oly Isle has a long spiritual history, stretching back to the 6th century. It is endowed with an ancient healing spring, the hermit-cave of a 6th Century monk, St Molaise, and evidence of a 13th Century Christian Monastery. The earliest recorded name for Holy Isle was Inis Shroin, which is old Gaelic for ‘Island of the Water Spirit’. After the time when the Celtic Christian saint St. Molaise lived on the island at the end of the 6th century, it became known as Eilean Molaise, which is Gaelic for ‘Molaise’s Island’. This name gradually evolved over the course of centuries until early in the 19th century the island became generally known as Holy Isle (or the Holy Isle) and the village on the other side of the bay became known as Lamlash.

The founder and vision holder of the Holy Isle Project is Lama Yeshe Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist meditation master in the Kagyu tradition. Lama Yeshe is also Abbot of Samye Ling Monastery in Dumfriesshire, where he lives most of the year.

At the north of the island the Centre for World Peace and Health hosts a retreat and course programme. Between April and October guests are also welcome to stay at the Centre for personal retreats or holiday breaks. A closed Buddhist retreat takes place at the south of the island.


Holy Isle’s summer season runs from April to October and we welcome guests and day visitors during this time. Please note that during Winter, the Centre is closed for guests except for the Christmas Retreat, the New Year’s Retreat and the 10-week Winter Retreat.

At present, there are three types of large mammals living on Holy Isle: the Eriskay ponies, Soay sheep and Saanen goats, and a rich variety of wildlife…

As well as staying at the Centre, you are invited to visit Holy Isle for the day. The island is divided into several areas, some of which are reserved for birds and animals, others for our native tree planting programme. Visitors are requested to stay on the paths and not to bring animals onto the island.

The island can be ideally explored by foot. Read here about the walks you can do.

For more Information, please click here: Holy Isle website

Crossing to Holy Isle

Between April and October, the Holy Isle Ferry runs a service for day visitor crossings from Lamlash. For more details and how to book please visit lamlashcruises.org.uk | T: 07534 320 107 | Email: lamlashcruises@gmail.com

Important – please note that crossing Lamlash Bay, to and from Holy Isle, depends on the tides so there are days when some of the crossings will not be possible. Please check prior to making travel arrangements.