The Centre

When this innovative, eco friendly building at Aonad Naomh Moluag (the gathering place of St Moluag) was opened on 17 March 2007 it once more put the Gaelic language and culture at the heart of Lismore. After 13 years of hard work, members of the Comann Eachdraidh Lios Mor broke the silence that had been imposed on the island’s culture when English became the language of advancement and the Gaelic language and culture were encouraged to die. The first turf was turned by Duncan MacGregor on 15 February 2006 his parents having donated the land. The building was designed by Shauna Cameron and built by Stuart Carmichael with Tony Perkins the local Nadair Project Officer. It has a grass roof and geo thermal heating and houses an Exhibition Area, a Library, an Archive room, a Gift Shop, a Café, an office, and toilets. For a population of 176 to handle a £600,000 project is a tribute to the skill, determination and cohesiveness of the whole community.

Sitting beside it at Aonad Naomh Moluag is the award winning Taigh Iseabal Dhaidh a faithfully reconstructed cottar’s cottage which opened four years’ earlier on 19 August 2002 and in its first year won the Best Place to Visit in Scotland Award and was also the Overall Winner of the UKFX Tourism Awards 2003.

Donald Black, Margaret MacDonald, two founders of the Society, and Nadair Coordinator Tony Perkins received the award on behalf of the Society at a ceremony at Duck Bay Marina, Loch Lomond in early December 2003. At this point the Comann Eachdraidh Archive, which was being painstakingly put together, was housed 2 miles away in the old school house at Achnacroich. The cottage is a typical ‘cottar’s house’ of the late 19th century which has been faithfully rebuilt to look at the island’s past and to show the traditional skills which many islanders still have. The cottage walls were built by Jim MacCormick with help from his Uncle James MacCormick and Peter MacDougall, all from Lismore. The roof beams were erected by Simon Bevan from Ardfern in Argyll, and thatched by Jeremy Cox from Castle Douglas, Dumfrieshire. Some of the reeds used came from Balnagowan Loch on Lismore, with the remainder coming from Perthshire.