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6.4 Keills Chapel & Graveyard, Keillmore

Keills Chapel sits up on a peninsular stretching out along the west side of Loch Sween. It dates from the 13th century but it is thought that people began worshipping here in the 8th century.

As with Kilmory Knap Chapel across Loch Sween, this chapel does not have a direct link to the story of Colmcille. But it does show that Christians were living here during the centuries after his death.

The chapel is home to a large collection of early and late medieval stones. The most striking is the Keills Cross which stands 2 metres tall.

From the chapel, there are stunning views of the sea loch and the islands of Islay and Jura.

With its simple rectangular shape, the chapel is similar to many built in the Western Highlands. The walls would have been covered both inside and outside with render and possibly some painted decoration.

The Keills Cross dates from the late 8th or early 9th century, reflecting the presence of Christian worshippers on this site.

The cross is carved on one side only. Four lions surround a central circular boss with St Michael represented above and a seated saint sitting below, at the top of the shaft. Below there are panels of interlace decoration and leaf scrolls.

© Ben Colburn

There are graveslabs and crosses on display inside the chapel. Many are carved with decorative patterns, swords and symbols linked to the people commemorated in the stonework.

The Keills Cross was originally positioned on the slope beside the chapel. A replica marks the position of the cross, northwest of the chapel.

  • 6.1 Dunadd

    In the 6th century Dunadd was the power base and main fort of the local rulers - the Dál Riata. This rocky outcrop stands high on the Moine Mhor Great Moss with the River Add weaving around its base. Colmcille is thought to have visited the king of the Dál Riata at...

  • 6.2 Kilmartin House Museum

    Kilmartin House Museum is housed in the former manse of Kilmartin Church at the centre of Kilmartin village. Kilmartin Glen has an extraordinarily rich collection of 350 ancient monuments, all found within a six-mile radius of the museum. The area has a strong early Christian history and is closely connected to the...

  • 6.3 Kilmartin Church

    Kilmartin Glen is the site of more than 350 ancient monuments. These sites - which include 150 prehistoric monuments - lie within a six-mile radius of Kilmartin village. Yet this area has also played an important role in Scotland’s early Christian heritage. Just 5 miles south of here at Dunadd, the...

  • 6.4 Keills Chapel & Graveyard, Keillmore

    Keills Chapel sits up on a peninsular stretching out along the west side of Loch Sween. It dates from the 13th century but it is thought that people began worshipping here in the 8th century. As with Kilmory Knap Chapel across Loch Sween, this chapel does not have a direct link to...

  • 6.5 Kilmory Knap Chapel

    The chapel of St Mary at Kilmory Knap is on the east side of Loch Sween. Kilmory means 'the Church of (St) Mary'. From here there are clear views across to the island of Islay and Jura. It was built in the first half of the 13th century and now houses...

  • 6.6 Cholmcille’s Chapel & Cave, Ellary

    This peaceful location on the shores of Loch Caolisport is said to be where Colmcille stopped for a few days on his journey north from Ireland in 563. He was seeking a meeting with the local king, Conall mac Comgall, whose chief fort was about 15 miles from here at Dunadd....

  • 6.7 Southend

    Southend is said to be Colmcille’s first landing place in Scotland. He left Derry on the north coast of Ireland in 563 with 12 companions and landed here before heading up the Argyll coast to meet the king of the Dál Riata. On a small mound to the west of...


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Colmcille

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Colmcille

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