The church of St. Eulalia in Beiro is a benchmark and example of Galician rural Romanesque, as it retains much of its original appearance. Given the similarity with the gate of the Claustra Nova, it can be dated at the early 13th century.
The main gate (with a doorway added centuries later) has two semicircular archivolts with vegetal decoration with a clear Matean influence, as well as the capitals. The original tympanum is not preserved but its support is; in it we can see some monstrous animal heads. On the gate, eaves are supported by largely figurative corbels, highlighting a man sitting with a book and another one drinking from a barrel.
The apse is divided into five parts, although one is partially covered by the sacristy. At the top and as a finish, an Agnus Dei. The corbels that support the roof contain figurative elements, animal ones (like the monkey that covers its ears) and vegetal ones. The windows are semicircular with checkered arches and supported by a pair of columns and figurative and vegetal capitals.
On the north side, a molded gate. In the impost we find a curious decoration, the body of a snake, while the tympanum represents a wolf.
In the interior, with a single nave plan and a semicircular apse, the Romanesque decoration focuses on the capitals. The one on the gospel side with four gryphons, a motif repeated in the apse window; the one in the epistle has vegetal decoration. A barrel vault covers the chancel, whose 16th-century coffered ceilings stand out.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.