Excerpts from issue 44/09 18 February 2017

fĆis oigridh ile 2017

Some of the younger participants in this year's Fèis Òigridh Ìle, after a delayed start due to cancelled ferries.

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A sight for sore eyes

Oban based optician, John Wallace, is soon to be a permanent fixture on Islay.
Since the sad loss of Dunstan Gallery, Mr.Wallace has been seeing to the optical needs of Islay and Jura residents during his monthly visits to the Islay Eyewear premises above the Royal Bank of Scotland in Bowmore.
Dunstan complemented this first floor practice with an accessible branch of Islay Eyewear in Port Ellen, but Mr. Wallace only has use of the Bowmore premises, for now. He said, "It is difficult for some people to get up the stairs here and because I am dealing with such a backlog of patients, I am unable to do home visits just now." However, having recently bought a property in Shore Street, Bowmore, Mr.Wallace and his family have applied for planning permission to convert it into a ground floor, fully accessible optician's practice, with╩living accommodation for the family on the first floor.
It is expected to take around twelve months to have permission granted and complete the work needed to open the practice and Mr.Wallace is looking forward to being able to offer a permanent optical service to the whole community.

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Ileach Update

The 21 January issue featured an article about the increasing frustration people are feeling over dog faeces on the pavements around Islay. Argyll & Bute had been unable to provide any input at the time but have since responded with information regarding their╩Enforcement Warden. A spokesman said, "Argyll and Bute don't have dedicated dog wardens but all dog related issues are dealt with by our Enforcement Wardens as part of their varied range of duties. A warden is available on Islay two days a week. He will be wearing hi-viz clothing and part of his remit is to engage with dog walkers, reminding of their duty to clear up after their dog."
When challenged about the advice that has been given to residents of the island to get 'photographic evidence' of offenders leaving their mess behind, the spokesman acknowledged that it may not be easy to get such evidence. He said, "A warden can act on evidence given by members of the public as long as the persons providing the evidence are willing to attend court and back up what they have reported. Alternatively information can be passed to the warden who can then approach the dog owner concerned. The Council's corporate Facebook page can be used to report offenders using the Direct (private) Messaging function." The spokesman also said that it is the responsibility of Council staff to clear dog fouling when it is found in a public area.
This information may come as reassurance to those irritated by consistent dog fouling on the pavements and other public areas around Islay, but it raises the question as to whether the measures in place are sufficient if the problem is at the level it is when there are Enforcement Wardens already in place, and in this day of austerity in Argyll and Bute Council it is unlikely that they will increase resources to tackle the problem.

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Theatre of Drams

With the promise of a ninth whisky distillery on Islay, it was only a matter of time before someone extended the whisky festivities on the island beyond the week long Festival of Music and Malt held annually at the end of May.
Rachel MacNeill, owner of Whisky for Girls (and Guys!) is hosting 'Theatre of Drams' in October and tickets are on sale from this month.

Rachel's festival will mainly be held in Bowmore Hall and she aims to offer variety to suit each person's needs with the offer to "book on a tasting, a talk, a workshop, anything you fancy."

In previous years Rachel has run Whisky Course Islay which will be incorporated in Theatre of Drams although events can all be booked individually even for those not taking part in the course.
Information from Rachel says, "Masters from all areas, both geographical and technical, of the industry will be on Islay to share their wisdom, wit and whisky with everyone. The course structure will be similar to the last two years, with the actual whisky making process being followed in a linear fashion and practical learning from participating Islay Distilleries."

The full five day course has space for 22 people to partake, and Rachel can be contacted on rachel@wildandmagicislay.com for more information and booking details.

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NEXT ISSUE ON SALE 4 March 2017

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islay info

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islay community council

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Islay Diary 2017

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