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Painting No. 115
Eilean nan Ron - Island of the Seals: 700 acres of heather and rock poised atop 200 ft high cliffs, one mile offshore from Skerray and Tongue. Inhabited since the late 1700s, this small island group supported over 70 people in 1900 - fishing & farming in a hardy, close-knit community. Sadly, as herring stocks declined and World War I took its toll, the population fell and the island life was no longer sustainable. The last 4 families (12 people in all) departed in 1938 in a storm on December 6th. Nearby Eilean Neave (Island of the Saints) was the earliest Christian site in the area, probably settled by Cormaic (colleague of St. Columba) in the 1400s. Local people used to gather on the hill above Skerray opposite the island to hear the preaching across the water every Sunday. Sadly, the small monastery was ransacked by Vikings and the island is now only occasionally used for grazing sheep or cattle.
Original painting commissioned by Neil Dykes in memory of his grandmother, Chrissie Dolina Mackay, one of the last inhabitants of Eilean nan Ron.