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 isle 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.

Airrd Thorr Innse, Tarbert – Cairn

Ardlamey, Ardminish – Cairn

Ardminish – Cairn

The Bodach and Cailleach, Ardminish – Sacred Stones

Carraigh an Tairbert, Tarbert – Standing Stone

Cladh an Righ, Tarbert – Legendary Rock

Cnoc na Carraigh, Achmore House – Standing Stone

Cnoc na Croise, Ardminish – Cairns

Druimyeonbeg – Cairn

Dun Chibhich, Druimyeonbeg – Hillfort

Dun an Trinnse, Ardaily – Hillfort

Holy Stone, Tarbert – Carved Rock

Port na Cleire, Tarbert – Cairns

St. Cathan’s Church, Ardminish – Standing Stones

Stone of Offerings, Ardaily – Legendary Rock

Tigh nan Cudainnean, Ardlamey – Cairn

Tobar Mor, Tarbert – Holy Well

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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