The oldest part of the Alskog church is the nave, dating from the first quarter of the 13th century. It displays an unusual southern portal, decorated with sculptures. Inside, the nave is divided in two parts by two central columns and has a vaulted ceiling. The tower is somewhat later but also from the early 13th century. Its portal show similarities with the tower portal of Visby Cathedral. The much larger choir and vestry were added circa 1300. The ambition was probably to rebuild the whole church into a larger, Gothic church, but for some reason only the eastern part of the church was rebuilt.
Few alterations have been made since the Middle Ages. During the 19th century, some windows were added and new pews installed. The church underwent a renovation in 1964-1965.
Of the furnishings, the triumphal cross, dating from circa 1200 is perhaps the most noteworthy, together with the richly carved baptismal font, complete with substantial traces of original colour, from the same time. A few separate medieval sculptures also survive, originally part of a 14th-century retable. The church windows have several preserved stained glass panes from around 1300, probably when the choir was built. They depict scenes from the life of Jesus. From the time after the reformation, the pulpit deserves mention. It was made in 1586 and is the oldest pulpit on Gotland. The church also has a pair of embroidered bags for collection of alms made in Istanbul in 1775. They were brought to the church by the priest at the Swedish legation in the city, who was the son of a pastor in Alskog Church.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.