<Skye Gaelic poetry and song collections: Tormod Domhnallach (Norman MacDonald) Gaelic Literature of the Isle of Skye: an annotated bibliography



Gaelic Literature of the Isle of Skye: an annotated  bibliography   


Traditional poetry and song:  collectors and collections







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DOMHNALLACH, Tormod  (1904-1978)  [Poetry]


Tormod Domhnallach, Rev. Norman MacDonald, was born at Valtos, Staffin in 1904.  He served as a minister of the Presbyterian Church in Canada from 1933 until 1942 when he returned to Scotland and served in a number of Church of Scotland parishes until his retirement in 1972.  He died in 1978.

(Biographical information from Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae (Lamb 1961 : 396) and Tocher, 30 (110-111))


The Rev. Domhnallach recorded a considerable volume of material for the School of Scottish Studies in the University of Edinburgh.  He contributed numerous Gaelic folklore articles and sermons to periodicals and as a

collector of traditional Gaelic poetry he did much valuable work.


The following list is intended to indicate the scope, as far as published works are concerned, of the Rev. Tormod Domhnallach’s work as a collector of the Gaelic poetry and song of Skye. The work of poets, as well as poems and songs of unknown authorship, included in the various articles noted here, is listed on an individual basis in the appropriate sections of this bibliography.


A number of songs recorded by Tormod Domhnallach (Norman MacDonald) may be heard on the Tobar an Dualchais site.



(1)   Tormod Domhnallach.  An t-Each Uisge’.  An Gaidheal, 52 (1957), 36-37.


Article includes versions of song ‘A Mhór, a Mhór, till ri d’ mhacan, by an unknown composer.


(2)  Tormod Domhnallach.  Dioghlum bho Achaidhean na Bàrdachd’. 

(i): Gairm, 51 (An Samhradh 1965), 270-278; 

(ii): Gairm, 52 (Am Foghar 1965), 316-323); 

(iii): Gairm, 53 (An Geamhradh 1965), 29-42.


The Rev. Domhnallach’s intention is to give proper recognition to some of those who might be considered to be minor poets, more particularly those long dead who are in danger of being forgotten.  He deals exclusively with poets from his native Skye, and as well as quoting selections from their work, gives a variety of information and anecdote concerning them.  It is an interesting and valuable collection, including material appearing for the first time in print.  The following is a list of all the poets dealt with:


(i)     Iain Mac a’ Phearsain of Fladda in Trotternish, Am Bàrd MacGuthain of Kilmuir (Iain MacCuithein),  Domhnall MacGuthain of Gàros in Trotternish,


(ii)   Am Maor Beag of Kilmoluag, Armchul Domhnallach of Uig (Iain Domhnallach), Màiri Mhór nan Oran (gives two of her songs appearing for the first time in print), Domhnall MacNéill of Earlish.


(iii)  Gilleasbuig MacLeòid of Grealin, Domhnall Caimbeul of Dunvegan, Domhnall MacMhaoilean of Breakish in Strath, Màrtainn  MacMhaoilean (son of Domhnall), Niall MacDhonnchaidh (Niall Pìobaire), of Breakish, Bean Fhearchair Domhnallach of Loch Eynort, Anna NicGhill’ Eathain (Anna Bheag Bealach an t-Sliachd), Gilleasbuig MacGillIosa, Alasdair Mac an Toisich of Breacradh in

Trotternish, Domhnall MacGuthain of Gàros.


(3)    Tormod Domhnallach.  ‘Na Buidsichean (1)’.  Gairm, 55 (An Samhradh 1966), 203-209.


Includes (pp. 206-207) a lament by an unknown composer, ‘Cumha Lachlainn Màrtainn’.


(4)    Tormod Domhnall.  Sàr Bhàird am Beul-Aithris’.  Gairm, 62 (An t-Earrach 1968), 183-185.


Includes (p. 185) a version of some lines of verses said to have been composed at her sister’s funeral by Màiri Nighean Alasdair Ruaidh.


(5)    Tormod Domhnallach.  ‘Na h-Onrachdain’.  Gairm, 75 (An Samhradh 1971), 225-240.


On pp. 232-233 there is a version of the song connected with the ‘Colann gun Cheann’ legend: ‘Is fada bhuam fhìn bonn Beinn Edra.


(6)    Tormod Domhnallach.  Aoirean agus Luinneagan Eibhinn’.  Gairm, 76 (Am Foghar 1971), 299-319.


Poems and songs from various parts of the Gaidhealtachd are included.  The following are identifiable as being from Skye:


‘Mo nighean donn na hog (authorship unknown),  ‘A’ bhanacheard a rug an gille’ by Teàrlach MacMhathain (Teàrlach a’ Phosta), ‘Dh’ éirich Tormod Og is Màrtainn’  by Gilleasbuig MacLeòid of Grealin,  Songs by Aonghas Peutan of Bràighe an Taobh Sear,  Songs by Niall Peutan (son of Aonghas),  ‘Nam biodh  trì sgilinn agam (authorship unknown),  ‘Hug ó ri, ‘n ó, ri , ri bhó (authorship unknown),  O fhuirbidh,  fhuirbidh o ho’ (partly of T.D’s own composition), ‘Gur moch a rinn mi dùsgadh’ by Iain Mac a’ Phearsain of Fladda



















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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