Eilean Liubhaird

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Eilean Liubhaird
Gaelic nameEilean Liubhaird
Meaning of namepossibly "yew island"
Eilean Liubhaird is located in Outer Hebrides
Eilean Liubhaird
Eilean Liubhaird
Eilean Liubhaird shown within the Outer Hebrides
OS grid referenceNB382099
Coordinates58°00′N 6°26′W / 58.00°N 6.43°W / 58.00; -6.43
Physical geography
Island groupLewis and Harris
Area125 ha
Area rank133= [1]
Highest elevation76 m
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Council areaNa h-Eileanan Siar

Eilean Liubhaird or Eilean Iubhard is an island in the Outer Hebrides, to the east of Lewis.

View over to Eilean Liubhaird

Geography and geology[edit]

The rock is "gneiss bedrock with some basaltic intrusion".[4]

The island is oblong in shape with several inlets on its south coast, lying on an east–west axis in Loch Sealg (Loch Shell), and shelters the harbour of Lemreway on the "mainland" of Lewis nearby.

There are two peaks at either end of the island, with the low ground in the middle. There are two lochans in the west, and three in the east as well as a number of burns.


The placename Dùnan on the south coast may be a reference to a little fort of some antiquity.

Although Haswell-Smith suggests that the name means "yew island",[4] the preponderance of Norse names in the Outer Hebrides suggests that the second element of "Iubhard" may be a corruption of fjord/firth.

Dean Munro visited the island in 1549, and reported "pasture and schielling of store, with faire hunting of ottars out of their bouries".[4]

On 4 May 1746, Bonnie Prince Charlie hid on the island with some of his men for four days. Royal Navy vessels were patrolling in the Minch at the time. They camped under a sail stretched over a "low pitiful hut" while it rained torrentially.[4]

In the early 19th century, five families were living here. Presumably they had moved there in the past few decades, as the story of the Jacobite visit mentions no inhabitants. Seanna-Bhaile (meaning the "old town") was the main settlement, and there was also the lone house known as Taigh a' Gheumpaill.[4]


  1. ^ Area and population ranks: there are c. 300 islands over 20 ha in extent and 93 permanently inhabited islands were listed in the 2011 census.
  2. ^ 2001 UK Census per List of islands of Scotland
  3. ^ Ordnance Survey
  4. ^ a b c d e f Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. ISBN 978-1-84195-454-7.

Coordinates: 58°0′6″N 6°25′51″W / 58.00167°N 6.43083°W / 58.00167; -6.43083