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Towards the west end of Castlebay is the Barra Heritage & Cultural Centre, or Dualchas. The centre is run by a charitable trust formed by the Comunn Eachdraidh Bharraidh agus Bhatarsaidh, the Barra and Vatersay Historical Society, and has been open since 1996.
Dualchas is open seasonally (see details on right) and if you are going beyond the cafe there a small admission fee, charged to help support the work of the centre and the Society.
Entry is from the rear and inside Dualchas you find a bright and welcoming space. The cafe offers excellent views south and as well as the obvious light refreshments offers a wide selection of freshly prepared hot and cold food on a daily menu.
The rest of Dualchas comprises a fascinating range of displays about aspects of the history of the two islands (Barra and Vatersay), plus access to the extensive archives held here about the islands and their people. As part of this the Society offers a range of genealogical services to those wishing to trace their roots on the islands - see their website for details.
For casual visitors Dualchas offers local history displays, art exhibitions and cultural events in two galleries. When we visited one of these was home to "The Living Room", a recreation of the lounge of a typical island home in the 1940s. This provided a way for Comunn Eachdraidh Bharraidh agus Bhatarsaidh to display part of their collection of artefacts from across the history of the islands.
The second gallery contains a fascinating collection of old photographs of the islands; collections of everyday tools; and a display of artwork produced by children of Castlebay Primary School.