History and Culture

People have lived on Eigg for thousands of years and signs of that rich legacy can be discovered everywhere in the island landscape. Crofting, language, music and tradition reflect Eigg’s rich history and culturally vibrant present.

Explore Eigg and see the remnants of how Eigich lived and worked in the past, and how it informs life on Eigg today.   


Discover 8,000 years of Eigg’s rich and colourful past in Pictish saint Donan’s Kildonan chapel, at the Massacre Cave where Eigg’s entire population perished in the 16th century, or the clearance village of Grulin and crofting landscape of Cleadale.

Visit the exotic Lodge Gardens around Earth Connections Eco Centre, previously the ‘big house’ for the island’s owner before the islanders’ historic community buyout in 1997.

Find out more about Eigg, or your own Hebridean ancestry, in the Eigg History Society | Comunn Eachdraidh Eige archive and photography archive.

Discover if Kildonan Graveyard was the location for an early Christian monastery established there by St Donnan c 600 AD.  Or explore what life in a crofthouse was like at the Cleadale Crofting Museum or the exhibition of social history at The Old Shop.

Explore the island’s fascinating geological past and archeological remains.

Many of our visitors have enjoyed a visit to the Massacre Cave in the past. However, after a small number of rock falls inside the Cave in 2016 The Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust  strongly advises that people do not enter the Massacre cave, but that if they chose to do so, then it is at their own risk.


Many of Eigg’s place names are in Gaelic. For example:

  • Eilean Eige: The “island of the notch”; Eag ( genitive Eige) is an Old Norse word meaning notch or wedge.  It refers to the distinctive shape of the Sgurr on the skyline.
  • An Sgùrr: “The Sharp Peak”. The distinctive shape of the Sgurr has given prominence in Gaelic, making it “the” sharp peak by excellence.
  • Galmisdale: Valley of the Roaring Surf, from the Old Norse Galmr (roaring surf) and Dalr (valley).
  • Beinn Bhuidhe: Yellow mountain: take its name from the bent grass turning yellow in the autumn
  • Bealach Clithe: The steep pass, referring to the steep descent into Cuagach and Cleadale

Visit Small Isles has lots of information on Eigg’s Gaelic place names and those of the other Small Isles; Rum, Muck and Canna.

Music, art, craft and more

Eigg has a vibrant cultural past and now present with many musicians and craft workers making their home here and many more coming to visit.

Concerts, ceilidhs and workshops are a regular feature of island life.  Find out more in our events programme.

Eigg regularly hosts visiting artists in Sweeney’s Bothy in Cleadale. Find out more and read the artist residency blogs on The Bothy Project website.