SITUATED close to the main road leading to Kintra in the Kildalton and Oa parish is the standing stone known as the Carragh Bhàn and reputed to mark the burial place of the Norse warrior king Godred Crovan who, it is claimed, died in Islay in 1095.
Little is known about Godred’s earlier life before he became a celebrated 11th- century warrior. He certainly acted as adjutant to the King of Norway at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066 before he set his sights on the Isle of Man and Islay.
Norse and Gael supporters flocked to his standard, the besieged city of Dublin surrendered to him before he proclaimed himself king and set up the dynasty which embraced the Kingdom of the Isles, Dublin and Man.
Legend has it that he was particularly revered on Islay after he successfully destroyed a dragon which had its lair at Imerachonart on the outskirts of Ballygrant and which had caused death and destruction among the Ilich.
He is also the subject of one of local bard Duncan Johnston’s best known songs, Birlinn Ghoraidh Chrobhain, and whose theme relates the passage of the Godred’s Royal galley from the Isle of Man to Islay’s shores.
The jury is still out on whether the Carragh Bhàn marks the warrior king’s final resting place as another school of thought suggests that he was buried along with other royal personages on Iona.
What is not in doubt is that the gallant Godred was the progenitor of the Clan Donald who became the Lords of the Isles and held sway over Scotland’s western seaboard for more than two centuries.
Carragh Bhàn, standing stone reputed to be the burial place on Norse warrior king Godred Crovan.