Halloween photo: Teampall Mholuidh

St Moluag's Chapel

The photo above shows St. Moluag’s temple in Europie during its restoration in 1912.  The origin of the temple is unclear,  one theory suggests it was built by the son of a Scandinavian king, who converted to Christianity and wanted to atone for his sins by building a chapel, another suggests that St. Ronan founded the chapel before heading off to Rona on the back of a whale, as you do.

An interesting bit of folklore surrounding the temple tells of a tradition where people used to have a ‘merry time’ at Alhollautide, or Halloween:

‘Theire custome was to eat and drincke vuntill they were druncke.  And then after much dancinge and dalliance togeather they entered the chappell at night with lights in their hands where they continued till next morninge in theire devotions.’

Now that the temple is used as an Episcopalian church, you will have to find somewhere else to have your Halloween fun! 

To read more about the temple’s history track down Micheal Robson’s A Desert Place in the Sea (where I took the above quote from) or Finlay Macleod’s The Chapels in the Western Isles, both of which are available for loan from Stornoway Library.

About David Powell

Project Manager and Archivist with Tasglann nan Eilean Siar
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