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Thread: Islay

  1. #1

    Islay

    From the whisky threads that appear on here from time to time the fondness many of us have for Islays famous export is clear.

    Having visited the island a few times I'm always amazed at how one of the most remarkable stories of WWI is little known beyond the shores of Islay, those of you who have been will know the tale but it really deserves a wider audience and thankfully on the 100th anniversary it's getting it. BBC Alba and 2 have both shown excellent documentaries this week and I've included both the BBC and Smithsonian takes below:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-43948079

    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/hundred-year-old-handmade-american-flag-flies-home-scotland-180968008/

    Every time I go to Islay I make a point of visiting the monument, it's a stunning setting and it must have been a huge effort to build such a tribute. The military cemetry at Kilchoman where many of the British crew of the 2 ships lost are buried is also a beautiful and poignant setting.

    The idea that a small island with one Policeman and many of it's own men at war in France cpuld stage a huge search and rescue operation, care for the survivors and treat the dead with dignity never ceases to amaze me.

    It really is a remarkable story.


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  3. #2
    Coaching Staff hibsbollah's Avatar
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    It is indeed. We didn't know about the monument, we were walking across the Oa looking for golden eagles, there are usually breeding pairs nesting on the cliffs, and we just stumbled across it and read the plaque. It really is a beautiful spot.

    I wonder what it is about Islay and hibs.net? Another clique to complain about

  4. #3
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    The first time we were at Oa the fog was so thick we almost didn't see the monument until we literally stumbled on it.
    Seeing it from above on the TV tonight, I was amazed at how close we were to the edge of the cliff!

  5. #4
    @hibs.net private member Hibbyradge's Avatar
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    Good post, PB, and you're right, it's a story that needs telling.

    I've only been to Islay once, but when we went to see the monument, the weather was stunning and we were completely on our own. Quite blissful.
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  6. #5
    @hibs.net private member lord bunberry's Avatar
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    I must admit until tonight when I watched the programme on tv I had never heard of this story. Funnily enough when my daughter was born I was determined she would have a Scottish name and I picked Isla. Weíre planning to go there in October this year, this thread has just made that trip more interesting for me.

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  7. #6
    Coaching Staff One Day Soon's Avatar
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    That's a remarkable story and I'd never heard of it before. It reminded me of the tragedy of the Iolaire off Lewis in 1919.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMY_Iolaire

  8. #7
    @hibs.net private member Hibbyradge's Avatar
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    Orkney's Scapa Flow has a terrible history of naval disasters.

    HMS Vanguard blew apart in 1917 at the cost of 840+ lives.

    In 1938 HMS Oak was attacked and sunk by a German U boat with a similar casualty count.

    The latter triggered the building of defences ordered by Winston Churchill, known as the Churchill Barriers. They took years to build and much of the labour was provided by Italian prisoners of war who had been captured in Africa. (Imagine how they felt. Captured, but nice and warm one day... 😂)

    The Italian Chapel, built by this POWs entirely from leftover and specially adapted materials, still stands. It's amazing and well worth a visit. It's amazing what faith can inspire.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Chapel
    Last edited by Hibbyradge; 02-05-2018 at 10:00 AM.

  9. #8
    Testimonial Due ACLeith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hibbyradge View Post
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    The Italian Chapel, built by this POWs entirely from leftover and specially adapted materials, still stands. It's amazing and well worth a visit. It's amazing what faith can inspire.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Chapel
    I have visited the Italian Chapel many times, it is simply the most inspiring and awesome place I have ever seen. The main artist, Domenico Chiocchetti, should, I feel, be compared in the 20th century to famous Italians like Leonardo da Vinci and Michaelangelo, such is the genius of his artistry. On the 70th anniversary of its opening, the Pope sent a message that included this comment "that this chapel, built in time of war, may continue to be a sign of peace and reconciliationĒ.

    That's exactly what it is, if you're ever in Orkney, make time for a visit.

  10. #9
    @hibs.net private member Hibbyradge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ACLeith View Post
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    I have visited the Italian Chapel many times, it is simply the most inspiring and awesome place I have ever seen. The main artist, Domenico Chiocchetti, should, I feel, be compared in the 20th century to famous Italians like Leonardo da Vinci and Michaelangelo, such is the genius of his artistry. On the 70th anniversary of its opening, the Pope sent a message that included this comment "that this chapel, built in time of war, may continue to be a sign of peace and reconciliationĒ.

    That's exactly what it is, if you're ever in Orkney, make time for a visit.
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  11. #10
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    A beautiful clear sunny day on Islay today. A morning drive around the Oa topped off with a walk to the American monument. Today we were rewarded with some of the best views you could possibly enjoy from up there.
    The afternoon was spent revelling in the med style sunshine on Kilnaughton beach. A simply stunning day, you just canít beat this island on a good summer day.
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  12. #11
    @hibs.net private member Rattler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marinello59 View Post
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    A beautiful clear sunny day on Islay today. A morning drive around the Oa topped off with a walk to the American monument. Today we were rewarded with some of the best views you could possibly enjoy from up there.
    The afternoon was spent revelling in the med style sunshine on Kilnaughton beach. A simply stunning day, you just canít beat this island on a good summer day.
    We were over for a few days at the end of April, staying at the storm pods near Lagavulin. The weather was fantastic the whole time we were there. Took the bikes and itís great just to get out and admire the scenery, along with the relaxing peace and tranquility of the island. The whisky helped somewhat too 😋

  13. #12
    @hibs.net private member ano hibby's Avatar
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    We are on Islay at the moment on holiday.
    Went to Mull of Oa yesterday & the war memorial. It is quite a memorial in a stunning part of the world. We were the only people there for about an hour which was perfect.
    As highlighted PB itís quite a story, thanks to you and others for flagging it, really glad we made the trip.
    First time on the island, staying In Portnahaven, a lovely wee place. Did Lagavulin tour yesterday & visited Ardbeg & Bowmore.
    Beach today to sit still after a busy couple days driving round.
    Whole island has a lovely laid back tranquil feel to it.
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  14. #13
    Went there last year with my wife. Lovely place! I love the Whisky (and visited multiple distilleries) but it is a nice sized island to travel around and very tranquil. Had a lovely wander around the beaches near Portnahaven we were the only ones for miles and followed inquisitive seals! Walking around the Mull of Oa was special, could see out all the way to Mull of Kintyre and Northern Ireland! I'd definitely go back.

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