish Islands Federation. Retrieved 2008-11-01.  
  • This article incorporates text from "Dwelly's [Scottish] Gaelic Dictionary" (1911).

External links

Coordinates: 56°31′N 5°30′W / 56.517°N 5.5°W / 56.517; -5.5

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

LISMORE, an island in the entrance to Loch Linnhe, Argyllshire, Scotland, 5 m. N.W. of Oban. Pop. (Igoi) 500. It lies S.W. and N.E., is 92 m. long and 14 m. broad, and has an area of 9600 acres. It divides the lower end of the loch into two channels, the Lynn of Morvern on the W. and the Lynn of Lorne on the E. The name is derived from the Gaelic lios mor, " great garden." Several ruined castles stand on the coast, and the highest point of the island is 500 ft. above the sea. The inhabitants raise potatoes, oats, cattle and horses, and these, with dairy produce, form the bulk of the trade. Steamers call at Auchnacrosan. A Columban monastery was founded in Lismore by St Moluag about 592. About 1200 the see of Argyll was separated from Dunkeld by Bishop John, "the Englishman," and Lismore soon afterwards became the seat of the bishop of Argyll, sometimes called "Episcopus Lismoriensis," quite distinct from the bishop of the Isles (Sudreys and Isle of Man), called "Episcopus Sodoriensis" or "Insularum," whose see was divided in the 14th century into the English bishopric of Sodor and Man and the Scottish bishopric of the Isles. The Rev. John Macaulay (d. 1789), grandfather of Lord Macaulay, the historian, and the Rev. Donald M ` Nicol (1735-1802), who took up the defence of the Highlands against Dr Johnson, were ministers of Lismore.

For the Book of the Dean of Lismore see CELT: Scottish Gaelic Literature.

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