Castlebay (Scottish Gaelic: Bàgh a' Chaisteil) is the main village
and a community council area on the island of
Barra in the Outer
Hebrides, Scotland. The village is located on the south coast of the
island, and overlooks a bay in the Atlantic Ocean dominated by Kisimul
Castle, as well as nearby islands such as Vatersay.
Castlebay is also
within the parish of Barra. The village is located on the A888,
which serves as a circular road around Barra.
6 External links
Kisimul Castle is located approximately 100 yards (100 m) away
from the ferry terminal in the centre of the bay that Castlebay
overlooks. It is the home of Clan MacNeil, but is currently under a
thousand-year lease to Historic
Scotland from the MacNeil of Barra.
In the 2010
Channel 4 programme
Dom Joly and the Black Island, Joly
Michael Farr identify
Castlebay and Kisimul as the
locations of Kiltoch and the Ben More Castle used as settings in The
Adventures of Tintin comic The Black Island, although the scenes of
reaching it by boat and exploring it on foot were filmed at Lochranza
Castle on the Isle of Arran.
Castlebay is home to the majority of shops on the island. The main
street forms a square with the ferry terminal and the ring road, and
features several grocery shops, a bank, post office, and tourist
information centre. There is a larger supermarket now to the west of
the village, having opened in October 2009. There are also several
hotels in the village.
Castlebay village and the heights of Heaval, from Vatersay
The Catholic church in Castlebay, The Church of Our Lady, Star of the
Sea, was opened in 1888 on a mound overlooking the town centre. It was
designed by an architect from Oban, G. Woulfe Brenan, along with a
house further down the slope for the priest to reside in. The northern
gable of the church features a stained glass window depicting the
Crucifixion, and the southern gables depict Our Lady, Star of the Sea.
Renovation works on the church were completed in early 2007.
Castlebay Community School (Scottish Gaelic: Sgoil Bhàgh a’
Chaisteil), is located on the western side of Castlebay. It is the
only source of secondary education on Barra. Since 2007, the school
has had responsibility for the
Castlebay preschool (both the English
and the Gaelic Medium), meaning that with its Primary School
division it caters for all ages of school children. In September 2007,
the school received an HMIE report heavily criticising the
relationships amongst the secondary school's staff and management, but
complimenting them in the primary school.
South Uist to Mallaig
Baile Mòr, Iona
Port Askaig & Kennacraig
Oban to Glasgow Queen Street
The village is home to the main ferry terminal. It is known that steam
ferries were plying between
Oban in the late 1800s, but
travelling conditions were poor. In the 1980s, a roll-on-roll-off car
ferry terminal was built at Castlebay, allowing much larger ferries to
arrive on Barra. Between 1989 and 1998, the MV Lord of the Isles
travelled daily between Oban,
Lochboisdale on the island
of South Uist, sometimes stopping on the Isle of Mull. In 1998, the MV
Clansman replaced the
MV Lord of the Isles
MV Lord of the Isles on the
Lochboisdale run. From April 2016, the former Stornoway
MV Isle of Lewis
MV Isle of Lewis took over the
Barra route with a new dedicated
service, operating seven return sailings a week between
Oban, allowing Clansman to operate dedicated services from
Tiree and Colonsay. Lord of the Isles will[when?] start a new
dedicated service between
Mallaig and Lochboisdale, ending South
Uist's link with Oban.
The island's ring road, the A888, connects
Castlebay to the rest of
(Limited service, summer only)
^ "Details of Castlebay". Scottish Places. Retrieved 24 December
^ "A888". Sabre. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
^ "The Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea". Roman Catholic Diocese of
Argyll and the Isles. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
^ "Sgoil Bhàgh a’ Chaisteil" Archived 18 October 2007 at the
Castlebay Community School. Retrieved 2 March 2008.
Castlebay Community School (2008) (pdf) HM Inspectorate of
Education. Retrieved 11 September 2008.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Castlebay.
Canmore - Barra, Castlebay,
Barra Parish Church site record
Canmore - Barra, Castlebay, Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady Star of
the Sea site record
Prehistoric Western Isles
Other Neolithic Sites
Clach an Trushal
Bronze and Iron Age Sites
Dun an Sticir
Mountains and hills
History, culture and economy
Castlebay Community School
MV Loch Alainn
MV Isle of Lewis
Surrounding islands: Sound of Barra