(Bogh Mòr)
Argyll and Bute

A fishing village with a whisky distillery that represents the administrative and commercial centre, and largest settlement, on the island of Islay, Bowmore (Gael: Bogh Mòr) lies on the eastern shore of Loch Indaal, 10 miles (16 km) southwest of Port Askaig and a similar distance north northwest of Port Ellen. The former settlement of Loggan, chartered as a burgh of barony in 1614, was replaced by a new planned village called Bowmore laid out in 1767-68 by Daniel Campbell of Islay. It was built to accommodate families not directly involved in the work of Islay Estate, mainly weavers and agricultural workers, who were moved from the old village of Kilarrow which was taken down to 'improve' the setting of Islay House. A harbour and pier were built here to allow the villagers to augment their diets by fishing and each property was provided with a sizeable garden. Opened in 1777, the Bowmore Distillery is the oldest on Islay and one of the oldest in Scotland. Also located here is Kilarrow Parish Church, which is uniquely circular, and the equally unique Islay Parliament, which had originally converged at Kinlaggan, met here from 1718 to 1843. Bowmore's harbour, which had served Glasgow steamers, silted up by the 1920s, but its pier was used as a flying boat base during World War II. Today the little harbour is mostly used by small pleasure craft. In addition to whisky distilling there are textile, craft and dairy produce industries. The Islay Hospital (built 1964) is located at Bowmore, together with the island's diesel-fueled power station (built 1946) and the Mactaggart Leisure Centre (1991). Islay High School is also located here and the village has a primary school, a selection of shops, a post office, bank, supermarket, police station, and a tourist information centre. Argyll and Bute Council have their Islay local office in Bowmore and the village is the hub of the island's bus services. The unassuming Old Town Hall on Main Street dates from the 18th C. and once contained a Sheriff Court although is now home to a Masonic Lodge. Bowmore is also home to The Ileach newspaper, founded in 1973.

Bowmore featured as a location in the 1954 Ealing comedy The Maggie, directed by Alexander Mackendrick (1912-93).

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