Saturday, January 2, 2016

Inchkenneth House

I have only been to Inchkenneth once (see book 1, chapter 12 for the story of that visit.) One thing I was not able to see while I was on the island was the interior of Inchkenneth House. It was built a hundred years ago, and in the 1930s was owned by Harold Boulton, know for writing the lyrics to The Skye Boat Song. As you can see in the first photo, which was taken in the 20s, the house was originally three-storeys high. Boulton had another floor added in the 30s, which drastically changed the look of the building.

Inchkenneth House in the 1920s - from Thomas Hannan's Iona and Some Satellites (1928) 
Inchkenneth House - 2003

Harold Boulton died in 1935, and the island was bought by the Mitfords. They held on to it for about 30 years; selling in the 1960s to Dr Andrew Barlow. It was Dr. Barlow that I wrote to in 2003 asking if I could visit the island. He responded with a gracious letter giving me the contact details of the caretaker who could take me to the island.

The highlight of visiting the island was to see the chapel ruin. But I was disappointed not to get a look inside the house. On our way to the island the caretaker said it might be possible to go inside, but he changed his mind at some point while I was off exploring the island. (Either he thought I had spent too much time wandering around or, more likely, I looked like a suspicious character).

I hope to return to Inchkenneth someday to see inside the house. If you're interested you can get a few glimpses of its interior in a video made in 2010 about the Mitford's experiences on the island called If these Walls Could Speak.

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