An Iodhlann’s building is enjoying a fresh new look. The whole exterior has been stripped of its salt-spray, lichen growth and peeling paint, and re-painted in its traditional livery. With the addition of new signs, flags and bench, the building looks more ‘alive’ and welcoming, and we are already seeing an increase in the number of visitors. In May alone, there were almost twice as many visitors as in May 2017.
The bench is a lovely addition and is being much used. It was donated by the family of the late Mairi Campbell who was heavily involved with An Iodhlann, and whose expert knowledge of the island is very much missed. Since the above photo was taken, a memorial plaque has been attached to the bench.
After over two years of planning, fundraising and preparation, An Iodhlann’s new exhibition at the Airport is now complete and is looking great. There is a display about the history of the airport in the Arrivals lounge and one about emigration in Departures. An Iodhlann is grateful to John MacCaskill and staff at the airport for providing and preparing the spaces, and to the Tiree Trust for providing Windfall funding.
Lastest news from Keith Dash’s Isle of Tiree Genealogy website: “Recent entries by Allison McKinnon to the Overseas Cemetery Records page of the are excellent examples of what is now possible in the new version of the webpage. In particular, I draw attention to her entries for the Glen Bard Cemetery, Nova Scotia, named after Bard John MacLean of Tiree (www.keithdash.net/OCR/OCR58.pdf), the Stewartdale Cemetery, Nova Scotia (www.keithdash.net/OCR/OCR60.pdf) and the Minto Cemetery, Manitoba (www.keithdash.net/OCR/OCR56.pdf).”
Scanned copy of a Christmas card posted from RAF Tiree to Wales in 1944. It reads “From daddie with love to little Heddus [who was born only 8 weeks previously] and Mum”. The poem in Welsh translates roughly as “With hope that your Chirstmas will be full of song / To snow, or not to snow, may your world be purely white”. LAC John Roberts was stationed on Tiree in 1944-45.
The excavation of the mound at Kirkapol has been completed and the ground returned to its previous state. Many Tiree residents and visitors joined the professional archaeologists in the dig, and they made some wonderful findings. Dr John Holliday has written a short report on the excavation for An Iodhlann’s website. You can read it here.
The Heritage Lottery Fund has granted An Iodhlann £10,000 to organise the excavation of what is thought to be a Bronze Age, or even Viking, grave at Kirkapol. The excavation will be led by professional archaeologists who will be looking for assistance from local volunteers. Watch this space for more information…
You can now find the location of your ancestors’ headstones via the graveyard maps on our Tiree Graves website. The maps are in the right-hand column of the website under the heading ‘MAPS IN PDF FORM’. You can zoom in on the maps to find your ancestor’s headstone number.
Following the success of Archaeology Week in April-May this year, a group from the Association of Certificated Field Archaeologists (ACFA) are returning to the island on the 4th-8th of October. Dr Colleen Batey is also returning on the 18th-25th October to give public lectures and a school talk. Next year, our Chairman, Dr John Holliday, will be working with Dr Heather James on a community project to dig a possible Viking boat-grave at Kirkapol.
A sea mine recently discovered under gravel on the Sandaig shore, is now on display outside An Iodhlann. When a Bomb Disposal Team dug up the mine on the 3rd of August, it was found to be empty of explosive, safe and reasonably intact. We have positioned it so that its innards are visible, as well as the locations of detonation horns and the hole where a time-sensitive self-destruct mechanism was installed. Hundreds of pebbles and shells are fused onto its surface. Tens of thousands of similar mines were laid around the Hebrides and the North Sea during the first and second world wars.
Catriona Smyth has completed her monumental survey of the Soroby and Kirkapol graveyards, producing a database of transcribed inscriptions (where legible) and photographs of all the stones, translations of any Gaelic inscriptions and cemetery maps showing the locations of all stones. This is all now available online via An Iodhlann’s website or by visiting www.tireegraves.org.uk.