Lismore’s big dig gets a helping hand from Brendan

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It was a far cry from the House of Commons when MP Brendan O’Hara swapped his business suit and the green benches for a pair of old jeans and walking boots to volunteer on the Big Lismore Dig.

The volunteers were uncovering a medieval cathedral dating as far back as the late 12th or 13th centuries and which served the newly created diocese of Argyll.

The archaeological project, which began in 2016, is led by Dr Bob Hay of the Lismore Heritage Centre and Dr Claire Ellis of Argyll Archaeology.

With funding from the Heritage Lottery, the team was able to unearth historical artefacts such as medieval pottery, skulls and skeletons.

The main aim, however, of this part of the dig is to reveal the walls of the nave so that Argyll’s cathedral can be seen by the community and visitors.

Mr O’Hara said: ‘This is a fascinating piece of local history. Never did I expect when I took on the job of MP, I would be part of an archaeological dig to uncover such a significant find as this.

‘To think that we are looking back 700 years is quite astonishing and it just shows again what is going on here in Argyll and Bute. It is so important that we know our history and where we have come from.

‘I would like to thank Bob and Claire for inviting me along and, with funding permitting, I hope they will be able to continue with this next year.  I would love to do it again.’