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The population of Islay is just over 3000 inhabitants. I've some doubt here, locals told me that is is rather 9000/10000. Is there a source for this figure? Thijs - 12-07-05

2001 census says 3457 (see the "population" link on [1]). -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 17:47, July 12, 2005 (UTC)
Note also that the census counts people who are "ordinarily" resident in a place (which, in this case, essentially means those who overwinter there). Many of the islands' populations rise in the summer months, with tourists, holiday-home owners, and those seasonally employed in connection with tourism. There's no accurate statistic for that; I'd guess maybe another thousand. This timeline gives a partial chart of the decline of Islay's population - 15,000 in 1831, 7,500 by 1881. So it hasn't been 9 or 10 thousand for a century. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 18:01, July 12, 2005 (UTC)
This posting gives more detail (showing the 1831 number is a peak) but it's unsourced and I've not (after a whole five minutes of trying) been able to find historical scottish census figures online with which to corroborate it. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 18:08, July 12, 2005 (UTC)
Haswell-Brown (The Scottish Islands ISBN 1841954543) quotes a figure of 15,772 in 1841 and lower thereafter. --JBellis 17:11, 26 March 2006 (UTC)


I'm not sure that the weather stats for Tiree belong in this article arther than on Tiree and linked. Besides doesn't Tiree ofter hold Scottish the weather record for maximum sunshine? --JBellis 17:11, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

No-one's justified these figures - which seem slightly misleading, so I plan to remove them soon. Anyone object?--JBellis 20:45, 23 November 2006 (UTC)


Does the following alteration make any sense?

Islay (pronounced in English as IPA: [ˈaɪlə], approximately "EYE-la"; in Gaelic: Ìle; pronounced IPA: [ˈiːʎə], approximately "EE-la")

Of course, some people pronounce it like "EYE-lay"... - calum 20:04, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

I don't see what's wrong (in terms of comprehension at least) with the text as it stands. It should be obvious unless otherwise stated that the first pronunciation is for the English form, which is the article title. Having "pronounced" link to IPA is fairly standard too. However, there's a discrepency between the IPA and the respelling of the Gaelic form: [ˈiːʎə] is pronounced more like "EE-lya". I previously changed the IPA from [ˈiːljə], which (I think) is a non-standard way of transcribing the same thing. So which is correct, EE-la or EE-lya? -- Blisco 23:05, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
I should learn IPA properly, I see what you mean. I'll get confirmation of the Gaelic pronunciation from a native speaker next week :) - calum 11:31, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

Technically a Scottish person wouldn't pronounce it EYE-la but more like IY-la. I'm not very familiar with the IPA but in the guide ai is said to represent the sound in buy, high, ride and write, but in the Scottish accent buy and high don't rhyme with ride and write! As far as I can see with some Googling the correct IPA representation for the sound is /əi/ (talk) 21:52, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

The Gaelic IPA is wrong, it's [iːlə], front vowels do not commonly cause palatalisation of single slender l (just trust me on that one LOL). I'll amend the IPA and add a sound file to help those with shaky IPA skilly. Akerbeltz (talk) 20:13, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Ok, Done. If you click on Ìle in the infobox now, you can hear the Gaelic name. I've also corrected both instances of the wrong lateral ʎ > l. Incidentally, the lʲ was wrong too, someone must have been transcribing from a celticist source but misinterpreted the celticist symbol l' for palatalisted l, which it is in Irish but not in Gaelic. Akerbeltz (talk) 20:31, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
The English IPA doesn't match the ogg. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 18:23, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

Kildalton Cross[edit]

In my travels to Islay I've been told that, unlike the stone from which the surrounding church (ruins) were built, that the stone for the cross itself is not native to the island, and is thought to come from Iona. I don't have any sourcing for this, so I haven't added it -- any ideas? -- BlindVenetian 09:53, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps this link will provide good info? [2] and maybe this link can also be used in the churches section on the islay page? ronsteenvoorden 13 july 2007

The plaque describing the cross is slightly ambiguous as it says: "It was carved about A.D. 800, probably by a sculptor from Iona, from the local blue stone". Does this mean from the local blue stone of Iona or the local blue stone of Islay? --Armin Grewe 23:26, 16 July 2007 (UTC)


Islay is the fifth largest Scottish island and the sixth largest island surrounding Britain[citation needed].

  • I would agree with Islay being fifth largest Scottish island according to the figures here. But it it is seventh largest island surrounding Britain - Anglesey and Ireland are larger. --jmb 22:27, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
It's stretching a point somewhat to say that Ireland is one of the islands "surrounding" Britain. How about "the sixth largest in the United Kingdom"? If pedants argue that it's the seventh largest after the British mainland, "the sixth largest offshore island of the United Kingdom" would work. Either version is more precise than what's there.--Blisco 18:25, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
The island of Ireland is one of the British Isles (though some in Southern Ireland might not like it) so it seems quite reasonable to include it as one of "the islands surrounding Britain" as it is part of Britain itself. It is not a good choice of wording, "of the British Isles" might be better though would include the British mainland. --jmb 19:51, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
That's just the kind of logic that opponents of the term "British Isles" (of which there are a disproportionate number on Wikipedia) object to – "Ireland is one of the British Isles, therefore it's somehow subsidiary to Great Britain and/or the UK". Political implications aside, it's clear from a glance at the map that the British Isles consist of two main islands, not one, each surrounded by many much smaller ones; it therefore seems rather absurd to suggest that Ireland is an offshore island of GB in the same manner as Islay or Skye. In any case, as the neutrality of the term "British Isles" is disputed, it seems sensible to stick with unquestionably neutral terms wherever possible. --Blisco 22:15, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
So which island does the Isle of Man "surround"? I was just stating a geographic fact, you could equally say that Great Britain and Ireland "surround" the Isle of Man. As I suggested the best course is quote the relative position in size of the island in the whole island group of the British Isles. --jmb 23:12, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
"Note 1" still asserts that Ireland is the largest of the islands surrounding Great Britain. Anglesey is larger than Islay. If Islay is the fifth largest scottish island, it should therefore be the seventh largest of the islands surrounding Great Britain.Eregli bob (talk) 18:32, 1 April 2012 (UTC)
Fixed. Many thanks for pointing this out, and apologies to all fans of Welsh islands. Ben MacDui 20:10, 1 April 2012 (UTC)

Famous Natives[edit]

I don't understand why Isla Fisher is listed as a famous native, when the only connection is that she is named after the island and her grandparents once lived there (for the second I haven't found any quote yet)?

That doesn't make her a native, quite possibly she has never even been on Islay. Shouldn't that line be removed? --Armin Grewe (talk) 14:06, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

It's uncited - by all means remove it. Ben MacDui 18:06, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Passage about inauguration stone: Father's stone &anointed King??[edit]

I'm a bit puzzled by this paragraph (and not familiar with Janet & Colin Bord cited as reference). I particularly would question the accuracy (and meaning) of "...he stood barefoot on the imprints on the stone and, with his father's stone in his hand, was anointed King...". What is "father's stone", and when was the Lord of the Isles anointed King? A passage concerning proclamation of the Lord of the Isles from from History of the Macdonalds, Hugh Macdonald of Sleat, Highland Papers I (1914) is quoted by Ronald Williams in The Lords of the Isles ISBN 1899863176. p. 208. It's quite similar to the passage qouted from Bord, but longer and more detailed. And in the passage from Hugh Macdonald it says : "Then he received his forefathers' sword, or some other sword..." which makes more sense than "his father's stone". Regards, Finn Rindahl (talk) 18:43, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

Relating to the above comment, I would advise taking anything by Janet and Colin Bord with a grain of salt. They are New Age writers who often "interpret" Celtic history with a mystical slant. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

I agree the present version makes little apparent sense. If you think the Williams' version justifies changing "King" to "Lord" or similar and "stone" to "sword", I would do just that. Ben MacDui 20:58, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

Well, I'm rather reluctant about making changes to a referenced text, but if noone objects here I'll probably replace it with a new text with reference to Williams. Finn Rindahl (talk) 21:22, 17 September 2009 (UTC)


Could you please double-check the definition of a "sea loch"? Loch Finlaggan is seemingly not a sea loch, but a completely land-locked body of water which drains with a stream. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Quite correct - I'll fix this asap.

Battle of Epiphany - sourced material?[edit]

Re the re-instated material: "...Loch Finlaggan in northeastern Islay, near the present-day village of Caol Ila. The origins of the Lordship date back to the defeat of the Danes off the coast of Islay in 1156 by Somerled, but Finlaggan was populated long before the arrival of the Lords."

What are the problems with this?

  • Caol Ila isn't a village it's a distillery
  • Caol Ila is near Port Askaig, but the nearest village to Loch Finlaggan is Ballygrant.
  • The "Danes" were not defeated at the Battle of Epiphany. It was the forces of Godred Olafsson, who, like Somerled, was a Norse-Gael.
  • The battle happened in the mid-12th century long before the period being addressed in the sub-section it is/was in.

The para than goes on to discuss the druids, about which there is negligible evidence, and, if the existed on Islay, would have lived more than half a millennium before this. In short it is at best misleading and arguably poorly-soured Celtic mysticism.

The Battle of Epiphany will re-appear, reliably sourced and in the appropriate section soonest. Ben MacDui 19:05, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

Hmm -- if there is no village at Caol Ila, then several web sites (such as this one, accompanied by photos) must be lying. The purpose of specifying a nearby modern-day location (not necessarily a village, not necessarily the closest one) is to give readers an idea of where the Finlaggen settlement was -- and Caol Ila is more familiar to most casual readers than anything else in the area. The idea is to make the explanation as clear as possible for readers not intimately familiar with the island's geography. DoctorJoeE talk to me! 00:55, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
What does and does not constitute a "village" has been the source of some debate at WT:SCO. It is hard to distinguish on the OS map how many are distillery buildings and how many are houses, but at a quick guess I'd say there might be five of the latter. No shop, no pub, no church. "Caol Ila" isn't even a village name in the traditional style - it just means Sound of Islay. Having said all that the role of Finlaggan in the Scottish era needs some expansion. As you may have guessed I am working my way through the article in the hope of getting it to credible GAN status. Ben MacDui 09:18, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
Caol Ila will at best be known to whisky enthusiasts (most casual whisky drinker won't know it), but almost certainly not any casual readers. It is invisible from the main road and unless you specifically go to visit it you will never really see it, unless you've seen it from the ferry, but then you've mostly seen the distillery and will also be more familiar with Port Askaig. In which case you might as well use Port Askaig, which is about the same distance to Finlaggan. Nevertheless I would always use Ballygrant to describe Finlaggan's location as it can easily be picked up on a map (much easier than Caol Ila) and any past or future visitor to Islay will have passed or will pass Ballygrant during their visit.--Armin Grewe (talk) 10:22, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
Actually there are some flats in Caol Ila, so it is a kind of village, however the idea of Ballygrant to describe Finlaggan's location is much better.Fakirbakir (talk) 20:54, 31 March 2012 (UTC)


"Gaelic continued to exist as a spoken language in the southern Hebrides throughout the Norse period, but place name evidence suggests it had a lowly status, possibly indicating an enslaved population" I think the population may have been enslaved however all of the Norsemen became subject to the process of Gaelicization. Gaelic people and language were in majority. It is a little bit harsh to state "enslaved" population, It was a kind of symbioses. Fakirbakir (talk) 18:43, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

It is not my wording but the source's. "Gaelic people and language were in majority" - interesting if true, but I'm not aware of any hard evidence for this. Jennings and Kruse write that the Norse settlers "had insignificant interaction with the previous inhabitants, either because they had fled, were killed, or had been taken into slavery abroad". Can you say more specifically what it is you would like to be clarified? Ben MacDui 20:06, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

"...But though the Kings of Man were Norwegian in name, ancestry and affiliation, their Hebridean territories ceased gradually to be Norse in speech. This happened because of the resurgence in Highlands and Islands of Celtic culture associated with those earlier arrivals in region, the Scoti or Gaels, who -despite their having been overrun militarily by men like Ketil Flatnose- had by no means vanished from the Hebridean scene."Hunter Fakirbakir (talk) 20:58, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
"There was also intermarriage and concubinage, which brought the two races together and quickly created a hybrid Celtic-Norse ethnic group possibly identifiable in the Hebrides as the Gall-Gaedhil"[3] Is it like an "enslaved population"? I think it is a biased statement. Fakirbakir (talk) 21:29, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
No-one disputes that by the 13th century the islands were predominantly Gaelic speaking again, but the process in question is one that took place in the ninth or tenth century. There are a "couple of entries" referring to Norse Gaels including Caitil Find, (who may have been = Ketil Flatnose), in the 9th century but the record is blank until the term re-appears in the 11th/12 centuries with one account referring to "Gaels fostered by Norsemen". (Woolf 2006) Given the experience of the Northern Isles and elsewhere in the Hebrides where traces of pre-Norse place names are all but absent, it isn't clear to me what your query about 8th-9th-10th century Islay is. Pictish culture was simply obliterated wherever it came into contact with the Norse, and Woolf argues elsewhere that the survival of Gaelic culture in Dalriada may have been predicated on the willingness of the Gaels to act as mercenaries for their new overlords. I suspect "quickly created a hybrid Celtic-Norse ethnic group" is rather wishful, unless "quickly" means over a period of couple of centuries or more. However this is slightly at a tangent. The current edit states "but place name evidence suggests it had a lowly status, possibly indicating an enslaved population". Written records for the period are very weak, but I have not read everything ever written about 9th century place names in the Hebrides - what other evidence do you have that would back up the suggestion that this academic work is " biased"? Ben MacDui 13:16, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm a little intrigued by the wording "enslaved population" myself, to me that would mean that the Norse kept the (remaining) Gael polulation as slaves for a longer period. I don't have literature at hand right now, but I can't recall having read descriptions of such kind of community anywhere the Norse ruled. Apart from the quote you gave MacDui about "taken into slavery abroad" (which certainly was common), how does Jennings and Kruse word this? Best regards, Finn Rindahl (talk) 17:32, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
Actually I can not believe that Norsemen from Norway or Shetlands were in majority ever in the Hebridean Isles (perhaps in the Outer Hebrideans) around the 9th century. It became a mixed population and I assume the main "people supply" came from the Mainland because of the natural closeness (and it had to be mainly Celtic (Gael women)). The population never ceased to be of Gaelic origin however they got some Norse blood. Moreover there is no evidence and not realistic to speak about "enslaved population" for centuries (8th-9th-10th century).Fakirbakir (talk) 18:41, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
As far as I know (which isn't very far, I'm afraid) we have no proper knowledge about the demographics here in the 9th century except archaeology and placenames, and they seem to indicate a period of Norse domination. I'm not saying you're wrong Fakirbakir, I'm just curious on what is the basis for your assumption of Gaelic majority in the inner Hebrides throughout the 8th-9th-10th century. Best regards. Finn Rindahl (talk) 19:10, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
The citation clearly shows the Norse minority (Isle of Man, the center of the Kingdom of the Isles): "The Vikings eventually imposed themselves as the a ruling order.....but while the Norse had an abiding influence on Manx political and legal institutions, it was the Norse who were assimilated into Gaelic culture, as a list of Kings of Man shows......the unique Norse-Celtic crosses of the Isle of Man show cleary the fusion of Gall and Gael, with a bias towards Norse male names and Gaelic female names. It is very likely that in the Norse period the ruling class in Mann was bilingual in Norse and Irish and there was an underclass which spoke only Irish....."[4] Fakirbakir (talk) 22:45, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

Yes, but this is about the late 11th century (and Man rather than Islay). We know that according to the Annales Bertiniani that the Norse were in control of the southern Hebrides in 847 "without encountering any resistance from anyone" and (as interpreted by Woolf 2007 p. 100) that the fate of the islands was more "traumatic" as evidenced by the disappearance of the Cenél nÓengusa and Cenél nGabraín in Arran/Kintryre although the Cenél Loairn & Cenél Comgaill on the mainland gave their names to Lorne, Scotland and Cowal. It is also know that in 870 Dumbarton was besieged by Amlaíb Conung and Ímar, "the two kings of the Northmen", who "returned to Dublin from Britain" the following year with numerous captives in their "two hundred ships" (Woolf (2007) p. 109) having smashed the power of the Kingdom of Strathclyde. We also know that just over 300 years later religious arguments for a separate see in the Isles included the difficulty of dealing with a Gaelic speaking population, but 300 years is a long time and written records for the intervening period are weak to say the least. This is what Jennings and Kruse say:

"The red names on the map show the extent to which names were lost in Dal Riata. The discontinuity is concentrated in the islands and suggest that the Norse impact on the Inner Hebrides must have been very disruptive. Johnston (1995) could not find any evidence for the survival of pre-Norse names on Coll and Tiree, while MacNiven's recent investigation of Islay (2006) suggests that the Norse disruption of the previous nomenclature was near total". p. 83
On page 85 they discuss the discontinuity in the Outer Hebrides and the survival of mainland Argyll pre-Norse names. They quote Lane (1983) who concluded "I can see no evidence to derive the Viking-age style [of pottery] form the Dark-age style. The difference in form and construction methods seems overwhelming" and continue "the closest connections in time and style to this new Hebridean pottery are the northern Irish Souterrain Ware assemblies in Co Antrim and Lane suggests the Norse themselves may have learned to make pottery in Ireland before settling in the Hebrides or alternatively they may have imported Irish slaves to make pots for them" and mention the Gaelic-speaking slaves in the Faroes.
"Gaelic continued to exist as a spoken language in the southern Hebrides throughout the Norse period, but place name evidence suggests it had a lowly status, possibly indicating an enslaved population" p. 86

It is also known that Iceland received Gaelic-speaking slaves, although there is no record of any being taken from the Pictish Northern Isles.
The Norse were Christainised fairly early on - perhaps in the late tenth century and it may be reasonable to assume that slavery ceased to be fashionable at that point. I honestly don't think there is much dispute about the Norse proclivity for slave-trading in the earlier period. Ben MacDui 15:43, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

In addition, here's another paper by Jennings and Kruse (which is freely viewable): From Dalriata to Gall-Gaidheil. The bottom of p139 and into p140 they go on about the predominance of Norse over Gaelic in the Isles.--Brianann MacAmhlaidh (talk) 10:57, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Many thanks. Ben MacDui 08:34, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

HMS Otranto[edit]

Unfortunately don't have the time to fix/edit it myself right now, but the information about two ships sinking at The Oa in 1918 is incorrect. It is correct (kind of) for the Tuscania, but incorrect for the Otranto. The Otranto sank in Machir Bay, where the very last remains of the wreck are occasionally still visited by divers. I'll try to get to correct it over the next few weeks unless anyone else is quicker. Armin Grewe (talk) 20:31, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

Many thanks for this, I'll fix it right away. You will be pleased to hear that when I looked on-line your own website came up as the first hit! Ben MacDui 07:42, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

"Main" centre[edit]

It is rather unusual for there two be two similar sized "largest" settlements on Scottish island, but Port Ellen would seem to be the slightly more populous - albeit that Newton's figures are from 1981. Undiscovered Scotland don't provide figures. Haswell-Smith (2004) seems to think that Bowmore is the "capital" although agrees that Port Ellen is larger. Maybe both need to be mentioned in the lead/Infobox. Ben MacDui 18:09, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

What is the definition of main settlement/centre? Is it purely based on population or do other factors also matter? While I have no factual numbers (I don't know if they even exist) my gut feeling is that Port Ellen might be slightly bigger in population. If however other factors play a role many people would probably vote for Bowmore, as it is also the main administrative centre on the island. The islands high school is based here, the hospital, the tourist information centre, the main banks (and only cash points on the island), the largest supermarket, the pharmacy, the local newspaper, if I'm not mistaken also the "council offices", all are based in Bowmore.Armin Grewe (talk) 21:52, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

I am afraid there is no definition as such and I can't think of another instance when the subject has come up for debate. It is usually just a question of identifying the largest settlement. In other words the Infobox does not really anticipate the issue. I suggest adding "Bowmore is the island's administrative capital" or similar to the lead. Ben MacDui 07:32, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
According to the mid-2008 population estimates for settlements (which seem to be the latest ones published), Bowmore: 850, Port Ellen: 810. See the table here [5]. So Bowmore is slightly larger, at least in terms of population. --Vclaw (talk) 01:15, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
Very useful indeed - I can't see any reason to keep Port Ellen as the main settlement if Bowmore is now larger and generally described as the informal capital. Also rather sad that they are both much smaller than in 1981. Ben MacDui 19:01, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
The mid-2010 population estimates now have Bowmore as 860 and Port Ellen as 850, so they are closer but there's no change. Ben MacDui 19:18, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Islay/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: MathewTownsend (talk · contribs) 15:52, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Hi, I'll review this! Looks interesting and I don't know the area. MathewTownsend (talk) 15:52, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

OK - I look forward to your comments. Hope you enjoy the article - it's a wonderful island. Ben MacDui 11:00, 15 September 2012 (UTC)



  • "are agriculture, malt whisky distilling, and tourism" - distilling isn't a noun.
I can't fault the logic, but surely they are all "activities". I have tweaked the wording as on reflection "industries are agriculture" doesn't sit well. I may be missing some important convention here, but it looks OK to me now.
  • alright. I was thinking grammatically but "distillation of alcohol drinks", "alcohol distillation" etc. may not be what you want. Is that what you meant by "distilling" or does it have another meaning?
Added a link.
The phrase is certainly used, often as a synonym for the "Dark Ages" (see e.g. Kingdom of Strathclyde), but it is slightly tricky in this context as there is some scholarly dispute over the timing of the Gaelic-speaking occupation of Islay. I changed the piped link to Early Middle Ages and tweaked the wording.
  • ok, I realize the trickiness
  • are these periods, such as "the early historic period" and "medieval" (piped to the Middle Ages), widely recognized as the names of periods for this area?
"medieval" is specifically used by the quoted source. It is a very broad term, but the period Caldwell is referring to straddles the "High" and "Late" periods and I am not aware of a single link that would specify this.
  • ok, I realize the difficulty
Re-tweaked the lede - I don't think Clan Donald traditionalists would thank-you for describing them as "Norse-Gaels" - even if this is a reasonable way to describe their origins. See Talk:Somerled for copious discussion. Ben MacDui 08:33, 21 September 2012 (UTC)
  • I got that from the Clan Donald link. What do I know? Floundering around here
  • "Islay is home to many bird species and is a popular destination throughout the year with birdwatchers, especially to see the wintering populations of Greenland White-fronted and Barnacle Goose" - could this be worded better? clumpsy.
  • be careful about "peacock" wording
A peacock would certainly be a rarity on Islay! The flocks of Barnacle Geese are described as "famous" and the island is "rightly well known for bird watching" so I don't think "popular" is going too far. Ben MacDui 12:14, 16 September 2012 (UTC)
  • the word "popular" is so banal but it's ok.


  • This section is very choppy with many short paragraphs.
  • I think it needs an introduction describing the over all geography, the many geographical features, and then go into details.
Fair comment - I tend to look at the map and think its obvious. I have added an overview description and a little more detail.
  • More description is needed.
  • for example to say just "The south-western end of Islay is a largely rocky region called The Oa." is not descriptive enough. For example, what kind of rocks are them, what are their characteristics. What is an overall description of the landscape in The Oa?
  • ditto for other areas mentioned.
The Oa's geology is now mentioned and hopefully there is sufficient on the other areas in the geology and geography sections taken together. Let me know if not. The palce's other main claim to fame was the nesting Chough's, but according to the local birding site that s no longer the case. The American monument is also mentioned lower down.

Geology and geomorphology

  • Again, there needs to be an overall introduction to the basic geology that formed the area, then go into details.
  • Surly such an interesting area must have a rich geological history.
Indeed - and I have added an overview, although I need to do some more checking on the details of this. Ben MacDui 17:38, 16 September 2012 (UTC) Still under research. 08:15, 17 September 2012 (UTC)
Now attempted. A map would be explain a lot, but none exists at present on Commons. Ben MacDui 10:52, 20 September 2012 (UTC)


  • Perhaps more description and specifics. What is the wind speed of the "winter gales". Does the climate vary depending on the area. From the map, there appears to be a large geographical variation.
The met office don't provide much in the way of detail for wind speeds, but I have added an average and an anecdotal gust figure and a sentence about sunshine hours. The climate does not vary over such a small area, although the average rainfall and wind speed increases with elevation of course. Ben MacDui 13:34, 16 September 2012 (UTC)

How does the organization of this article compare with that of Outer Hebrides, in your opinion?

The situation is a little different in the Outer Hebrides as they are a local authority area, have a very strong Gaelic culture and the transport links are more complex, which features largely account for the differences. Islay is more comparable to large single island GAs like Arran and Skye, which have similar article structures. See also WP:GOODISLE. However, there are often idiosyncracies - e.g. Flannan Isles and its mystery, or Rùm where ecology is a major focus of the modern island. Ben MacDui 11:32, 16 September 2012 (UTC)
  • ok, that link is helpful. I did look around the Scotland Project but didn't see that particular page.
  • And I do believe it's a wonderful island. I wish I lived there! MathewTownsend (talk) 13:11, 16 September 2012 (UTC)
So do I - in the spring and summer! Ben MacDui 17:38, 16 September 2012 (UTC)

(will continue)

more comments
  • some citations I don't understand e.g. Woolf, Alex (2012) Ancient Kindred? Dál Riata and the Cruthin.
An odd one - a published "unpublished" paper. There is a weblink now in place.
  • Jennings, Andrew and Kruse, Arne "One Coast-Three Peoples: Names and Ethnicity in the Scottish West during the Early Viking period" in Woolf, Alex (ed.) (2007) Scandinavian Scotland – Twenty Years After. St Andrews. St Andrews University Press. ISBN 978-0-9512573-7-1 - this was actually published in 2009, according to the isbn.
Goodness and well spotted. It is the proceedings of a 2007 conference. Fixed (here and elsewhere - missed at an FA review too).
  • not all of the citations are under the general references. it's very hard to figure out, especially as the citations aren't linked to their full references below.
The system should be - if it is a website, stand alone academic paper or pamphlet, it is quoted in full as a footnote. If it is from a book the inline ref gives the author and page number with the book appearing in the general refs. There are oddities where the book is edited but contains contributions by various authors, in which case the author, chapter name and page number is in-line plus the editor and publication date e.g. Omand (2006), Woolf (2009). I'll go through them again tonite.

Notable people

  • not all of them have citations
  • " He currently represents Orkney and Shetland in Westminster." - as of?
For some reason I didn't think this was necessary as if they have an article, it should be referenced, but I will fix asap. (Perhaps this was books being self-referenced - I have given up watching MOS pages). Ben MacDui 09:20, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
Well, I looked on some of the pages and the place of birth wasn't mentioned or wasn't cited. MathewTownsend (talk) 18:18, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
Under construction and mostly complete - I need to check Crawfurd and fix the misbehaving Stewart ref. Ben MacDui 18:39, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Gaelic - As you can see this has just been added. I have asked the editor for page numbers for Grannd - further tweaks will also be necessary. Ben MacDui 18:04, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
Done. Citation 146 is a bit of shortcut - it can be split into four if you prefer.

Otherwise the article seems very well written and interesting. But I can't get by the citation problems. Could you explain how I can figure them out? It's effort to search from the footnote to the reference section.

MathewTownsend (talk) 22:14, 18 September 2012 (UTC)


I asked Br'er Rabbit about the citation formatting issue and he said he could fathom it, so I won't be fussed. It's really quite a nice article. MathewTownsend (talk) 18:18, 19 September 2012 (UTC)

Thanks!. Ben MacDui 10:38, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

I'm trying to understand this article, and apologize for my difficulty and the fact that so many words are unfamiliar to me. Since I can't access the sources, I'm using the links to try to make the article more accessible to people like me that are not well acquainted with Islay. Hope I'm not mucking things up. Suggestions so far:

  • the lede doesn't seem to follow WP:LEAD
Could you be a bit more specific?

From WP:LEAD: "The lead should be able to stand alone as a concise overview. It should define the topic, establish context, explain why the topic is notable, and summarize the most important points—including any prominent controversies. The emphasis given to material in the lead should roughly reflect its importance to the topic, according to reliable, published sources, and the notability of the article's subject is usually established in the first few sentences. Significant information should not appear in the lead if it is not covered in the remainder of the article."

I will look at this again of course.
  • "The fractal coast'" - what is a fractal coast? is this the same as the "shattered coastline" mentioned later?
The idea is similar. I have linked to fractal, which in this context simply means an irregular geometric figure.
  • hummm. Linking to fractal ("A fractal is a mathematical set that has a fractal dimension that usually exceeds its topological dimension and may fall between the integers.") might not be all that helpful to the reader. Can't common words be used to describe a coastline rather than a mathematical term?
  • would it be clearer to use Indigenous peoples directly, rather than the pipe "autochthonous"?
Fair enough - done.
  • "the unknown location of Ard-Corann" - could you clarify - if it's unknown, why does it have a name?
It was mentioned in a document - probably the Senchus although it is not clear from the text. I have made it it "unidentified".
  • the quote "there is no evidence from the onomasticon that the inhabitants of these settlements ever existed" contains an inline link - not allowed to have links in the body of the article I don't think - should be made into a footnote.
I have used a fixed I have seen at FAC.
I understand what you are aiming to do, and I have changed it, but it seems to me this a word that is regularly used in this kind of context.
The link you have used may convey the meaning reasonably well, but if you go to Highland Clearances (not a very good article I'm afraid) you will see that many of the sources use the name "Highland Clearances" and that this is the common way of referring to this grim period of history. Ben MacDui 19:01, 21 September 2012 (UTC)

MathewTownsend (talk) 16:03, 21 September 2012 (UTC)

  • "Clearences" may be a common word to you, but it isn't to me. Are you writing this article for the general reader? Sorry that I don't know much about the history you're writing about. I spent considerable time yesterday (I'm talking hours) trying to figure out beginning of the article and the issue regarding "Clearances", a word that has no meaning to me. I read the article Highland Clearances a couple of times. If you aren't willing to make this article accessible to a well educated American, me, then I can't review it. I have spent way more time in this article than any review in recent memory - and I am just now reaching the "History" section. I'm unwilling to continue. It's too hard to understand. The reader shouldn't have to click on each link and try to figure out what relates to this article. Too many links, too much obscure information not accessible to the general reader.
Well I am sorry about that and I will continue to review the article for clarity, but this specific is a puzzling to me as it is to you. I can list more than half a dozen GAs/FLs that contain the phrase "clearances" or "Highland Clearances".
  • It's listed in a "Scotland topics" template, but I'm not from Scotland, and even though I've been there, I know little about it's history. I don't know enough to review this article.
  • I suggest that you request someone familiar with your terminology and the specific history you're writing about. MathewTownsend (talk) 23:06, 21 September 2012 (UTC)
I am happy to follow up in whatever way may be needed, but I am not sure where we stand. Are you requesting a second opinion? Ben MacDui 12:41, 22 September 2012 (UTC)
What would we be asking a second opinion over? MathewTownsend (talk) 17:24, 22 September 2012 (UTC)
I wasn't sure if you were planning to continue with the review. As I see that you are, I assume you are asking me to find someone from say Wikipedia:WikiProject Medieval Scotland to assist. I can certainly do so, although active members seem to be fewer than in their heyday.
  • Who are "Óengus: Lugaid, Connal and Galán"?
I added a note to explain that Óengus is the eponymous founder of the Cenél nÓengusa. His descendents don't seem to have articles although they may be hiding under other names.
  • "Gaelic continued to exist as a spoken language in the southern Hebrides throughout the Norse period," - when did it start being a spoken language there?
The exact dates are unknown - sometime between the arrival of Gaelic in Scotland in the 6th/7th century and the extinction of the non-Gaelic languages around 900AD. But even scholar shy away from giving precise dates for the appearance of Gaelic in specific places. Akerbeltz (talk) 00:34, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
  • "one of the Norse-Gael rulers of this thalassocracy who had a connection with Islay" - which is "this thalassocracy"?
Added "Hebridean" in attempt to clarify that this is the Kingdom of the Isles.
  • "the son of Harald the Black of Ysland, variously interpreted as Islay, Ireland or Iceland" - you don't mean that Harold the Black was variously interpreted as Islay, Ireland or Iceland, do you? Rather, where he was from, "Ysland", was variously interpreted so. Right?
Correct. Added a clarifier. Ben MacDui 11:39, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
  • "Media and the arts" seems more like "Trivia" or "Popular culture". Nothing about the arts. Are there no "arts" e.g. pottery found in ancient ruins and such. Beautiful materials woven locally? Local artists?
I believe many people would consider song-writing and feature film-making to be arts. Unfortunately there is nothing that I can think of from Islay's history to compare with the Fairy Flag or the Lewis chessmen and while there are certainly numerous present day arts and crafts outlets I doubt that any would either be considered notable in their own right or a legitimate part of an enduring local tradition, but I will take a look and see if a more general statement about this can be corroborated. The statement about Westering Home could probably be strengthened if I can find an RS. Ben MacDui 08:10, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
We could say something like "Made in Islay is a thriving arts and crafts association that represents and markets local handmade goods".<ref></ref>
  • Under "Geology and geomorphology" what does "these two zones" refer to?
Clarified. Ben MacDui 08:10, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
  • "When the estate owners realised they could make more money from sheep farming than from the indigenous small farmers, Clearances became commonplace." "Clearances" as used here seems like "clearing the land" e.g. cutting down trees etc. to make way for pastures. But really it means "the expulsion of the Gael". Is "Clearances" a general term in the English language for expelling Gael? Or is it a Scottish term only? I'm getting the picture (finally) that British land owners forcibly removed the Gaelic people. I see many "evictees" went to "Canada, the United States and elsewhere". From the Clearances article:

There was mass forced emigration to the sea coast, the Scottish Lowlands, and the North American colonies. The clearances were particularly notorious as a result of the late timing, the lack of legal protection for year-by-year tenants under Scots law, the abruptness of the change from the traditional clan system, and the brutality of many evictions.

So the British kicked the Gaelic people out? And this was done by taking away their land? Or were they "removed" forcibly, like put on boats etc. and shipped off? This episode seems to be minimized in the article. Although the way the Irish were treated by the British is well known, in America at least (perhaps because there are so many Irish in the US), few know about the British kicking the Gaelic people out. I hope I'm not talking about something here that's not supposed to be mentioned. But it explains to me why Scotland may want independence. Now I am reading the Highland Clearances again, and read Enclosure - I know about the open land system etc. from going to school in the UK as a kid, so now I'm understanding what was happening. But never heard of the "Clearances". How really terrible. MathewTownsend (talk) 13:55, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

In a Scottish Context, they're just always referred to as the "Clearances". No harm in explaining the term a bit further but since that's the accepted term, we should stick to it. Reminds me, in a way, of Manifest Destiny which doesn't really mean anything to the totally uninitiated either :) Akerbeltz (talk) 14:17, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
Akerbeltz is right in that "Clearances" is the terminology consistently used by sources. There are however two complications. First of all, it would be quite possible expand at length on the topic both in general terms and in respect of Islay, although from a meta point of view given that Clearances affected every inhabited Hebridean island (and many that are now uninhabited) and pretty much every one of the several hundred parishes in the Highlands it would be odd if we repeated some explanation of this in every such article. We don't explain the Neolithic or the Industrial Revolution every time they are mentioned. Secondly, the topic is not so much complex (although the terminology can be confusing - the displaced Gaels were just as much "British" citizens as their Anglo-Saxon oppressors, but they were often referred to as Erse or "Irish" because they spoke Gaelic) as contentious. If the wording is strengthened to emphasis the venality of the land-owning classes you can be guaranteed that their modern day apologists will turn up and start muttering about the economic inevitability of the event and how it was not in any way genocide or ethnic cleansing etc. For this reason I have probably toned the wording down. This is however not a reason to avoid stating the facts more clearly and I'll have another look at it. Scottish history as such was generally not taught in Scottish schools until very recently so you are not alone. Ben MacDui 08:10, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
Added an additional sentence. Ben MacDui 08:36, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
ok. The article is good enough though I disagree with some of your decisions.
1. Well written?: Pass Pass
2. Factually accurate?: Pass Pass
3. Broad in coverage?: Pass Pass
4. Neutral point of view?: Pass Pass
5. Article stability?: Pass Pass
6. Images?: Pass Pass
Many thanks for the review and my apologies it was so time consuming. Ben MacDui 12:05, 7 October 2012 (UTC)

Aerial photos available[edit]

Nice set by Doc Searls , all free-licensed. I've added a couple already:

Best, Pete Tillman (talk) 22:46, 25 March 2014 (UTC)