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A Hebridean History is a book written by Donnelly in the 18th century. It is a source of information frequently used by the narrator to explain landmarks and events on the island.


Sometime in the late 1700's, Donnelly traveled to the Island as part of a charting expedition. He landed on the south side of the island and lived there for an undisclosed length of time amongst the Shepherds who dwelled on the Island. In his book, he records the legend of The Hermit and the cave he dwelled in, where the shepherds would leave offerings of fish and bread. He also writes of the history of the shepherd Jakobson, a lonely goatherd who built the Bothy in the hopes of securing a wife, but died two years after completing it from an unknown disease. As for the shepherds themselves, though Donnelly gained much of his information about the Island from them, he made no secret of his distain for their simple, religious lifestyle, as directed qouted here by the Narrator:

“A motley lot with little to recommend them. I have now spent three days in their company that is, I fear, enough for any man not born amongst them. Despite their tedious inclination to quote scripture, they seem to me the most godforsaken of all the inhabitants of the outer isles. Indeed, in this case, the very gravity of that term – "forsaken by God" – seems to find its very apex.”

Though it seems to be the only written source of information regarding the island, the Narrator admits that A Hebridean History is an incomplete record- Donnelly walked along the bay and up the mount, but never found the caves, nor the north side of the island, leaving his chartings unfinished. The Narrator also admits that Donnelly was suffering from syphilis as well as an addiction to laudenum while writing the book, which may have affected his perspective of the island and its inhabitants.

In the Game[]

Though its title is never mentioned out loud, A Hebridean History is mentioned and referred to by the Narrator many times throughout the game. He recounts the time he stole a copy of the book from Edinburgh Library, believing it wouldn't be missed as it hadn't been checked out since 1974. Near the end of the game, the Narrator states that he plans to either throw the book off the mount, or burn the book along with the rest of his belongings.

Multiple copies of the book can be found lying around in various places on the Island, typically in buildings and as part of the many shrines.


  • While the book is entirely fictional, Dan Pinchbeck confirmed that the book does indeed exist within the world of Dear Esther, and is not a delusion or fantasy of the Narrator.[1]