Cornia Nou is a settlement dating from the Talayotic period (1000-750 B.C.) with two well preserved talayots of different types. The oldest and most spectacular is circular and measures around 26 metres in diameter, an impressive monument. It has a building in the facade with access at ground level; an inside passageway ascends to a set of steps leading up to the upper platform of the talayot.The other talaiot is considerably smaller and has a distinctive feature of a passageway covered with stone slabs crossing its diameter and joined to a wall. Excavation work carried out in 2007 uncovered the remains of pottery items dating from the post-Talayotic period in the 3rd century B.C. Plus, near the site there is a large Islamic necropolis with burial chambers carved out of the rock, which supports the hypothesis that rural settlements from the Muslim period were built on top of the sites from the Talayotic period.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.