A Momentous Event in Lismore’s History

22 May 2006 


Nobody could quite believe it as the Glensanda barge – the Rose of Lorne – edged into the pier at Achnacroish and began discharging a cargo of building material and heavy machinery which will start the foundations of the Lismore Gaelic Heritage Museum. Sadly many of those who had given birth to this dream were at a wedding in Tiree, but Project Manager Tony Perkins and Museum Development Officer Cait McCullough witnessed what Tony called “a momentous event in Lismore’s history”.


It was in 1994 that Beathag Morrison from the Comunn na Gaidhlig in Oban visited Lismore Primary school and, having time before the ferry, was introduced to Margaret MacDonald and through her many of the island’s other Gaelic speakers. Beathag suggested Lismore would be a great place for a Comann Eachdraidh (Historical Society) and 2 weeks later they all met and started the whole process with the help of David MacCrossan from Comunn na Gaidhlig Glasgow, whose parents live on Lismore. Those founders were Donald Black, Duncan Livingstone, John Livingstone, Margaret MacDonald, Archie MacColl, Cathy MacCormick, Jimmy MacCormick, and Duncan MacGregor and together they began the huge task of collecting and documenting the stories and objects that are the day to day treasures of an historically rich island.  

Then came the world wide fund raising for the reconstructed late 19th century cottar's house on land donated by the MacGregor family. In 2001 Tony Perkins was appointed Project Officer and Taigh Iseabal was opened in August 2002; the following year it won 2 tourism awards, the Best Place to visit and the Overall winner of the UKFX Tourism Awards. Today the Comann Eachdraidh Lios Mòr has a world wide membership, funding from The Heritage Lottery Fund, the Scottish Executive, the European Community, Argyll and the Islands Enterprise, Argyll and Bute and a huge number of small investors of both time and money. In 2005 Cait McCullough was appointed the Museum Development Officer for a project which will serve visitors and residents in equal measure.

For a small hard working group who had never done anything like this before on an island of less than 180 this is an enormous achievement.  Duncan MacGregor said: “donating the land was a great opportunity to give something back to Lismore and to remember my forebears who had occupied it since the 1800s. It was also time to gather the archive together as 20 years on so much would have been lost”. “Many generations will benefit from our hard work,” they all agreed.


The unloading story:


At this stage

the waterlogged island  (it's been raining as long as anyone can remember) refused to let the tractor go any further on this route, and the Rose of Lorn moved to the old pier and began unloading the building materials using the big digger crane....

.....he didn't give up easily


.....as Robert Carmichael berths the Rose of Lorne.. help arrives...




Robert Carmichael and Tony Perkins in talks... The old pier has seen better days


Five Days later: original members of the Comann Eachdriadh visit the site for the first. Unfortunately Archie MacColl, Donald Black and John Livingstone were unavailable


....with Project Manager Tony Perkins and builder Stuart Carmichael (the archaeologist checking for any ancient remains is in the background).

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