Ayrshire Towns and Parishes

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Holy Isle 

Was called 'Eilean Molaise'  Molaise's Island after the Irish Saint who preached there about 680AD.

Its highest point is the hill Mullach Mor 1030 feet high. The island is around 3 kilometre (2 miles) long and around 1 km (around half a mile) wide.




Holy Isle from Lamlash Pier at the Monastery Island Display Board West Coast
Rock paintings Retreat Lighthouse Summit

Download a slideshow of the above images taken on a ramble around the island

The Holy Isle was called 'Eilean Molaise' after the Irish Saint who preached there about 680AD; hence the name Holy Isle. There were interesting relics found in and around the cave. Near the Saints Cave is the 'pulpit rock' or 'judgement stone' and nearby is the Saint's Well, reputed to have had great healing powers.

It was in the shelter of Holy isle that King Hakon assembled his vast fleet of galleys in 1263, prior to the Battle of Largs and later, after their defeat, the storm battered remnants of that once proud fleet took refuge before departing from these shores forever. 

It is now owned by the Samyť Ling Buddhist Community, who belong to the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. The settlements on the island include the Centre for World Peace and Health, founded by Lama Yeshe Losal, on the north of the island. This is an environmentally designed residential centre for courses and retreats which extends the former farm house. It has solar water heating and a reed-bed sewage treatment system. The approach from the ferry jetty is decorated with tibetan flags and stupas. You can visit the island by boat from Lamlash Jetty and on arrival you will be welcomed by a Buddhist monk.

On the southern end of the island lives a community of nuns who are undertaking three year retreats. The remainder of the island is treated as a nature reserve with wild Eriskay ponies, Sanaan goats, Soay sheep and the replanting of native trees.


Holy Island Reception - 01770 601100
Holy Isle Ferry - Email:
tomin10@tiscali.co.uk Tel. 01770 600998 [Day Visitors]






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