The castle of Kishmul or Kisimul stands on a little island-rock in Castle Bay in the island of Barra. A thousand years ago the castle possessed a war galley similar to the Norse design and carried a crew of sixty-four. It was used to defend the castle and to attack and plunder the other island of the Hebrides. It even sailed out to the Mailand of Scotland and down to Ireland. The words are from Mrs MacLean of Barra and the air was taken down from the singing of Mary Macdonald of Mingulay.
Mrs MacLean of Barra
High from the Ben a Hayich,
On a day of days
Seaward I gazed,
Watching Kishmul's galley sailing.
Homeward she bravely battles,
'Gainst the hurtling waves,
Nor hoop nor yards,
Anchor, cable nor tackle has she.
Now at last, 'gainst wind and tide,
They've brought her to
Neath Kishmul's walls,
Kishmul Castle, our ancient glory.
Here's red wine and feast for heros
And harping too,
Sweet harping too.
TOP OF PAGE