Isle of Barra » by VisitScotland
The island of Barra (Scottish Gaelic: Barraigh, Eilean Bharraigh, pronounced [ˈparˠaj, ˈelan ˈvarˠaj]) is a predominantly Gaelic-speaking island, and apart from the adjacent island of Vatersay, to which it is connected by a causeway, is the southernmost inhabited island of the Outer Hebrides (Na h-Eileanan Siar) in Scotland.
The Clan MacNeil has strong ties to the Isle of Barra and claims descent from the O’Neills of Ulster. The name Barra is thought to take its name either from Saint Finbarr, the founder of Cork, or from St. Barr, the great-grandson of Niall of the Nine Hostages, the legendary 4th century king of Ireland.
The motto of the Clan MacNeil of Barra in Latin is Vincere Vel Mori or in Gaelic Buaidh no Bàs which translated is “Victory or Death” or “Conquer or Die”.
Alexander, Lord of the Isles granted the island to the MacNeil clan in 1427. The clan held the island until 1838, when Roderick MacNeil, the 40th Chief of the Clan, sold the island to Colonel Gordon of Cluny. Gordon expelled most of the inhabitants in order to make way for sheep farming. The displaced islanders variously went to the Scottish mainland, Australia, New Zealand, the United States of America and Canada. Barra was restored to MacNeill ownership in 1937 when the Barra estate, which encompassed most of the island, was bought by Robert MacNeil, an American architect, and 45th chief of the clan.
In 2003, the ownership of the Barra Estate was passed by the owner, Ian MacNeil, to the Scottish Government. The estate can be transferred to the inhabitants in the future if they request it. MacNeil, the 46th chief of the clan, who died in early 2010, had previously transferred Kisimul Castle to Historic Scotland in 2000.
In May 2007 Channel 4’s Time Team came to the hamlet of Allasdale to investigate the exposed remains of Bronze Age burials and Iron Ageroundhouses in sand dunes that had been previously uncovered by storms. The programme was broadcast on 20 January 2008.
[Text from Wikipedia, Photo from Wild About Britain]