About Easdale: Easdale Island Community Hall
The refurbished Easdale Island Community Hall was reopened in 2003, bringing to fruition the first project taken up by Eilean Eisdeal when it was formed in 1997.
Many years of hard work by the community led to an application to the Community Fund being successful in September 2001, resulting in an award made to Eilean Eisdeal of £667,000, at that time the largest ever granted by the Community Fund in Scotland for this type of project.
The award included the purchase of the original 'Drill' hall and the cottage adjacent to it; fees for the professionals (architect, quantity surveyor, engineer, solicitor); and all the renovation and building works, carried out by local contractors MacVicar and MacInnes.
The spectacular building is a mix of the traditional and the modern. The original square hall and pyramidal wooden roof are still in place, but much-welcomed warmth and light have been brought into the space by means of an under-heated oak floor and roof windows. At the front and side of the hall the glass-fronted bar and reception areas complement the existing structures and traditional materials of the hall and surrounding buildings, while introducing a touch of the new and experimental to the island's architecture. This unique community building is both a celebration of the past and an inspiration for the future.
Shooglenifty May 2010
The opening of the hall could not have been achieved without the ideas, enthusiasm and hard work of the community, who put their time and labour into making the new building the special place that it has become.
The Easdale Island Community Hall is a centre for community, educational, social and arts activities. Ever-increasing audiences continue to enjoy the hall's unique island location, spectacular architecture and superb facilities, as well as appreciating the consistently high standard of performance and presentation which the Eilean Eisdeal Arts Programme offers.
The annual Arts Programme has featured Shooglenifty; Lau; Bert Jansch; The Waterboys; Dougie MacLean; Karine Polwart; Blazin Fiddles; Tam White; Dick Gaughan; Robin Williamson & John Renbourn; to name but a few, plus the usual ceilidhs and island concerts.
Theatre has been provided by Traverse, Mull Theatre, Rapture, plus various puppet theatre groups and not forgetting our own New Year Panto.
For details of ongoing events and activities, and also for information about the hall's facilities and how to book the hall, please visit the Easdale Island Community Hall website www.easdaleislandhall.org.
Alternatively, if you would like to keep up to date on the latest gossip, check out the Easdale Community Hall Facebook page by clicking on the image on the right.
Overview of the original Hall
before renovation circa 2000
The hall is a unique building. It was built in 1871 as a drill hall for the volunteer force of the island population, which at that time numbered over 450. Being the only building on the island large enough to accommodate more than a few dozen people, it was customarily used for all social gatherings, meetings, ceilidhs, and weddings. As the population dwindled almost to nothing during the 1950s, the hall ceased to be used as a meeting place and community hall. Its slate roof was stripped and it was turned into a storage shed for the fishing industry.
In the 1980s fish processing equipment was installed and for a decade the hall was the centre of a small but thriving fish processing industry. When the fish factory moved to Balvicar in 1993 the hall became virtually derelict. It needed a new roof and floor, although the main structure was sound. It was bought in 1996 by islander Adrian Laycock with the intention of restoring it for the use of the islanders, whose population by this time was increasing again to over 50 permanent people.
The whole community helped
The main building is 12 metres square in plan, with a 7 metre high central column supporting a pyramidal roof. The column is formed from a ships mast, generally agreed to be from the 630 ton sailing ship Norval which went down at the southern tip of Inish Island in December 1870. The massive rafters are supported by eight heavy struts which radiate from the central column like the spokes of an umbrella. Flying struts in turn support the intermediate rafters in the corner quadrants. It is possible that these timbers also came from the wreck, which was carrying wood from Montreal to Glasgow. The instant impression of this intricate timberwork is one of eternal harmony with the island and its history.