St Finnan's Isle, also known as the Green Isle, is just up the loch from Dalilea. St Finan, followed in the footsteps of Saint Columba from Iona. He resided on the island (also known as Eilean Fhionnan) from where he spread the Christian faith to the denizens of the northern and southern banks of Loch Shiel, and then further afield to other districts in Lochaber. The tradition was continued by other missionaries from Iona for many centuries after his death.
The island became an ancient burial place for the chiefs of Moidart and a site of pilgrimage for the penitent. The burial ground still contains many of with ancient crosses, as well as the remains of an old church, ruined since the 1700s. The church was thought to be a simple, stoned roofed building with a crudely crafted altar. The date of erection of the church is unknown, but possibly mid 16th century. Its erection has been ascribed to both Allan nan Creach, a member of the Cameron clan, and to Allan Mac Ruari, 4th chief of the Clanranalds, although the latter is thought to be the more likely.
Allan nan Creach is reputed to have led a life full of plunder and pillage. However on becoming ill, he repented and committed himself to building churches as recompense for his earlier behaviour. However, before this most noble undertaking was complete, he recovered and declared that any church not roofed should be abandoned, as roofing was not part of the bargain he struck with God. According to legend this was the case for the church on the Green Isle.
However, the church is believed to predate the eccentricities of Allan nan Creach, and it more likely to have been built by another accomplished plunderer, Allan Mac Ruari, in recompense for murdering of a clergyman and for the destruction of another of church dedicated to St Finan at Invergarry.
The large cross in the foreground marks the burial spot of Reverend Charles MacDonald, author of 'Moidart or among the Clanranalds'.