Gaelic Literature of the Isle of Skye: an annotated  bibliography   


Traditional poetry and song:  collectors and collections







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The periodical An Cabairneach was produced by the Portree High School branch of Comunn na h-Oigridh, the youth wing of An Comunn Gaidhealach.  Many of the contributors came from other islands than Skye and had come to Portree for their secondary level education, but I have not made any attempt to separate these from the Skye-born contributors. 


When discussing An Cabairneach’s prose content, Donald John MacLeod refers to its irreverence and zest (MacLeod 1976:215).  These qualities could also be said to apply to much of its poetry.  Of the thirty-two poems listed below, the majority are concerned with themes and topics of local interest.  Of these, many are very humorous, reflecting an important element in the verse of the village bards.


There is nature poetry, much of which is within the tradition of Gaelic nature poetry established in the eighteenth century, although one or two items have a distinctly modern cast.  Among the animal poems, there are some charming ones reminiscent of the work of English poets such as Walter de la Mare. 


Exile poetry is but sparsely represented, possibly because exile had not yet become a reality for the young poets.


Metrically, the trend is away from traditional Gaelic metres.



An Cabairneach (An t-Og Mhios 1944)


i     ‘Cuimse’, p. 3.


Amusing poem in a ballad-style metre.  Reminiscent of some of the work of Domhnall Grannd.


ii    ‘Mealladh Dùil’, p. 8.


A crofter’s disappointed hopes for a subsidy.  The metre is similar to that of the metrical psalms.


iii   ‘Cliù nan Armunn’, p. 12.


 Celebrates the exploits of Highland soldiers in WW2.


iv    ‘Guidhe a Chabairnich’, p. 15.


  A satire on Hitler.


v     ‘Seòlaidh mi a’ Gheòla Bhàn’, p. 15.


vi    Loch Seun’, p. 17.


  An attractive nature poem.


vii   ‘Gillean na Rathaid’, p. 21.


  An amusing address to road workers.


viii  Oran do Scalpaidh’, p. 23


ix    ‘An Cuilean’, p. 24.



An Cabairneach (An t-og Mhios 1945)


i    ‘An Taghadh’, p. 4.


In a limerick metre.


ii   ‘Na Suinn Nach Till’, p. 9,


Lament for soldiers lost in WW2.


iii  ‘Greusachd’, p. 13.


Tale of an elderly husband’s attempts to avoid buying his wife a new pair of shoes.


iv   Oran an Earraich’, p. 16.


v    ‘Do Roosevelt’, p. 21.


vi   ‘Sìle’, p. 22.


Charming poem about a pet lamb.  It was later set to music by Rhoda C. MacKay, winning for her a Mod prize for musical composition (Sruth (5th Oct. 1967), p. 8).


vii  ‘ ‘A Mheanbh-chuileag’, pp. 22-23.



An Cabairneach (An Céitean 1950)


i     ‘Tractor a’ Bhùird’, p. 3.


ii    ‘An Ciobair a’ leigeil a Choin’, p. 6.


A very accomplished poem.


iii   ‘Teachd an t-Samhraidh’, p. 7.


iv   ‘A’  Phiseag’, p. 11.


v    ‘Do na Treig’, p. 18.


Lament for members of the armed forced lost in WW2.


vi   ‘An Cuan’, p. 21.


vii ‘Muir-làn’, p. 24.


A modern poem: reflections upon the nature of man, inspired by the

movements of the sea.


viii ‘A’ Ghrian’, p. 25.



An Cabairneach (An Céitean 1962)


i     ‘A’ Chùis-uamhais’, p. 3.


Amusing tale of a monster which never was.


ii    ‘Subhachas’, p. 8.


An unlikely subject for a young poet – contentment in old age!


iii   ‘Dòmhnall MacPhàil’, p. 9.


Lament for a well-loved schoolteacher and champion of Gaelic.


iv   ‘Màiri’, p. 13.


Gothic tale of star-crossed lovers.


v    ‘An Coinnean’, p. 14


vi   ‘A’ Mhuc-mhara’, p. 18.


Tale of a whale washed up on the shore, and the fight among the villagers over the division of the spoils.






















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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© Sabhal Mòr Ostaig 2018