3227: Arivruach, Lewis

Arivruach is a crofting township which lies at the junction of Tob Cheann Tarabhaigh and three miles west of Loch Seaforth.

The name of Arivruach is said to have originated from a croft which is now part of 4 Seaforth Head. It must have originally been a ‘shieling on the brae’ which is the English equivalent. A Mackenzie family built their house on that site, the ruins of which can still be seen as well as the lazy beds (feannagan) they cultivated around it. As the village grew, running parallel to the Mackenzie croft, the name stuck, hence Airidhbhruaich. That part of 4 Seaforth Head when the Mackenzie croft was is still known as “Seann Airidhbhruaich” (Old Arivruach). The Mackenzie family later moved to Balallan.

JM Macleod, Balallan has his own views on the origin of the name Airidhbhruaich; “the present Airidhbhruaich is a fairly young village derived, I think, from ‘airidh’ – a masculine noun meaning a ‘green grove’ and ‘bruthach’, a ‘bank; not from ‘airigh’ – a feminine noun meaning ‘shieling’ and ‘bruthach’; otherwise it would be ‘Airigh na Bruaiche’.

This village was also made famous in local tradition as the place where Irish plunderers lifted Donald Cam Macaulay‘s cattle in his absence while he himself was away on business in the Flannan Isles. The plunderers paid with their lives, for Donald overtook them at Abhainn Sgailadail and slew every one of them.

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View of Arivruach

View of Arivruach