Isleornsay (Eilean Iarmain in Gaelic) is clustered around the site of a natural harbour which was originally utilised by clan MacDonald from at least as early as the 1700's. As the herring fishing prospered so Isleornsay thrived, with stone piers built by the 1820's, and, with steamers using the Crinan Canal en route to and from Glasgow, the beautiful area became a noted resort. An unusual clam to fame is the building of Skye's first public conveniences! By the latter 19th century however, with the age of the railway bringing decline to the steamer trade, prosperity wained and the settlement faded back into the quieter and idyllic existence we see today.
The beautiful land and sea scapes looking from the harbour towards the Knoydart Hills on the mainland take in the island of Ornsay and the islet called Eilean Sionnach, where Ornsay Lighthouse (originally built in 1857 and automated in 1962) is situated. The ruins of an ancient nunnery may be discovered if one crosses to the island on foot at low tide. At the quayside the white painted traditional buildings of Hotel Eilean Iarmain are attractively clustered, together with an art gallery and other businesses. The remainder of the small settlement extends south west around the shore, where it then blends into neighbouring Camuscross.