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Oronsay

Celtic cross on the island of Oronsay
©2014 Gazetteer for Scotland

Celtic cross on the island of Oronsay

Possibly deriving its name from St. Oran, a disciple of St. Columba, the rocky island of Oronsay lies immediately south of the island of Colonsay in the Inner Hebrides. Connected to Colonsay at low tides by a sandy causeway, the island is sparsely populated. It has an area of 519 ha (1282 acres) and its population is recorded as 2 (1961), 2 (1971), 3 (1981), 8 (1991), 5 (2001) and 8 (2011). Mesolithic shell mounds dating from c.4000 BC provide one of the earliest records of human settlement in Scotland and the Iron-Age fort of Dun Domhnuill stands on a high elevation. In the mid 14th century an Augustinian priory was founded under the patronage of the Lords of the Isles. It was the location of a workshop producing intricately carved grave-slabs and stone crosses until c.1500. The Oronsay Cross stands within the remains of the priory and nearby is a small airstrip.


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