Tuesday, December 9, 2014

St Kenneth's Chapel - Mull

Since it is very much off the beaten path, I do not think that St Kenneth's Chapel, also known as Caibel Mheamhair (the Chapel of Remembrance), at Laggan on Mull sees many visitors. But it should be seen, for it lies in a beautiful spot just above Loch Buie. Portions of the building date to between the 12th and 15th centuries, and in 1864 it was converted into a mausoleum for the Maclaines of Loch Buie. 

Chapel of St Kenneth - Laggan
I wanted to see the chapel due to its association with St Kenneth; the same saint who established a monastery on the island of Inchkenneth, twelve miles to the northwest. So when the opportunity arose to go ashore at Lochbuie during a Hebridean cruise, I made a two mile round-trip walk to the chapel. The chapel/mausoleum is in very good shape, having been extensively refurbished in 1972. Interred here are several Maclaine chiefs; most commemorated with simple memorials; although the memorial for Murdoch Maclain (The 21st chief:1791-1844) is quite extensive. 

Memorial to Murdoch Maclaine (21st Chief)
A good source for stories about the Macleans and Maclaines of Mull is Thomas Hannan's The Beautiful Island of Mull (1926). In it I learned about another Murdoch Maclaine, the 22nd chief (see last photo). When he died in 1909, a steamer full of dignitaries set out from Oban to attend the funeral but, as Hannan describes below, they did not make it:

Murdoch Gillian Maclaine, who served in the Carabineers, and some experience of the Franco-German War in 1870-1871 as correspondent of The Times with the German Army. He did a great deal to develop his estate by turning it into a fine sporting estate... His funeral was a thoroughly Highland ceremony, carried out in one of those intense sea-fogs which occasionally shroud the island. A steamer had set out from Oban with a great company of Chiefs and others from the mainland, but it was not able to enter the loch (Lochbuie). Those on board were able to hear the wailing of the pipes as they played the lament, but the steamer had to return without its passengers taking part in the funeral service.

It must of been quite eerie, hearing the pipes echo across the sea from a fog shrouded chapel on a remote headland of Mull. For more info on St Kenneth's Chapel see this RCHAMS Link.

Memorial to Murdoch Maclaine (22nd Chief)

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