Gaelic Literature of the Isle of Skye: an annotated  bibliography   


Traditional anonymous poetry and song:  Individual items  L - N







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chaidh Ridire a dh’ òl’.  See: ‘ , hùg o, húg o’ in the Frances Tolmie Collection  II



dhomh romh ‘n Fheinn a muigh’.  See: ‘Laoidh na Nhighinne





Leabhar na Feinne.  Edited by J. F. Campbell.  Vol. 1.  London: Spottiswoode and Co., 1872, pp. 165-166.


This Fenian ballad is from the MS collection of the Rev. Alexander Campbell of Portree.  J. F. Campbell concludes that it is a modern version of the old ballad ‘Laoidh an Dùirn’, of which he had no other Scottish version.  He gives extracts from an Irish version on pp. 166-167.


There are one hundred and forty-six lines in ‘Làmh-fhad’, beginning with ‘Chaidh Fionn is Oscar is Mac Morn’.



Millegàraidh’.  See: The Frances Tolmie Collection II



‘Laoidh Dhiarmaid’


i     Leabhar na Feinne.  Edited by J. F. Campbell.  Vol. 1.  London: Spottiswoode and Co., 1872, p. 113


ii    Songs of the Hebrides.  Edited by Marjory Kennedy-Fraser and Kenneth MacLeod.  London: Boosey and Co., 1909, pp. 110-113.


iii   Journal of the Folk-Song Society, 16 (1911) [The Frances Tolmie Collection], 245-246, 248-249.


All but one of these versions are from Skye.  The first is from Captain Alexander Morison of Skye and Inverness.  The second version is a traditional one from Janet MacLeod of Eigg, who learnt it in her native Skye.  Both versions have similar opening lines: ‘Dearg Mac Deirg gur mise bhean’ and ‘Dearg Mac Deirg gura mi do bhean’.  Frances Tolmie got the first of her two versions from Margaret MacLeod of Portree.  Tunes, different from each other, are given for

all versions except the first.


For an account of various traditions concerning ‘Laoidh Dhiarmaid’ see the third volume of Popular Tales of the West Highlands (Campbell 1892:60-102).  See also in this bibliography Dàn an Deirg mhic Druidhinn.



‘Laoidh Fhraoich’


i    Journal of the Folk-Song Society, 16 (1911)

[The Frances Tolmie Collection], 246-247.


ii    Carmina Gadelica.  Edited by Alexander Carmichael.  Vol. 2. 

Edinburgh: T. and A. Constable, 1900, p. 276.

2nd edition.  Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1928, p. 289.


The first version has four four-line stanzas, beginning with ‘Thàinig easlainte throm, throm’, with an English translation and the tune in staff notation.  Frances Tolmie got this version in 1870 from Margaret MacLeod of Portree.  The second version has only one stanza, beginning with ‘B’ fhaide do shleagh na slat shiùil’.  It was taken down in 1861 from Kenneth Morrison of Trithion, Minginish.



‘Laoidh na Nhighinne


Leabhar na Feinne.  Edited by J. F. Campbell.  Vol. 1.  London: Spottiswoode and Co., 1872, p. 137.


Orally collected by Alexander Carmichael from Eachann Domhnallach, Eachann Mac Iain ‘ic Iain ‘ic Eoghainn, of Talisker in Skye who was probably a nephew of the poet Raonull Domhnallach, Raonull Mac Iain ‘ic Eobhainn. There

are one hundred and fifty-two lines, beginning with ‘La dhomh romh ‘n Fheinn a muigh’.   For another ballad collected from Eachann Domhnallach, see ‘Carbad Alaire Chuchuillin.



‘Laoidh Oscair.  See: The Frances Tolmie Collection II



Latha dhomh air Sliabh an Deirg an Eirinn


i      Beáloideas: the Journal of the Folklore of Ireland Society,

15 (1945), 237-242.


ii    TGSI, 39-40 (1942-1950), 178-179.


iii   TGSI, 49 (1974-1976), 393-395.


Verse runs from the tale of Conall Ulaban Mac Righ Cruachan.  The first version is the fullest and is included in the transcription of the tale which Calum I. MacLean got from his aunt, Peggie Maclean.  The second version has fifteen lines and is in Calum I. MacLean’s ‘Traditional Songs from Raasay’  (TGSI, 39-40:176-192).  The third version is from Sorley MacLean’s ‘Some Raasay Traditions’ (TGSI, 49:377-397).



‘Lath’ Leathag’.  See: ‘Oran Arabhaig’ in the Frances Tolmie Collection II



Léineag phleatach shròil’.  See: ‘An Tuairisgeal’



An Long Eireannach’.  See: The Frances Tolmie Collection II



An Luadh Sìthe’.  See: The Kenneth MacLeod Collection



Màigean’.  See: ‘Cha ‘n fhaigh duine Màigean’ in the Frances Tolmie Collection I



Marbh-rann do Mhaistir Donull Mac Cuinn, Ministeir a bha ann an Cille Mhuire Throternis san Eilean-Sgiathanach’


Cochruinneacha Taoghta de Shaothair nam Bard Gaelach.  Edited by Alexander and Donald Stewart.  Duneidin: T. Stiuart, 1804, pp. 20-28.


An elegy for the Rev. Donald MacQueen, who was minister of Kilmuir in Skye for forty-five years during the 18th Century.  He was famed both as a minister and man of letters: he was an associate of Dr. Johnson and was a strong

believer in the authenticity of MacPherson’s Ossian.   For further information see Alexander Nicolson’s History of Skye (Nicolson 1930:323).


This is an elegy within the Gaelic elegiac tradition, with its motifs of a people bereft of a leader, praise for his hospitality, wisdom etc.  Interestingly, there is very little explicitly religious comment.  There are twenty-three eight-line

stanzas, beginning with ‘ ‘S i bhliadhna ùrsa thug am beum orm.  Composed to the air of Iain Lom’sOran do Mharcus Atholl’.



Marbh-rann do Sheumas Domhnullach, Fear Sceaboist


Orain Nuadh Ghaelach.  Domhnul MacLeoid.  Inbhirnis: Eoin Young, 1811, dd. 50-56.


The subject of this elegy was the son of John MacDonald, II of Heisker.  He joined Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745 and after the rebellion became a merchant in Dunvegan and Portree.  He eventually bought the Skeabost estate (MacDonald 1904:495-496).


There are sixteen eight-line stanzas, beginning with ‘Chuala mi sgeul ga innse ac’ ‘.  The metre is cumha.



Marbhrann do Shir Seumas Macdhomhnuill Shleibhte


The MacDonald Collection of Gaelic Poetry.  Edited by the Revs. A. and A. MacDonald.  Inverness: Northern Counties Ltd., 1911, pp. 101-102.


An elegy for Sir James MacDonald, eighth Baronet of Sleat, styled the ‘Scottish Marcellus’, who died in Rome in 1766 and was buried there.


There are sixty-seven lines, beginning with ‘Gur e sgeula ar léiridh / ‘S ar sgaraidh le chéile’ in nine stanzas of irregular length.  The metre is an irregular strophic one.



Mhàiri bhàn a’ bhroillich ghlé ghil’.  See: ‘Caoidh Màthar’ in the Frances Tolmie Collection I



‘Mhic Iarla nam Bratach Bàna


Gaelic Songs of Skye.  Cairistìona Mhàrtainn.  Taigh na Teud: An t-Eilean Sgitheanach, 2001, p. 81


From Seonag NicLeòid..  Seven couplets and a vocable refrain.



Mhnàthan a’ ghlinne so!’.  See: The Frances Tolmie Collection II



Mhuire ‘s mistha fo mhulad’.  See: ‘Cumha Peathar’



Mhùirnein mo ghaoil’.  See: ‘Eala fo leòn’ in the Kennedy-Fraser Collection (Songs of the Hebrides 2)



Miann a’ Bhàird Aosda


i     Comh-chruinneachidh Orannaigh Gaidhealach.  Le Raonuill MacDomhnuill.  [The Eigg Collection].  Duneidiunn: Walter Ruddiman, 1776, dd. 1-5.


ii     A Collection of Ancient and Modern Gaelic Poems and Songs.  Edited by John Gillies.  Perth: for John Gillies, 1786, pp. 158-162.


iii   Co’-chruinneachadh de dh’ Orain agus de Luinneagaibh Thaghta Ghae’lach.  Le P. MacPharlain.  Dun-Eudainn: T. Stiubhart, 1813, dd. 21-26.


iv   Sàr-Obair nam Bàrd Gaelach.  Edited by John MacKenzie.  Edinburgh: MacLachlan and Stewart, 1872 (First edition, 1841), pp. 14-16.


v     A Treatise on the Language, Poetry and Music of the Highland Clans.  Donald Campbell.  Edinburgh: D. R. Collie and Son, 1862, pp. 133-135.


Neil MacLeod discusses this poem at length in his article ‘Miann a’ Bhàird Aosda (TGSI, 19:89-98) and is in no doubt concerning its ancient origins.  However, Professor Derick Thomson argues convincingly in his article ‘Bogus Gaelic Literature c.1750-c.1820 (TGSG, 5:172-188) for its being an 18th Century forgery, albeit one of the better ones of its time.


The poem’s connection with Skye is a tenuous one.  Professor Thomson, in the article referred to above, mentions that Mrs. Grant of Laggan believed it to be of Skye origin.  Neil MacLeod, in the article referred to above, makes no mention of a Skye origin and surely as a Skye man himself he would have been aware of such a connection if it existed.  However, the Rev. D. Lamont appears to accept that the poem may have originated in Skye and suggests that in that case, Strath is the only place answerable to its landmarks (Lamont 1913:108-112).



Moch a theid i reubadh chuanta’.  See: ‘An Long Reubadh’ in the Kennedy-Fraser Collection (Songs of the Hebrides 2)



‘Mo Chruinneag Dhonn


The Gesto Collection of Highland Music.  Compiled by Keith Norman MacDonald.  Leipzig: Oscar Brandsetter for the compiler, 1895, p. 37.


Typical of the nineteenth century Gaelic love songs which were influenced by popular English romantic song.  References to Edinbane, Blaaven and the Storr would seem to indicate a Skye origin.  There are four four-line verses, beginning with ‘ ‘S ann thug mi ‘n gaol do ‘n cruinneig dhonn’.


The air has been modified from ‘ ‘S Truagh a Righ’.  Two sets are given, with the initials ‘E. M. M.’ appended to one.  This may have been Miss Emily MacLeod of MacLeod, possibly the ‘Queen of the Fairies’ referred to by Dr. MacDonald in the preface as having helped him with the arrangement of the music.  For further references to Miss Emily MacLeod see The Old Songs of Skye (Bassin 1977: 166) and Leabhar na Feinne (Campbell 1872: iv).



Moch Di-luain ghabh I ‘n cuan


TGSI, 49 (1974-1976), 390.


Two lines of a Raasay version of this song, quoted by Sorley MacLean in his article ‘Some Raasay Traditions’ (TGSI, 49:377-397).



Mo nighean donn na hog


Gairm, 76 (Am Foghar 1971), 301-302.


From the Rev. Tormod Domhnallach’s article ‘Aoirean agus Luinneagan Eibhinn’ (Gairm, 76:299-319).  Song of a Skye sailor who had a girl in more than one port!  Four quatrains and a refrain.



‘Mo nighean donn a Cornaig’.  See: The Kennedy-Fraser Collection (Songs of the Hebrides 2)



‘Mo nighean dubh, mo nighean dubh’.  See: The Kennedy-Fraser Collection (Songs of the Hebrides 3)



‘Mo Robairneach gaolach’.  See:

‘Oran Gaoil, le ban-tighearn de theaghlach Shleibhte



‘Mo roghainn ‘s mo rùn a chunna mi ‘n


i      The Highlander (19th August 1876), p. 3


ii    Carmina Gadelica.  Vol. 6.  Edited by Angus Matheson.  Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1971, p. 100.


A love song in which a young man first sees his sweetheart when she is plucking water-lily roots.  These roots were used to make a black dye and, growing as they did in deep water, plucking them was very hazardous.


The first version is from Niall MacLeòid and has ten verse-couplets and a refrain.  The second version has two verse-couplets and a refrain with an English translation.



‘Mo shùil a’ d’ dhéigh


An Deo-Greine, 4 (1908-1909), 41.


A Skye version of this song, from Miss A. C. Whyte’s Mod prizewinning collection.  It became a very popular Mod song and appears in a slightly modified version in Coisir a Mhòid I I (An Comunn Gaidhealach 1913: 47).  There are four verses and a refrain beginning ‘O chòin! mo chailin ‘s mo shùil as do dhéigh’ in an amhran metre.


This song bears a resemblance to an Irish song, ‘ ‘S mi sùgradh le’ in MS 14876 in the National Library of Scotland.  Both songs are in the same popular song metre, both have the theme of the deserted lover and there is a close resemblance between the third verse of the Scottish song and the second verse of the Irish song.



Nach truagh an teachdair am bàs


Strath: In Isle of Skye.  Rev. D. Lamont.  Glasgow: Archibald Sinclair, 1913, p. 123.


Part of a Strath girl’s lament for her dead brother.  Two stanzas in a cumha metre, printed as four quatrains.



Nach creid iad’.  See: The Frances Tolmie Collection II



Nàile bho ’.  See: ‘Tàladh Dhomhnaill Ghuirm’



Nam biodh tri sgìlinn agam


Gairm, 76 (Am Foghar 1971), 311-312.


From the Rev. Tormod Domhnallach’s article ‘Aoirean agus Luinneagan Eibhinn’ (Gairm, 76:299-319).  Eight lines of a port-a-beul.



‘Nighean Bhàn Ghrùlainn


i     An t-Oranaiche.  Edited by Gilleasbuig Mac-na-Ceardadh.  Glasgow: Archibald Sinclair, 1879, pp. 366-368.


ii    Mac-Talla (6th April 1900), p. 288.


iii   Gaelic Songs of Nova Scotia.  Edited by Helen Creighton and Calum MacLeod.  Ottawa: Dept. of the Secretary of State, 1964, pp. 176-178.


Love song composed to a girl in Eigg.  The second and third versions appear to be derived from the first.  Eight quatrains and a refrain beginning ‘Thug mi rùn, ‘s chuir mi ùigh’.  The third version has an English prose translation, with the tune in staff notation.  Composed, according to An t-Oranaiche, upon the model of ‘Mo nigh’n mhalda.



‘Nighean Rìgh Eireann’.  See: The Kenneth MacLeod Collection



Nighneag a’ chùil duinn


i     From the Hebrides.  Edited by Marjory Kennedy-Fraser and Kenneth MacLeod.  Glasgow: Paterson’s Publications, [1925], p. xii.


ii    Gaelic Songs of Skye.  Cairistìona Mhàrtainn.  Taigh na Teud: An t-Eilein Sgitheanach, 2001, p. 91. 


The first version is from A. Matheson of Skye.  The second version is from Trotternish in Skye and has six three-line verses and a refrain.



Nis thoir do bhainne’.  See: The Kennedy-Fraser Collection  (From the Hebrides).



Nuair a dh’ fhàg mise ‘s t-Earrach


TGSI, 52 (1980-1982), 181-182.


From Neil J. MacKinnon’s article ‘Strath, Skye – the End of the Nineteenth Century’ (TGSI, 52:155-197).  Exile song of a seaman.  Three eight-line verses in an amhran metre.



Nuair fhuair an “Eliza” / Mo Shesie air bòrd


Skye: Iochdar-Trotternish and District.  William MacKenzie.  Glasgow: Alex. MacLaren and Sons, 1930, p. 103.


Eight lines of a song commemorating a celebrated nineteenth century elopement:, that of Donald MacDonald of Monkstadt in Skye with Jessie MacDonald of Balranald in North Uist.  For another song about the affair, see Fàilte dhuit, deagh shlàinte leat’.



‘ ‘N uair theid thu dh’ Airigh-Bhuachain’.  See: The Frances Tolmie Collection II



‘ ‘N uair thig mo Bodach-sa dhachaidh’.  See: The Frances Tolmie Collection II






















Traditional: known authorship

A-C       D-Domhnall       Domhnallach-Dz        E–G       H–L       M–MacA       MacB–MacC        MacD        MacE-MacK,  MacLa-MacLeod        MacLeòid A-H        MacLeòid I-Z        MacM-MacN       MacO-MacZ      M      N      O-Q      R-Z


Traditional: anonymous

A-B      C-D      E-K      L-N       O       P-Z     


Traditional: collections

Annie Arnott       An Cabairneach        Carmina Gadelica        Catriona Dhùghlas        Tormod Domhnallach                  Marjory Kennedy-Fraser         Angus Lamont        K. N. MacDonald         Johan MacInnes          Hugh MacKinnon          Calum I. MacLean         Sorley MacLean        Kenneth MacLeod         Niall MacLeòid        Màiri Nighean Alasdair

Cairistiona Mhàrtainn         Alexander Morison          Kenneth Morrison         Angus Nicolson          Portree HS Magazine   Lachlann Robertson         Frances Tolmie I          Frances Tolmie II



Somhairle MacGill-Eain         The New Poetry



Books etc: A-L         Books etc: MacA-MacL         Books etc: MacM-Z   Periodicals, MSS, AV



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