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Dreaming of the Hebrides
In the course of my family research, I've gone back many generations in some of my lines.
I've discovered interesting things and very interesting ancestors.  But the most surprising
thing to me is that, so far in my research, even down to the latest generations, both my
paternal and maternal family lines have almost all (with only one exception that I've managed
to find up til now) originated in the British Isles:  England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Because of my family ties to the countries of the British Isles, there's a special place in my

heart for these homelands of my ancestors.  But I have to confess to a heart's yearning
for one place in particular.
My Carmichael and McCormick ancestors came to America in the 1700's, from the small
island of Lismore, in the Inner Hebrides, just off mainland Scotland.  Ever since I learned
about Lismore, I've been smitten.  And, truly, not just with the one island, but all of the
western islands that form the Hebrides archipelago.  Their history is fascinating and their
scenery breathtaking.  But, beyond that, though I've never been there, they pull at
the strings of my heart, like a place I might have once known and loved.
An e-friend wrote:  "Have you ever longed to go home to a place that you have
never been?  A place that, should you ever visit, you know would feel like
home?  For me, it's the Hebrides."
And for me, as well.
-- Nancy
The photos on this page were taken in the Inner and Outer Hebrides.  Where
known, the specific locations are noted.  The picture at the top of the page
is from Benbecula; the one directly above, from St. Kilda.

The title of the page was suggested by an excerpt from the
Canadian Boat Song:

Fair these broad meads, these woods are grand,
But we are exiles from our fathers' land.
From the lone shieling of the misty island,
Mountains divide us, and the waste of seas,
Yet still the blood is strong, the heart is Highland,
And we, in dreams, behold the Hebrides.
-- Authorship Uncertain
Isle of Lewis
Above, the island of Benbecula - also known as "The Dark Island."  There
are two songs with this title about Benbecula, one of which is playing in the
background.  The lyrics to the more recent song are below and the lyrics
to the other, much older tune, can be found further down on the page.
Away to the west's where I'm longing to be,
Where the beauties of Heaven unfold by the sea,
Where the sweet purple heather blooms fragrant and free,
On a hilltop high above the Dark Island.

Oh, isle of my childhood, I'm dreaming of thee,
As the steamer leaves Oban and passes Tiree,
Soon I'll capture the magic that lingers for me,
When I'm back once more upon the Dark Island.

So gentle the sea breeze that ripples the bay,
Where the stream joins the ocean and young children play;
On the strand of pure silver, I'll welcome each day,
And I'll roam forever more the Dark Island.

True gem of the Hebrides, bathed in the light
Of the midsummer dawning that follows the night,
How I yearn for the cries of the seagulls in flight.
As they circle high above the Dark Island.

-- David Silver
Isle of Lewis
Isle of Skye
The rose of all the world is not for me.
I want, for my part,
Only the little white rose of the Highlands
That smells sharp and sweet...and breaks the heart.
-- Hugh MacDiarmid
Isle of Mull
St. Kilda
Isle of Skye
In the years long gone by, when I first left my home,
I was young and I wanted the wide world to roam.
But now, I am older and wiser, you see,
And that lovely dark island is calling to me
Though I've wandered away from the land of my birth
And been roaming around to the ends of the earth,
Still my heart is at home in that land far away,
On that lovely dark island where memories stray.
One day I'll return to the far distant shore
And from that dear island I'll wander no more.
'Till the day that I die, I will no longer roam,
That lovely dark island will be my last home.
-- Stewart Ross
A light exists in the Hebrides unlike any other save the golden light
of Heaven itself.  The photographer can capture and make his own,
sights unseen by the rest of the a jewel thief secreting
his cache away in the night.  
-- Robert McSwain
Isle of Mull
Isle of Mull
Isle of Lismore lighthouse
Isle of Lismore