Isle of Islay
The later medieval period marked a "cultural high point" with the transfer of the Hebrides to the Kingdom of Scotland and the emergence of the Clan Donald Lordship of the Isles, originally centred at Finlaggan. During the 17th century the power of Clan Donald waned, but improvements to agriculture and transport led to a rising population, which peaked in the mid-19th century. This was followed by substantial forced displacements and declining resident numbers.
Today, it has over 3,000 inhabitants, and the main commercial activities are agriculture, malt whisky distillation and tourism. The island has a long history of religious observance, and Scottish Gaelic is spoken by about a quarter of the population. Its landscapes have been celebrated through various art forms, and there is a growing interest in renewable energy. Islay is home to many bird species such as the wintering populations of Greenland white-fronted and barnacle goose, and is a popular destination throughout the year for birdwatchers. The climate is mild and ameliorated by the Gulf Stream.
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