Gigha, Isle of

Bulls, cows & calves are distinct creation myth creatures in many parts of the world – and upland Britain is no exception (though Ilkley’s Cow and Calf rocks are strangely silent).  The Isle of Gigha also has its own.  On the northern side of the island we find the two rocks, one light and one dark, with tales of their own to tell.  The Scottish folklore writer, Otta Swire, told the tale:

The calves of Gigha were reputed to be rather special ones, for when the two great bulls of Ireland fought to the death, their cows, who were with calf, fled from Ireland in fear and swam and swam until they reach Gigha. Here they landed and their calves were born, one, the son of Donn-Chuailgne, being brown as his father and the other, the son of Fionn-Bheannach, being, like his father, pure white. Their mothers at first tried to keep them apart but it was useless. They met on the shore and began to fight. The tide rose but they were too busy to notice. They were drowned and became the rocks we now see.

Also on the island there was a magickal well with properties for raising the wind when a certain charm was sung – but only if you were a member of the Clan MacNeill.  In ancient days Gigha was also known as the ‘Isle of God’ – a title which is thought to owe more to pre-christian goings-on than the later saints and hermits who settled here.

  1. Airrd Thorr Innse, Tarbert – Cairn 
  2. Ardlamey, Ardminish – Cairn 
  3. Ardminish – Cairn 
  4. The Bodach and Cailleach, Ardminish – Sacred Stones 
  5. Carraigh an Tairbert, Tarbert – Standing Stone 
  6. Cladh an Righ, Tarbert – Legendary Rock 
  7. Cnoc na Carraigh, Achmore House – Standing Stone 
  8. Cnoc na Croise, Ardminish – Cairns 
  9. Druimyeonbeg – Cairn 
  10. Dun Chibhich, Druimyeonbeg – Hillfort 
  11. Dun an Trinnse, Ardaily – Hillfort 
  12. Holy Stone, Tarbert – Carved Rock 
  13. Port na Cleire, Tarbert – Cairns 
  14. St. Cathan’s Church, Ardminish – Standing Stones 
  15. Stone of Offerings, Ardaily – Legendary Rock 
  16. Tigh nan Cudainnean, Ardlamey – Cairn 
  17. Tobar Mor, Tarbert – Holy Well

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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