9.8 Church of the Holy Trinity, Carnish, North Uist

Teampull na Trianaid (Church of the Holy Trinity) sits on a mound beside the village of Carinish. There are views west towards the low-lying island of Baleshare.

Church of the Holy Trinity © Alan Sproull

The remains of the Teampull na Trianaid dominate the site. There was probably a series of settlements on this site before the chapel was built here in the early 13th century.

The Book of Clan Ranald says that Teampull na Trianaid belonged to the Prioress of Iona, Beathag. She was daughter of Somerled who was the Norse rí Innse Gall - king of the Hebrides - in the 12th century. 'The Book of Clan Ranald' was written in the 17th century by Niall MacMhuirich. It is one of the earliest known Gaelic books and gives a Gaelic view of the events of the time.

It is thought that the site was enlarged in the late 14th century by Amy MacRuairi (c.1350-1390) who had been married to John, Lord of the Isles.

The chapel and graveyard are enclosed by a stone wall. There is another chapel - the Teampull Clann a’Phiocair - Chapel of the MacVicars - on the north side of the main church. This building may date from the 16th century and used as a priest’s house. It was later used as a burial place for the MacVicar family of scholars.

According to oral tradition, the site is said to have been a place of learning since early medieval times. In the 14th century it was granted to the Abbey of Inchaffray in Perthshire but by the 16th century it was under control of the Abbot of Iona.

In 1601, Carinish was the site of a battle between the local Macdonalds and the MacLeods from the Isle of Harris. As you walk towards the church site, you cross a ditch signposted Fèith na Fala - Ditch of Blood. During the battle, the church and grounds may have been used as a refuge for animals and belongings.

Church of the Holy Trinity © Alan Sproull

Getting there

From Leverburgh catch a ferry across the Sound of Harris landing on the Isle of Berneray. Click here for ferry times.

Cross to North Uist on the causeway on the B893. Take the left turn towards Lochmadddy on the A865. Just before Lochmaddy turn right on to the A867 heading south. Rejoin the A865 at Clachan na Luib turning left towards the Isle of Benbecula.

As you near the southern coast of North Uist on the A865, you pass through the village of Carinish. The site and car park are signposted on the right. Walk across the boardwalk and farm track, through a gate to the Teampull na Trianaid site.

  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.

    9.1 St Columba's Church

    This late 14th century church - named after St Columba - was later extended in the 15th and 16th century.

  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.

    9.2 St Moluag's Chapel

    This restored chapel is dedicated to St Moluag or Moluoc. The building is flanked by two small side chapels to the north and south, creating a T-shaped outline.

  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.

    9.3 St. John's Chapel

    Head west from the crofting township of Bragar to find the medieval chapel of Teampull Eoin - St John The Baptist - on a small headland next to the beach.

  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.

    9.4 Uig Peninsula

    It is worth heading to the Uig Peninsula not only for the sites relating to early Christianity but also for the stunning beaches of Uig and Mangarstadh.

  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.

    9.5 Teampall Chaluim Chille, Eilean Chaluim Chille

    The small island of Eilean Chaluim Chille has probably been connected with Christianity since the 7th century. It sits on the eastern extremity of Loch Erisort as it leads out to the Minch.

  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.

    9.6 Northton Chapel

    Northton Chapel faces south across the Sound of Harris looking towards the Uists. It sits on a small headland - Rubh’ an Teampull - at the foot of Ceapabhal hill.

  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.

    9.7 St Clements

    This is the largest medieval church in the Outer Hebrides. Of all the churches in the islands, only Iona is larger. It was built in the 16th century but there is some suggestion that there may have been an older monastery on the site.

  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.

    9.8 Church of the Holy Trinity

    Teampull na Trianaid sits on a mound beside the village of Carinish. There are views west towards the low-lying island of Baleshare. The remains of the Teampull na Trianaid dominate the site.

  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.

    9.9 Chapel of the Virgin Mary

    The ruined medieval chapel sits in a graveyard which is still in use. The chapel was rectangular and would have had a pitched roof. The walls would have been much higher - you can see the top part of the door in the west wall.

  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.

    9.10 Howmore

    The township of Tobha Mor - or Howmore - lies between the main north-south road on South Uist and the beach which forms much of the island’s west side.

  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.

    9.11 Kilbar Church, Barra

    Cill Bharra is the remains of a 12th century church dedicated to St Barr. The site is thought to have been used for Christian worship since the 600s when there was a chapel here dedicated to St Barr - probably the same saint as St Finbarr of Cork.