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Bunessan & Suidhe

View of Bunessan Isle of MullBunessan is the largest village on the Ross of Mull and was once the centre of activity for the densely populated crofting townships surrounding it.

Today there is a small Spar shop and post office, Bunessan Bakehouse which sells home crafted bread and lunches, the Argyll Arms Hotel, Fingal's Cave gift shop, a Baptist Chapel, Church of Scotland, Church, the Ross of Mull Historical Centre, Fire Station, Village Hall and Doctor’s Surgery. The old pier in the village is no longer used and today’s fishing pier is a ¼ mile to the northwest on the road to Fionnphort. The local crab and prawn boats now use this pier which used to be known as the Maize Pier (maize was brought in by boat to feed the crofting community who were starving as the time of the potato famine in the 19th century). Bunessan Pier isle of mull

The pier can be busy and the Scottish shellfish caught is landed mostly for international export. Fishing has been one of the main employers and important to the economy of the community but the future of fishing is looking more precarious as its sustainability is very much in doubt. Crofting and tourism used to complement the fishing but now tourism plays a vital economic role.

The Gaelic name Bun-Easin, which means ‘Foot of the Little Waterfall’, refers to the waterfall on Allt Ruadh (Red Burn) behind the Argyll Arms Hotel. The village sits looking northwards on the shores of Loch na Ląthaich (Loch of the Soft Clay). The Bunessan River flows from Loch Assapol into Loch na Ląthaich. Where the river meets the sea, salmon and trout will jump to catch the surface flies while they wait for enough water to return to Loch Assapol to spawn. For further information about fishing, click here

Bunessan Mill was built in the 18th century by the Duke of Argyll. Originally it was single storey with an eleven foot diameter water wheel – the cottage and mill has since become the new home for the Ross of Mull Historical Centre. Further details about the Historical Centre can be found on the 'Attractions' page or you can visit


mary mcdonald monument BunessanMary MacDonald, born in 1789 at Torranuachdrach near Bunessan was a poet of some prowess. She lived with her husband and ten children in a basic dwelling enduring crofting hardships of the period. Working six days a week (Sunday was a day of worship), Mary still managed time to compose the worldwide known verses entitled ‘Leanabh an Aigh’ (Child in a Manger).

Child in a Manger:

Child in the manger,
Infant of Mary,
Outcast and stranger,
Lord of all!

Child who inherits,
All our transgressions
All our dements
On him fall. 


SUIDHE (Gaelic – ‘Seat’)
OS Map: NM 370221

Suidhe TownshipSuidhe, a peaceful ruined township on the hill west of Bunessan pier is a scheduled monument of national significance showing occupation and changing use over hundreds of years 

From the pier head, walk through the gate stile above the road and head west up the hill following the rough track through the fields. As you climb, looking to the north and east the panoramic seascapes of the islands, north Mull, The Burg cliffs with Ardtun in the foreground are spectacular especially in the early evening summer sun which lights up the dark moody Burg cliffs.

Near the top of the hill in a hollow there are five ruined buildings some with rounded gables and one with squared upper course. The ‘square’ building would be newer than the others possibly with a tin corrugated roof rather than the traditional thatch. In one building there are the remains of a byre – the stone pen dividers are still clearly in evidence.

In the 18th century, sixty people lived at ‘Suy’, as it was known then. The last family left in the 1930’s as farming income could not keep up with the rent charged.The view from Suidhe Township Ross of Mull.jpg

The ‘in-bye’ land immediately round Suidhe is very fertile and the position of Suidhe itself in respect to height, giving it a strong defensive position would perhaps indicate a place or ‘seat’ of importance, an ideal place to live at one time.

There is a sense of strength and peace when you visit Suidhe and the views are uplifting from the hilltop. Another indicator that Suidhe was a place of importance in ancient times, are the remains of a burial mound with a hollow centre lying just south of the aforementioned ruins. Beside the burial place are two standing stones.

Perhaps Suidhe was the ‘capital’ of the Ross of Mull at one time – a place to rest and stay en-route to Iona. Geologically it is the transition point from the typical Mull Basalt to the pink Ross of Mull granite. At Suidhe there is a seam of Schist and Quartz which can be easily identified.

Last amended 21/01/2013
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