THE ILEACH :: THE INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER FOR ISLAY + JURA

Excerpts from issue 46/17 8 June 2019

In this issue: Fèis Ìle in pictures, Council's spend on island roads, D-Day commemoration, BPS pupils visit Ireland, Event Horizon Masterclass, Port Charlotte Book Club award


Islay Pipe Band at Festival opening

Islay and Jura Community Pipe Band bring the opening eve of Fèis Ìle to a close on the Green, Port Ellen at the start of Festival week. Despite rain towards the end of the week, all those visiting seemd to have had a great, if often expensive, time.

Photo: ben shakespeare

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The festivities continue in 2019

Fèis Ìle has once again come and gone so quickly that we're already looking forward to seeing friends old and new (spread the word) next year.
We've got just a mere selection of the photos taken by official event photographer, Ben Shakespeare on the centre pages of the print and digital editions. Well done to Ben for getting so many pictures from all of the events (there are more on the Fèis website). Starting at the launch in Port Ellen, continuing throughout the week and finishing on Saturday at Ardbeg. As they say, 'every picture tells a story' and the Fèis is no exception. In fact there are pictures that we wouldn't want to tell a story, but rest assured, we have them under lock and key!
At the opening on the Friday night, on the green in Port Ellen, the community were all in good spirits for the official start to Fèis Ìle 2019. There was a non-alcoholic free cocktail bar, sponsored by Drink Aware, that was a great success, and there were free rides too!
There were games and activities put on by the community to raise money and there were smiles all round. The Islay and Jura Pipes and Drums kicked off their busy week in style, followed by the ever excellent performances from the equally busy Ella Edgars Highland Dancers. It was great to see visitors and locals alike captivated by their performances.
Music was provided by the excellent Acoustic Soundz and the Black Rock Ceilidh band to keep the evening flowing until the fantastic fireworks display from the Ard by Fireworkx Scotland. The Fèis Ìle committee thank the community for coming along to support the event, plus the schools and charities who ran the stalls. Thanks go to Yvonne from the Ardview for cooking the hotdogs and also to CalMac for bringing the fair over, free of charge; an enormous help to keep the event free for all.
So to Fèis followers, we will see you next year, but in the in the meantime, and if you want to come back, the Islay and Jura festivities continue through the summer months with upcoming events that include; Islay Beach Rugby (today, 8 June), The Cantilena Music Festival (4 -12 July), the Book Festival (30 Aug - 1 Sep), the Jazz Festival (13-15 September) and the very first Food Festival (20 - 22 Sep).
So there's plenty to choose from, this year and every year on Islay and Jura, and with Mòd Ìle also returning next year on a date to be agreed, and Fèis Ìle will be back on 22 May 2020. We'll see you sometime soon.
Now who's for a lie down?

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Murder Mysteries and Music

One of Britain's best-known, most respected, award-winning crime writers, Ann Cleeves, will be on Islay on Monday 1 July to give us a fascinating evening of readings from her acclaimed 'Shetland' novels and insights into their creation and ending.
Interwoven into the evening's entertainment, will be sublime music from renowned Shetland Fiddle player, Cathy Geldard, who will take us on a seasonal journey through Shetland and play 'A Tune For Jimmy Perez', the piece of music that Ann commissioned from Cathy to commemorate 'Wild Fire', the final book in the Shetland crime novel series. Both will give us insights into how the Shetlands have influenced their writing and music.
Her novel, 'Raven Black' was awarded the richest crime-writing prize in the world: the Duncan Lawrie Dagger for Best Crime Novel in 2006 and in 2012 she was inducted into the CWA Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame.
In 2017, Ann was presented with the Diamond Dagger of the Crime Writers' Association, the highest honour in British crime writing; and has received two honorary awards of Doctor of Letters from the University of Sunderland in 2014 and Aberdeen's Robert Gordon University in 2018. She has also appeared on 'Celebrity Mastermind' and 'Desert Island Discs'.
Cathy Geldard grew up performing and playing in sessions on the Shetland Isles, after learning the fiddle as a five year-old, and winning the local fiddle competition at aged eleven. She was also one of the first people to complete grade 8 in traditional fiddle.
When Ann previously came to Islay in February 2016, it was a brilliant, sell-out performance. She was, then, accompanied by her forensic expert advisor, Professor James Grieve in a fascinating double-act explaining the intricacies of incorporating accurate forensic detail into crime-writing. The event on 1 July is sure to be another superb double-act, but with a very different emphasis focussed on the Shetlands; the inspiration for Ann's marvellous series of novels and Cathy's wonderful fiddle music.
The Islay Arts Association has organised this special event at the Bowmore Round Church, and is anticipating another large audience. So come along, tickets are £8 on the door, it all starts at 7.30pm, with a mid-session interval with complimentary refreshments. There's an opportunity for question and answers during the evening and Ann's books will also be on sale, signed by the author.

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Orwell's Jura story reimagined in new novel

A new novel recounting how the beauty of Jura contributed to the bleak vision of the future in George Orwell's masterpiece '1984' will be published this month and its creator is coming to Islay for this year's Book Festival.
Norman Bissell's 'Barnhill', is named after the Jura farmhouse where Orwell battled to finish one of the greatest books of the twentieth century, before succumbing to tuberculosis at the age of forty six.
The author, also a poet and a screenwriter, is based on the Isle of Luing, and has been added to the line-up for this year's Islay Book Festival taking place from 29 August to 1 September. He will also be speaking at events on Jura and Islay during the festival.
"It is twelve years now since I walked the track up past Ardlussa and saw Barnhill for the first time. I didn't go in but I was intrigued by the idea that George Orwell wrote '1984' there. It is such a dystopian vision of what might happen in the future and yet it was written in such a beautiful place," Bissell told the Ileach.
"It has been a real labour of love, writing first a screenplay and now a novel, which I am delighted to be bringing over to Islay and, of course, Jura, which was such a key location in Orwell's life story," he said.
"It'd be great to meet anyone who has connections with the Islay and Jura people that Orwell had contact with during his time on Jura. In the book there is a scene with Katie and Donald Darroch, who were farming near Barnhill at the time and were befriended by Orwell. And also an account of the night he spent in the police station cell in Port Ellen!"
'Barnhlll' covers Orwell's final years in London and Paris, as well as on Jura and the sacrifices he made, most tragically in terms of his health; as he created Winston Smith and Julia, Big Brother and the Thought Police.
Bissell brings a particularly Scottish perspective to the story with the author imagining how Orwell might have spent a New Year in Glasgow, visiting the Gorbals and drinking in the Scotia Bar, which has run out of Islay malts, after missing connections to Jura.
"I think he was rather put off the Scots and Scotland by some of the whisky-soaked folk he met out in Burma when he was working for the Indian police. But I think when he got to Jura, which was in May 1946 for the first time, and then subsequently, he got to appreciate the Scottish sense of humour and especially the Scottish islanders way of doing things," Norman added.
Season tickets for this year's book festival, which will include Ian Rankin speaking at the Ramsay Hall in Port Ellen on Saturday, August 31, are now on sale at ticket source
Anyone wishing to support the festival's efforts in bringing top writers to Islay and Jura schools, can do so via the orange coin boxes now in place at businesses around the islands, or via the Just Giving link on islay book festival, where you can also read a longer interview with Norman.

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NEXT ISSUE ON SALE, Saturday 22 June 2019

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islay info

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Islay Diary 2019

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  • Saturday 8 June
  • Islay Beach Rugby, Port Ellen
  • Sunday 9 June
  • INHT Explorations, Ardnave
  • Tuesday 11 June
  • Chit Chat Strollers, Machir Bay
  • Local Mod Meeting, ICCI, Bowmore
  • Arts & Crafts Market, Bruichladdich Hall
  • Wednesday 12 June
  • Baptist Church Walk, Colonsay
  • Bowmore Harbour AGM, Service Point, Bowmore
  • Family Celidh, Columba Hall, PE
  • Thursday 13 June
  • Arts & Crafts Market, Bruichladdich Hall
  • Friday 14 June
  • PE Primary Bingo
  • Sunday 16 June
  • INHT Geology of Saligo
  • Tuesday 18 June
  • Chit Chat Strollers, Sanaigmore
  • INHT Illustrated Talk, Port Charlotte
  • Kilmeny Ceilidh, Ballygrant Hall
  • Còisir òg Ghàidlig Ìle AGM, ICCI
  • Arts & Crafts Market, Bruichladdich Hall
  • Wednesday 19 June
  • Baptist Church Walk
  • Thursday 20 June
  • Arts & Crafts Market, Bruichladdich Hall
  • Friday 21 June
  • Highland Dancers AGM, ICCI
  • Sunday 30 June
  • INHT Comunity Open Day

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