The Chiesa del Purgatorio is dedicated to all saints and the souls in purgatory. It was first consecrated in 1658, erected under the patronage of the Mazza family. The earthquake that nearly levelled Ragusa, left this church mainly untouched, and in 1694, it took over some of the functions of the nearby church of San Giovanni, that had moved into a new district of Patro. In 1729, this church was placed under the jurisdiction of the church of San Giorgio.
A bell-tower was added in the early 18th-century. But too small for the district, in 1740, a new church was begun with a central nave and two chapels, separated by columns with Corinthian capitals (1741). The three order facade was completed in 1757, but the presbytery completed in 1787, when it underwent reconsecration.
The church is preceded by a steep staircase to a small piazza degli Archi. The chapels of the Holiest Sacrament and the Holiest Crucifix have altars respectively depicting St John the Evangelist and the Addolorata. The main altarpiece depicts Saints and Souls in Purgatory by Francesco Manno. The cornice has depictions of earthly glory interspersed with skulls as a Memento mori.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.