Township: Barrapol,Ceann a’ Bharra

Map Reference: Kenavara 28

Name Type: cave

Meaning: The big cave; cave of the giant; or Diarmad's cave; the cave of gold

Other Forms: There are a number of cave names on Kenavara. They may or may not relate to the same feature. This needs further research:

Uaimh An Fhoimheir - cave of the giant - NB

Uamh nan Calman - cave of the doves - SMcK

An Uaimh Mhòr - Hugh MacLean, Barrapol, collected by Ailean Boyd.

"Nach eil Uamh Dhiarmaid thall an sin an Ceann-a-Bharra?"
"A Bheil?"
"Tha gu dearth, 's a' leab' anns an robh e laighe."
["Wasn't there the Cave of Diarmad over in Kenevara?"
"Was there?"
"Yes, definitely, and the bed on which he lay too".]
Donald Sinclair talking to Dr John MacInnes, in Cregeen E 2004 'Recollections of an Argyllshire Drover', ed Margaret Bennett. Edinburgh: John Donald, 158-161

"A Celtic Encyclopedia" p.549: "A cave named Ui Fiacrach Aidhne in the hills
of Kennavara on the western end of Tiree of the Inner Hebrides became
known as the bed of Diarmuid and Grainne." An email from Iceland, Vilborg Davidsdottir.

Uamh an Òir - Bailtean is Ath-Ghairmean, Niall M Brownlie, Argyll Publishing, 1995, p78

Related Places:

Information:“On the right hand side from the entrance [of An Uamh Mhòr] is what is known as the bed of the daughter of the King of Lochlin...Tradition says that she eloped with a youth whom her royal father deemed ineligible as her spouse.”
“The other cave is a few hundred yards to the south-west...there is no access to it except by means of a rope” - Handbook to the Islands of Coll and Tiree by Hector MacDougall and Rev. Hector Cameron, Archibald Sinclair, p101.

North of the fort is the Uamh Mhòr ('Great Cave'), a huge opening that penetrates far into the hill. In my young days it was often referred to as Uamh an Oir ('The Cave of Gold'), and oral tradition maintains that it traverses the entire island.
As a boy I heard my mother relate how a piper, accompanied by a dog, set out to traverse the Great Cave but was never seen again. When a neighbour went to the mouth of the cave in search of him, he found only the dog, still alive - but hairless from nose to tail. "Without three hands - two for the pipes and one for the sword - no human will ever traverse the Cave of Gold, my mother would say most emphatically - Bailtean is Ath-Ghairmean, Niall M Brownlie, Argyll Publishing, 1995, p 78.

Tèarlach Chaluim (Brown) and Sandaidh Mòr (MacArthur) went from the Balephuil sliabh to Uaimh a’ Ruith on Kenavara twice for a sledge load of guano which they brought out in sacks. They put them on Sandy’s feannagan [lazy beds] and the potatoes that year were huge. Some people thought they were too ‘floury’. David McClounnan, Balephuil, 3/2005.




Local Form: An Uaigh Mhòr / Uaigh An Fhoimheir

Languages : Gaelic

Informants: Donald MacNeill (Dòmhnall an Tàilleir), The Land, 1/1994

Informant 2: Neil Brownlie, Barrapol, 8/1994

Informant 3: Sandy MacKinnon (Sandaidh Ghobhainn), Kilkenneth, 9/1997