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History of Islay

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Islay as seen from above
Moorland in the heart of Islay

Islay is the southernmost island within the Inner Hebrides on the western side of Scotland. In the modern day, it is perhaps most well known for it’s whisky production, with the Laphroaig and Ardbeg distilleries located on the island.


Christianity within the Inner Hebrides of Scotland found its beginnings in the Dál Riata, a Gaelic Kingdom which included the Isle of Iona, the site where St Columba landed in the mid-5th century AD and established the first Celtic church. Islay in particular played a crucial role in early Gaelic Christendom, evidenced by the existence of the Kildalton Cross, dated to the 8th Century AD.

During the period of this late 12th Century and early 13th Century reconstruction, Islay was a constituent member of the Diocese of Sodor and the Isles, which fell within the Archiepiscopate of Nidaros in Norway, having been placed within its jurisdiction by Eugenius III in 1152. 

Th full text and appropriate citations can be found within the context survey section of the project report.

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