St Columba's Chapel, Orsay, Kilchoman (Islay)

Grid reference

NR 163 516 (accurate position)

Six-figure easting & northing

116300 651600





Altitude (metres)




Nearby places

Insula Sancti Columbe, Kilchoman (Islay) (0 miles)

Cill Iain, eccles. Kilchoman (Islay) (4.61 miles)

Kilchiaran Bay, Kilchoman (Islay) (5.59 miles)

Cill Chiarain, eccl. Kilchoman (Islay) (5.85 miles)

Kilchiaran, settlement Kilchoman (Islay) (6.07 miles)

Object Classification



Is linear feature?



The chapel on this island is confusingly named on OS Digimap: at one scale it is called St Columba's Chapel, on the other scale it is St Orain's Chapel. On the little island of Orsay, off the SW end of Islay, the island called 'Insula Sancti Columbe' in 1507 (ER xii, 589). It seems fairly certain that the dedication was to Columba, but that the name of the Island, Orsay, has encouraged a misunderstanding as a dedication to Odhrán/Oran. The name Orsay It is also possible, as happened on Iona and Tiree that a Columban dedication co-existed with an Odhrán dedication: was the burial ground associated with the chapel perhaps dedicated to Odhran, while the chapel itself was dedicated to Columba? Earlier forms of the name Orsay include one given by Dean Monro in 1549, Onersay. He says of this island that 'it hath ane paroch kirke, and is very guid for fishing ... with ane right dangerous kyle and stream callit Corey Garrache [< G *coire garbhach?]; na man dare enter it bot at ane certain tyme of the tyde, or ellis he will perish' (Monro, 496). OPS records: 'Before the year 1380 John, the first Lord of the Isles, is said to have roofed and furnished the chapel of Eorsay-Elan' (Vol. 2 (i), 271). NMRS records a late medieval tomb in the enclosure and fragments of an early medieval cross-slab (eighth or ninth century). The existing church is probably to be identified with the chapel on the island of St Columba of Orsay (Insula Sancti Columbe de Ilanorsa) mentioned in 1507 (ER xii, 589).

Relationships with other parishes

Within Kilchoman, parish (Islay)

Relationships with other places

Within Insula Sancti Columbe, Kilchoman (Islay)