The Cottage – Taigh Iseabal Dhaibh

Taigh Iseabal Dhaibh with flax July 07

This typical ‘cottar’s house’ – late 19th century – celebrated its ‘rebirth’ on the 19th August 2002. Faithfully rebuilt, it is a look at our island’s past and an illustration of  traditional island skills. 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.

In its first year it  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.


The main room of the cottage had a peat fire on which the cooking would have been done.  The walls were lime-washed and the floor of stone or beaten earth. A home-made rag rug provided some warmth. The simple chairs were probably made locally or brought to the island by the  “puffers” which  plied up and down the west coast from the mid- 19th century onwards.

The  beautiful wooden cradle was found  several years ago during a house clearance on the island. It dates to the middle of the 19th century. Visiting children are welcome to  lift out baby “Isobel’ and see how she was dressed  and made cosy in her bed in front of the fire.The dresser on the  right of the picture was  the 19th century equivalent of a   spinning wheel“fitted kitchen”  of today. It contained the family cutlery , crockery and all sorts of other  necessities of  19th century life for a relatively poor family.

The spinning wheel was used for flax but it could also  be used for wool. It has two spindles which would enable a very skilled worker to double her output by controlling the twist to both at the same time. It was donated to the museum by  Mr Geoff Fairbairn who also  restored it to working order.  It is regularly used for demonstrations but is stored  for the winter in a warm damp-free environment where this photograph was taken.

The following are a record of the opening on 19 August 2002 and the building in progress.