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16 October 2014

Arnish Lighthouse

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Clach an Truiseil

Clach an Truiseil
This is the Truiseal stone, a 18'10" [5.7 m] high monolith in the small village of Baile an Truiseil [Ballantrushal], some 2 miles north of Upper Barvas, here in Lewis. Pronounce the CH as you would the CH in LOCH.

It's not terribly well sign-posted on the tourist trail, although it does boast of a picknick table. Was not tempted to use it this afternoon, in the midst of a steady procession of rain showers marching north.

The Truiseal stone is reputed to have been a man in by-gone days, who had been turned to stone. A passer-by had heard the stone proclaim in sepulchral tones:

A Truisealach am I after the Fiann;
Long is my journey behind the others;
My elbow points to the west
And I am embedded to my oxters.

Some 20 miles to the southwest stand the much better known Callanish Stones. When you visit the site, there are a number of explanatory plaques, conjecturing about possible use of the Stones. But what I have to make of their by-name in Gaelic - Na Fir Bhreige [The Deceitful Men], I can only guess.

[Source: Lewis - A History of the Island, Donald MacDonald, 1978]
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 19:59


Impressive stone that - a phallic symbol if ever I saw one. What depresses me is the shocking mess of lorries and sundry industrial equipment (thankfully not shown in your photo) lining the road leading up to this superb monolith. It detracts not only from the experience of visiting the monolith, but also from the village itself.

Jimmy from Eilean Leodhais

My very thought, Jimmy

Arnish Lighthouse from Stornoway

Thanks heavens, Jimmy, that it is only a symbol - and not the real thing!! The wonders of the western islands: make one want to visit. But can western isles foodstuffs and cooking compare with those of Shetland and Orkney?

mjc from NM,USA

Na Fir Bhreige [The Deceitful Men] is more accurately translated as The False Men, referring to the similarity of many of the stones to stooping human figures.

Jimmy from Eilean Leodhais

MJC, you can only find out if you come to visit. Some excellent cooking over here, we just don't publicise it enough.

Arnish Lighthouse from Stornoway

But only a cold collation on a Sunday, surely? Otherwise Hell&Purgatory beckon.

Flying Cat from Cold Comfort Cookbook

FC: You mean a one-way ticket to Birsay? Joking apart, I certainly want to visit Birsay (as an homage to GMB perhaps?).

mjc from NM,USA

Was this part of a stone circle too like Callanish?

Mairead from Highlands

Mairead, it was and is just one single monolith, one stone.

Arnish Lighthouse from Stornoway

Dropped down by a UFO by a maniac intent on wiping out Roswell, NM, but the Alien (in the absence of GPS) mistook Truiseil/W.I. for the desert and let go of the humongous thing. Voila! Therein lies history, or at least a story. Simple truth. Ask Blair or Prescott if you don't believe me.

mjc from NM,USA

There are oral accounts of stone slabs being removed for dry stone dyking and lintels for t hatched houses.

Mairead from Hightlands

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