Kilnave Chapel & Cross

Islay | Gruinart | Church & carved cross | ★★

[Kilnave Chapel & Cross]

Kilnave Chapel sits at the northwest corner of the island of Islay, near the end of a narrow and potholed road along the west side of Loch Gruinart. It's worth the drive: there can't be many more splendid settings for a chapel than this, with the Paps of Jura visible in the distance across the wildfowl-rich sea loch. The chapel probably dates from the late 1300s or soon after, with its name a corruption of "kil-Naomh", or holy church. There are great views out of the jagged east window, while in the other direction the profile of the 3 metre-high Kilnave Cross fills the doorway. This has somehow survived whatever the weather's thrown at it since the 8th century, though any carvings are heavily weathered or covered in lichen. A sombre tale finishes setting the scene: in 1598, dozens of Macleans were burned alive inside the chapel by the MacDonalds during the battle of Traigh Gruinart - the result of a land dispute between the two clans.

[View of Loch Gruinart through the east window]

Location & info

📌 Kilnave Chapel and Cross ★★
Off minor road 3 mi north of Gruinart, Islay, G.R.: NR 285715 ///poetry.caressing.thrilled. Parking at the side of the churchyard, down a stony track from the "main" road.
Always open | Free

[Approach to the chapel]

[Kilnave Cross]

[Inside the chapel]

[Cross from inside the chapel]

[Chapel & Loch Gruinart]


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