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St Columba's Chapel

St Columba's

Drimnin Trust

Supporting Music, the Arts, Heritage

and the Environment in Drimnin

What We Do

St Columba's Drimnin Trust is a charity established in 2005 to promote music and the arts and protect the heritage and environment for the remote community of Drimnin on the west coast of Scotland.

It offers musical residencies to ensembles to help them develop their playing through intensive practice time together or for composition combined with concerts in the restored Drimnin Chapel, in schools and elsewhere in the community for the benefit of the ensembles and the local community.  The Trust offers other concerts and arts in the Chapel, provides a venue for services and weddings, conserves the heritage of the community including the Chapel and Drimnin Mill, and aims to help protect the Drimnin environment.

what we do
what we do
Chapel before Restoration

History of Drimnin Chapel


The Chapel occupies the site of the ancient Drimnin Castle, on a rocky knoll overlooking the Sound of Mull, the Atlantic Ocean and Tobermory.  These lands were once those of the Macleans of Drimnin who lost control of their property after supporting the Jacobite uprising.  Having passed through the hands of several short-term owners it was purchased in 1835 by Sir Charles Gordon, a wealthy Edinburgh lawyer.

The Gordons were Catholics in an almost exclusively Protestant area.  Not surprisingly the local population was disapproving when Sir Charles demolished the castle and replaced it with a Catholic chapel in 1838, reusing much of the stone from the castle.

Local hostility was exacerbated by the appointment of a full-time priest, who lived in the newly constructed Hermitage close to the Chapel, and by making the Chapel the centre of worship for Catholics from Mull and Ardnamurchan who came by boat to the nearby jetty.


After the untimely death of Sir Charles in 1845, use of the Chapel gradually diminished until it finally fell into disuse and disrepair, being replaced by a chapel within Drimnin House.  It was there that Saint Mary McKillop, Australia's first saint whose parents came from Roy Bridge near Fort William, took Mass on her visit to the UK in the late 19th century.  Following the sale of the Estate by the Gordon family in 1943, the Chapel deteriorated and lost its roof, but was given a Grade B listing to protect its historical and scenic importance.

Attempts to secure planning consent for conversion to a house were denied in the 1990s, leaving the Chapel to deteriorate further despite efforts by the Highland Council to facilitate a rescue plan.


Soon after the Millennium plans were developed to restore the Chapel to its original condition, initially as a centre for music and the arts, through the creation of a new charity - St Columba's Drimnin Trust.

Architect's drawings from 1838 show the form of the chapel as it is today - a simple rectangular chancel facing north with a bell tower at the south end.  The exterior is harled in lime, with sandstone facings and a roof of Easdale slates.  The interior was plastered on laths, with a barrel vaulted ceiling, richly decorated on a blue background. Steep stairs at the rear led to a small balcony and a vestry in the tower - the only part of the Chapel to have any heating.

The Chapel has been restored as far as possible to its original form, with the addition of lighting, power and air-source heating.  Work commenced in 2008 and was completed in 2012, when it was rededicated in the presence of HRH The Earl of Wessex.

Routes Quartet

Musical Residencies

The aim of Drimnin Residencies is to provide professional ensembles, often but not always made up of younger musicians, with the space and time, in an inspiring environment and the dedicated venue of the Chapel, to learn new repertoire or to create new music.  Most are traditional or classical musicians but other genres are equally welcome.  Either one or two ensembles may be present at the same time, in some cases with a coach.  The Chapel (and Drimnin House or another venue in the community for dual residencies) provides the practice space and each residency concludes with a concert in the Chapel and possibly some involvement in schools or other venues.

The residencies will be of great value to ensembles whose members are towards the end of their college time, are early in their professional careers, or want time out to reflect and recreate at a later point.  At present the Trust does not have a piano. Residencies are normally between April and September and last from less than a week to two weeks.

The Trust provides the venue for no charge and aims to reimburse travel costs.  Accommodation and all meals are provided at no cost in Drimnin House, which also offers space for private practice.



Upcoming Concerts

Thursday 27th June 7pm

The Astera Ensemble is a dynamic young European woodwind quintet (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn) founded in 2019.  Its members, representing four nationalities, are graduates of the Haute Ecole de Musique de Lausanne.

Winner of the 2023 Carl Nielsen International Chamber Music Competition for wind quintets, the jury noted its refined sound, precision, energy and deep respect for the composer.

Fresh from performing at the Lavaux Festival on the shores of Lake Geneva, the quintet has performed widely across Europe and for radio and is Artist in Residence at the Fondation Singer-Polignac in Paris, while its members have performed with leading European orchestras.

The varied programme is an opportunity to hear music that will feature in the quintet’s first album to be recorded next month, including varied works by Samuel Barber (Summer Music), Claude Debussy (Petit Suite), Fazil Say (Alevi Dedeler raki masasinda) and Carl Nielsen (Wind Quintet Op 43).

Refreshments will be available in the interval.


Saturday 27th July at 3.00pmKatherine Wren and Lisa Robertson will be giving a concert in their ‘On a Wing and a Prayer’ series (nordicviola).  Katherine and Lisa are spending a week together in Morvern in May researching ecological issues in the area and creating new music based on their experiences.  Lisa is a native of Lochaline so we are particularly pleased that the project includes a concert in Morvern.


The concerts are free but donations, which can be made at the chapel, are very much appreciated to support the work of the charity. 




Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th MayThe Kleio String Quartet returned to Drimnin after its triumph at the Carl Nielsen International Competition in Copenhagen, where it won first prize immediately following its Drimnin residency last year. The Kleio was joined this year by Cuarteto Iberia an exciting young award-winning string quartet from Madrid with a diverse repertoire.  Coaching again provided by John Myerscough of the Doric Quartet and Mendelssohn on Mull.

We begun the weekend of concerts with three quartets by the undisputed classical masters of the genre, Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. The Cuarteto Iberia from Spain will open Saturday’s concert with Mozart's K.387 G major quartet, full of the joys of spring. The London-based Kleio Quartet will then perform Haydn's 'Rider' quartet Op. 74 No. 3, a rustic and dance-filled work. The Iberia's will end the concert with Beethoven's majestic and epic first 'Razumovsky' quartet Op. 59 No. 1.


On Sunday two classics from the repertoire - Haydn's Quartet in C Op. 74 No. 1, full of wit and invention, and Dvorak's glorious final quartet Opus 106 in G Major. In between these the Kleio Quartet will perform two movements for quartet by the American jazz trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis.

How to reserve seats

To reserve seats, and for planning purposes, please email or call 07767 443504, to let us know to which concerts you plan to come and the number of people in your party.

Concert prices

There is no charge for concerts but the Trust would appreciate a donation to help cover the cost of the concerts and residencies.  Small or large donations are welcome; many people choose to donate £10 per person.  Donations may be made in cash at the door.

Refreshments are provided at each concert free of charge.

past events

Past Events 2023

Easter Friday & Saturday 2023 - Kleio & Edenis Quartets

FRIDAY 7th April 2023  - 7.00pm -  Joint concert The Kleio Quartet /The Edenis Quartet

SATURDAY  8th April 2023 - 2.30pm - Joint concert The Kleio Quartet /The Edenis Quartet  -   Coffee available from 10.30 am and buffet lunch in Drimnin House from 12.15 pm  (Please pre-book)

The Artists
The Kleio Quartet, formed in 2019 at the International Chamber Academy in Switzerland, has since enjoyed a residency at Aldeburgh and has performed at venues such as the Wigmore Hall and Royal Festival Hall in London.  They will be travelling straight from their residency at Drimnin to Denmark for the Copenhagen International Chamber Music Competition.

The Edenis Quartet, whose playing has been described as ‘magical’, has been selected to participate in the Royal Academy of Music’s Frost advanced string programme and has performed regularly in London as well as in France and at the Hatfield Music Festival.

The quartets are both coached by John Myerscough, the cellist of the renowned Doric Quartet, who is also music director of the Mendelssohn on Mull festival.  John is Professor of Cello and Chamber Music at the Royal Academy of Music.

special occasions
Chapel wedding.jpg

Special Occasions

The restoration has enabled this exceptional building to once again serve the local community and others that value and take inspiration from its intimate and peaceful setting.

With panoramic views of Mull, Ardnamurchan, and the Atlantic Ocean beyond this beautiful tip of the Morvern peninsula is ideal for those looking for somewhere a little different to celebrate their special occasion. 

your support

Your Support

The Trust is largely dependent on voluntary contributions to continue its work.  Some donations are made at concerts but they are welcome at any time.

As a charity, the Trust benefits from Gift Aid in the case of donations made by UK taxpayers, which results in a 25% uplift in the amount actually received by the Trust and a further tax saving for donors who pay higher rate tax.

If you would like to make a gift or leave a legacy for the Trust please contact the Company Secretary


call : +44(0)7767 443504

or : Scan Here

54 Mungosdail Mill 1854(edit).JPG

Drimnin Mill

the mill

The Drimnin water mill and its surrounding land were donated to the Trust in 2013 to ensure its conservation and prevent development on this historic site.  The Trust aims to conserve the fabric and make it accessible to the public.


The mill, the ruins of which lie in a bend of the Mungosdail River below the public road, is believed to date from the 17th century.  It is a conventional water mill, powered by a race that was fed from a pond on the upside of the road with a feeder channel from the river.  It served a wide area with farmers bringing their crops by cart or boat.

The miller lived in the adjacent Mill House - a residence of generous proportions as befitted one of the wealthier members of the community.


Get in Touch

St Columba's Drimnin Trust, Drimnin House, Drimnin, Morvern, PA80 5XZ, UK

(44) 7767 443504

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How to get here

Drimnin Chapel is located on Drimnin Estate at the end of the B849 road from Lochaline on the Morvern peninsula.  Vehicle access is typically from the Corran Ferry/Ardgour on Loch Linnhe or via the Fishnish/Lochaline ferry from the Isle of Mull

WHAT3WORDS Location grownup.lotteries.overture


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