Here are some of the cu­ri­ous facts about Eilean Sub­hainn’s more il­lus­tri­ous neigh­bour

Trail (UK) - - WILD NIGHTS -

Like the loch, it is named af­ter Saint Mael­rubha, an Ir­ish monk who founded the abbey at Ap­ple­cross and, it is be­lieved, lived in a her­mitage on the island in the 8th cen­tury.

Isle Ma­ree con­tains stands of an­cient oak, holly and other trees not found on Loch Ma­ree’s other is­lands. It has a stone-walled grave­yard within its wooded in­te­rior. The last burial there was in 1925 when the island be­came the fi­nal rest­ing place of Alexan­der Robert­son, the owner of the Loch Ma­ree Ho­tel on the loch’s south­ern shore who killed him­self af­ter eight of his guests died as a re­sult of eating con­tam­i­nated duck pâté from the ho­tel’s kitchen.

Two graves are said to be those of the Vik­ing Prince Olaf and his princess. Le­gend has it that the princess faked her death to test Olaf’s love. Be­liev­ing his love to have per­ished, he killed him­self. And when the princess re­alised what she had done, she also took her own life.

An oak wish tree, and oth­ers sur­round­ing it, are covered with ham­mered-in coins. The orig­i­nal tree was vis­ited by Queen Vic­to­ria in 1877 (a fact in­cluded in her pub­lished diaries), but died some decades ago from cop­per poi­son­ing.

In the 17th cen­tury there were shock­ing re­ports of sev­eral pa­gan rit­u­als. Records show that bulls were sac­ri­ficed openly up un­til the 18th cen­tury.

It was be­lieved that be­ing towed round the island be­hind a boat was a cure for mad­ness.

Su­per­sti­tion as­serts that noth­ing must ever be taken from the island, not a stone, not a leaf, not a twig — noth­ing, lest the lu­nacy pre­vi­ously cured by the wa­ters is once more re­turned to the world.

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