The Barra Isles, also known as the Bishop's Isles as they were historically owned by the church, are a small archipelago of islands in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. They lie south of the island of Barra, for which they are named. The group consists of ten islands, and numerous rocks.
Many of the islands are extremely small, with only Vatersay remaining inhabited, and only Berneray (also known as Barra Head), Pabbay, Sandray and Mingulay (the largest island) having been inhabited in the past. The five smallest islands are Flodday, Heishival Mor, Lingay, Muldoanich and Uineasan.
Barra lies almost at the southern end of the Western Islesarchipelago, and for many visitors it is the highlight of their tour of the Western Isles: being home not only to the friendliest bunch of people you are likely to meet anywhere, but also to some truly stunning scenery.
Barra is an irregularly-shaped island measuring some eight miles by five: it's tempting to think of it as resembling a giant turtle, swimming north east.
The island was granted to Gilleonan MacNeil in 1427 by Alexander MacDonald, Lord of the Isles, and was to stay in the MacNeil family for over 400 years, largely thanks to the impregnability of the clan seat of Kisimul Castle, in Castle Bay.
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