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Music:  Bonnie Banks O' Loch Lomond

Whispers - Home
Old New Orleans
Nancy's Journal
The Magic that Lingers
The photos on this page are all from Scotland and the idea for the title came from a Scottish
ballad, "The Dark Island."  You'll find the lyrics further down on the page.

Have you ever felt homesick for a place you've never been?  That's how I feel about the
Scottish Highlands, in general, and the Isle of Lismore, in particular.  The small island,
situated on Loch Linnhe, in the Inner Hebrides, was home to my Carmichael and McCormick
ancestors, who immigrated to America in the 1700's.  I've never been there, but every time I
look at pictures of this beautiful island, I feel as if I want to go back again.

I can't explain the feeling, but I can share some photos of Scotland with you.  Most of the
photos on this page are from the Highlands and Islands region.  Specific places are identified
when known.

Robert Louis Stevenson said, "That is the mark of the Scots, that they remember and cherish
the memory of their forebears; and there burns alive in them a sense of identity, even to the
twentieth generation."

Maybe that's the reason I'm homesick for a place I've never been.

-- Nancy
Isle of Lismore, Inner Hebrides
Eilean Donan castle, Western Highlands
Isle of Skye, Inner Hebrides
Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides
Isle of Lismore lighthouse
Isle of Iona, Inner Hebrides
Isle of Skye
Portree, Isle of Skye
West Highland Terrier
The Dark Island

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 ever 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 above the Dark Island

-- The words of this version are by David Silver; the tune
was first copyrighted by Ian MacLaughlan
Plockton, West Coast, Highlands
Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness, Highlands
West Coast, Highlands
Oban, Argyll
The Thistle - Floral Emblem of Scotland
According to legend, an invading Norse army was attempting to sneak up on a
Scottish army's encampment, when one barefoot Norseman stepped on a thistle,
causing him to cry out in pain and alerting Scots to the presence of the invaders.  
Some suggest that this occurred at the Battle of Largs in 1263.  It was at about this
time that the thistle started appearing on banners and battle flags.
Isle of Lismore
A light exists in the Hebrides unlike any other save the golden
light of Heaven itself.
-- Robert McSwain
Thistle, thistle, tell me life;
Across the glen I see your pride.
Under the rocks shimmer the footprints of the past,
Where Highland men held their honour, sword iron cast.
Thistle, thistle green and purple,
Each seed is hidden in our hearts -
Ready to flourish high and fast.

-- Nat Hall
Far frae my hame I wander, but still my thoughts return,
To my ain folk ower yonder, in the sheiling by the burn.
I see the cozy ingle, and the mist abune the brae;
And joy and sadness mingle, as I list some auld-world lay.
And it's oh! but I'm longin' for my ain folk,
Tho' they be but lowly, puir and plain folk;
I am far beyond the sea, but my heart will ever be,
At home in dear auld Scotland, wi' my ain folk.

O' their absent ane they're telling, the auld folk by the fire;
And I mark the swift tears welling, as the ruddy flame leaps high'r.
How the mither wad caress me, were I but by her side;
Now she prays that Heav'n will bless me, tho' the stormy seas divide.
And its oh! but I'm longin' for my ain folk,
Tho' they be but lowly, puir and pla
in folk;
I am far beyond the sea, but my heart will ever be
At home in dear auld Scotland, wi' my ain folk.

-- Traditional Tune
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.

-- From "Canadian Boat Song," Author Undetermined
Isle of Lismore
Isle of Lismore
Glen Coe, Highlands
Corran Lighthouse, Loch Lihnne, Highlands
Sutherland, Highlands
Isle of Skye
Northern Coast
Isle of Mull, Inner Hebrides
Isle of Lismore
Isle of Eigg, Inner Hebrides
O land of light,
Ancient and strong,
Land of justice and hope of the young,
Land of the glen and shining river.
Scotland my homeland forever and ever.

-- William Jackson
Isle of Mull
Isle of Mull
Isle of Lismore
Isle of Lismore, view of Iron Age Tirefour Castle (or Broch) in the background
Achinduin Castle, on the Isle of Lismore, was constructed in the 13th century.  
Above, as it looked in the early 1800's; below, the ruins of the castle today.
Achinduin monument reads:

Jozef Kijowski

Born Poland, 1923
Died Largs, Scotland, 2009

Jozef was a regular visitor to Lismore, an island
he loved.  He has donated, in Trust to the people
of Lismore, the castle of Achinduin and thirty-eight
acres of surrounding land in appreciation of the
kindness of Scottish people throughout his life.
Ruins of 13th century Castle Coeffin, Isle of Lismore, built on
the site of a Viking fortress.
View of the loch through a Castle Coeffin archway
Lismore is an island where each ruin,
each knoll carries some tale, some
secret tradition unique to that spot.
-- Donald Black
Sweep through the heather like deer in the glen,
Carry me back to the days I knew then.
Nights when we sang like a heavenly choir
Of the life and the times of the Mull of Kintyre

Smiles in the sunshine and tears in the rain,
Still take me back where my memories remain.
Flickering embers grow higher and higher
As they carry me back to the Mull of Kintyre.

-- Paul McCartney