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Scottish Gaelic: Bogh Mòr [1]
Bowmore main street
Bowmore is located in Argyll and Bute
 Bowmore shown within Argyll and Bute
Population 862 [2] (2001 census)
est. 860[3] (2006)
OS grid reference NR310598
Civil parish Killarow and Kilmeny
Council area Argyll and Bute
Lieutenancy area Argyll and Bute
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district PA43
Dialling code 01496
Police Scottish
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Argyll and Bute
Scottish Parliament Argyll and Bute
List of places

Coordinates: 55°45′25″N 6°17′13″W / 55.757°N 6.287°W / 55.757; -6.287

Bowmore (Scottish Gaelic: Bogh Mòr, 'great sea reef') is a village on the Scottish island of Islay and serves as administrative capital of the island. It gives its name to the famous Bowmore Distillery producing Bowmore Single Malt, a single malt scotch whisky.


Bowmore Round Church

Bowmore is a planned village with wide streets on a grid-iron pattern. Daniel Campbell the Younger initiated the construction of the village in 1770, just after the completion of the Kilarrow Parish Church, which was built in a circular shape to prevent the devil from hiding in a corner.

The Bowmore Distillery came in operation at some time before 1816 and is situated on the shores of Loch Indaal and next to an old warehouse which is converted to a swimming pool, known locally as the MacTaggart Centre. The waste heat from the distillery is partially used to heat the water of the swimming pool.

Bowmore in WWII[edit]

There was a RAF seaplane base at Bowmore during WWII. Short Sunderland and PBY Catalina flying boats operated from Loch Indaal. Some of the wartime film Coastal Command was filmed in Bowmore and it features a shot of a Sunderland flying low over the main street of Bowmore and over Kilarrow Parish Church.


Bowmore has several hotels, restaurants, shops, a hospital, a high school and is home to the Ìleach newspaper, community newspaper of the year 2006. Bowmore is also host to Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle (the Columba Centre), a cultural centre and college founded with the aim of promoting Gaelic language and heritage on the Island.

Famous people[edit]

The Rev Donald Caskie, famous as the "Tartan Pimpernel" for his wartime exploits in France, is one of Bowmore's most famous sons. He was responsible for the safe passage of numerous exiles through the Scots Kirk in Paris during WWII, risking both life and limb. In more recent times, Glenn Campbell can be seen regularly on BBC Scotland as their political correspondent.



  1. ^ "Gaelic Place-Names of Scotland database". Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba. Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
  2. ^ "Comparative Population Profile: Bowmore Locality". Scotland's Census Results Online. 29 April 2001. Retrieved 31 August 2008. 
  3. ^ "Table 1: Mid-2006 Population Estimates - Settlements in alphabetical order". General Register Office for Scotland. Archived from the original on 6 December 2008. Retrieved 1 September 2008. 

External links[edit]