Gaelic Literature of the Isle of Skye: an annotated  bibliography   


Traditional poets and songmakers:  Domhnallach – D-z







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DOMHNALLACH of Kensaleyre.   See MACDHOMHNAILL of Kensaleyre  




DOMHNALLACH, Armchul.  See DOMHNALLACH, Iain (of Uig)



DOMHNALLACH, Bean Fhearchair


Wife of a huntsman of Loch Aoineard in Skye.  See third version of song noted below.


Poca sìl an t-sealgair


i     Puirt-a-Beul – Mouth Tunes.  Edited by Keith Norman MacDonald.  Glasgow: Alex. MacLaren and Sons, 1901, p. 12.


ii   Journal of the Folk-song Society, 16 (1911)  [The France Tolmie Collection],  194-195


iii   Gairm,  53 (An Geamhradh 1965),  37-38


iv   Orain an Eilein: Gaelic Songs of Skye.  Cairistìona Mhàrtainn.  Taigh na Teud: An t-Eilean Sgitheanach, 2001, p. 102.


The first two versions are identical, Frances Tolmie being the source of both.  There are two couplets and a vocable refrain; the tune is in strathspey time.


The third version is in Tormod Domhnallach’s ‘Dioghlum bho Achaidhean na Bàrdachd (3) (Gairm, 53: 29-42).  While Frances Tolmie does not ascribe the song to any particular composer, the Rev. Domhnallach ascribes it to the wife of one Fearchar Domhnallach, Fearchar Sealgair, of Loch Aoineard.  He gives four verses and a vocable refrain.  The words and tune of the fourth version are from Eòin Dòmhnallach.


There are rhythmic and textual differences between the Tolmie and Domhnallach version, with some differences in the vocable refrain too.  However, they are both puirt-a-beul and clearly the same song.



DOMHNALLACH, Calum  (19th Century)


Born in Uig, Skye.  Emigrated to Cape Breton about 1841.


Domhnallach, Callum.  ‘Iain ‘ic Thearlaich far do lamh’,  Mac-Talla (6th April 1900), p. 288


Poem of ten eight-line stanzas.  There are problems concerning the ascription:  for details see the entry below for Iain Domhnullach’sDh’éirich mise maduinn chiùin




DOMHNALLACH, Eòin  (20th / 21st Century)


Belongs to Kilmuir.  A crofter who founded the Skye Folk Museum and who has collected many Gaelic songs.  (Information from Orain an Eilein (Mhàrtainn 2001:130)


Eòin Dòmhnallach.  Cailin mo Smuain’.  Orain an Eilein.  Cairistiona Mhàrtainn.  An t-Eilean Sgiatheanach: Taigh nan Teud, 2001, 49.


A love song with five four-line verses.  The tune, in staff notation, is by Catriona Dhùghlas.



DHOMHNULLACH, Flori  (of Tota Raonuill, Skye)


One of the versions of ‘An Domhnallach Furanach’ is attributed to her.  See entry for this song in ‘Anonymous Poetry and Song: Individual Items C-D’.



DOMHNALLACH, Iain  (of Kilmuir).  See MACCUITHEIN, Iain.



DOMHNALLACH, Iain  (19th Century)


Of Uig in Skye.  See notes to song listed below.


‘Dh ‘éirich mise maduinn chiùin


i    TGSI, 21 (1896-1897), 179-181


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


iii   The Gaelic Bards from 1825 to 1875.  Edited by the Rev. A. Maclean Sinclair.  Sydney, CB: Mac-Talla Publishing Co., 1904, pp.53-56.


iv   Gairm, 52 (Am Foghar 1965), 316-317


The first version is in Neil MacLeod’s article ‘Beagan Dhuilleag bho Sheann Bhàrdachd Eilein-a-Cheò’, (TGSI, 2: 171-186).  Neil MacLeod ascribes the song to Iain Domhnallach, Iain Mac Dhomhnaill ‘Ic Alasdair, born in Uig, Skye

about 1797.  He composed many songs, most of which were lost.  The song here given was composed when away on one of his annual fishing trips.  He died in 1875.


The Rev. A. MacLean Sinclair’s introductory note to the third version listed here is substantially the same as Neil MacLeod’s.  Earraghael’ of Waipu, New Zealand sent the second version listed here to Mac-Talla, and named

the composer as Callum Domhnullach of Uig, who emigrated to Cape Breton about 1841, and who he thought died in Gleann nan Sgitheanach, Badneck Mhor.


The fourth version listed is in the Rev. Tormod Dohmnallach’s article  Dioghlum bho Achaidhean na Bàrdachd (2) (Gairm, 52: 316-323).  He ascribes it to Armchul Domhnallach, possible because of the line ‘Mun téid an ùir air Armchul’.  This line also occurs as the final line of the first and third versions.  ‘Armchul’ is an unusual name, possibly a nickname.  Sorley MacLean has made reference to a variant form ‘Armcholla’ (TGSI, 49: 379).


The text of the third version has all of the eleven stanzas of the first version, in the same order but with some textual variations, and with two extra stanzas.


The text of the second version has ten of the eleven stanzas of the first, in a different order and with considerable textual variations, but it is undoubtedly the same song.


The fourth version has five stanzas, all related to stanzas in the first version.  It also includes lines not found in any of the other version, referring to deer in Bràighe Uige.


There appears to be a mystery concerning the authorship of the song.  Tormod Domhnallach’s remarks in this respect are rather vague, but both Neil MacLeod and ‘Earraghael’ are quite specific and they seem to be

referring to two different people, Iain Domhnallach and Callum Domhnallach.  One possible explanation might be that Callum Domhnallach of Uig, who emigrated to Cape Breton about 1841, took with him Iain Domhnallach of

Uig’s song and passed it off as his own.




DOMHNALLACH, Raonull  (Early 19th Century)


Raonull Domhnallach, Raonull Mac Iain ‘Ic Eobhainn, was a native of Minginish, Skye and, according to Magnus MacLean, lived there as a grieve during the first quarter of the nineteenth century (Highland Monthly, 4: 754-756).


 It seems likely that Raonull Mac Iain ‘Ic Eobhainn was the brother of Iain Mac Iain ‘Ic Eoghainn of Talisker, noted for his store of poetry and Ossianic lore.  See Leabhar na Feinne (Campbell 1872 : 2-3, 212).


(1)  Marbh-rann do dh ‘Fhear Thalascar, ann sa Bhliadhna 1798’.  Orain Nuadh Ghaeleach.  Domhnul MacLeoid.  Inbhirnis: Eoin Young, 1811, dd. 21-25.


Domhnall MacLeòid does not ascribe this poem to Raonull Mac Iain, but Magnus MacLean does.  It is a lament for Colonel John MacLeod, IV of Talisker, who died on the 114th July 1798, and it has many of the features of a

traditional praise poem. Colonel MacLeod had a distinguished military career before returning to Talisker where he entertained many distinguished guests, including Johnson and Boswell.


There are fourteen eight-line stanzas, beginning ‘Tha m’ inntin ga mo bhrosnachadh’.  The metrical structure bears some resemblance to Domhnall MacLeòid’s ‘Oran Sugraidh mar Chomhairle …’ on pp. 248-252.


(2)   Oran an Uisge-bheatha


i    Orain Nuadh Ghaeleach.  Domhnul MacLeoid.  Inbhirnis: Eoin Young, 1811, dd. 35-39


ii    The Highlander (9th December 1876)


iii   TGSI, 21 (1896-1897), 173-175


iv   Mac-Talla nan Tur.  Edited by the Rev. A. MacLean Sinclair.  Sydney, CB: Mac-Talla Publishing Co., 1901, pp. 63-65


v   An Gaidheal,  22 (1926-1927), 119


Relates the poet’s encounter with the personification of whisky and sings the praises of the benefits of that drink.


The first version, in Domhnall MacLeòid’s collection, is not attributed to Raonull Mac Iain, but the third and fourth versions are.  The third version is from Niall MacLeòid, son of Domhnall MacLeòid and it shows some textual

variations from the first.  The fourth version, from the Rev. A. MacLean Sinclair, probably derives from the first and third versions, with some editing on the part of MacLean Sinclair.  The fifth version appears to come from the oral tradition and was sent to An Gaidheal by J. M. ‘G who did not know who the composer was, but who had heard it often during his youth in Skye.  The metre is amhran type with variable stress.  All versions begin with ‘ ‘N àm éirigh anns a mhaduinn dhomh’.


An anonymous comic song, ‘Cuach Mhic-Ill-Andrais’, was published in An t-Oranaiche (Mac-na-Ceardadh 1879 : 476-479).  It uses four of Raonull Mac Iain’s ‘Oran an Uisge-bheatha’ with nine additional stanzas.  It is inferior to Raonull’s composition.


(3)   Oran a Rinneadh do dh ‘Each a Bhann sa Chlaigin’.  Orain Nuadh Ghaeleach.  Domhnul MacLeoid.  Inbhirnis: Eoin Young, 1811, pp. 39-42


An amusing address to an independently minded horse.  There are seventy-two lines beginning with ‘O ‘s fear a tha ri smaoinachadh’.  The metre is based upon part of Donnchadh Bàn’sBeinn Dobhrain  It is not attributed to

Raonull Mac Iain by Domhnall MacLeòid, but it is attributed to him by Magnus MacLean (Highland Monthly, 4: 754).


(4)  Oran a rinneadh do Choille bhig a bhann sa ‘n Eilean Sciathanach, mar gu bi fein a bhi ga dheanabh


i    Oran Nuadh Ghaeleach.  Domhnul MacLeoid.  Inbhirnis: Eoin Young, 1811, pp. 47-50


ii   TGSI, 21 (1896-1897), 172-173.


Not attributed to Raonull Mac Iain by Domhnall MacLeòid, but it has been attributed to him by Domhnall’s son Niall in a note to the second version listed.  It has also been attributed to Raonull by Magnus MacLean

(Highland Monthly, 4: 754).


 An accomplished poem showing a distinctive eighteenth century influence.  Version one has ten stanzas beginning ‘Gun labhair Grimsaig sa mhaidain’.  Version two, from Niall MacLeòid, has six stanzas beginning

‘ ‘S e labhair Grimsaig ‘s a’ Mhaduinn’.  This second version shows considerable variation from the first and one wonders whether Niall MacLeòid was relying on his memory or whether he was consciously editing the version in his father’s collection.


The metre appears to be amhran, but with suggestions of a syllabic structure.


(5)    Oran do ‘n Acras


i     Orain Nuadh Ghaeleach.  Domhnul MacLeoid.  Inbhirnis: Eoin Young, 1811, pp. 91-95


ii   TGSI, 21 (1896-1897), 175-177.


The first version listed here appears to be two different poems.  In stanzas one to five, beginning ‘Fhir tha dol rathaid’, the poet praises the new spinning machines.  In stanzas six to thirteen, beginning ‘Gur h-eolach air an acrais mi’, he speaks of hunger and want before going on to address Hunger as a person.  He ends by praising the potato.  The second version, entitled ‘Oran an Acrais is from Niall MacLeòid and has stanzas six to thirteen of the first version, with the exception of stanza eleven.




DOMHNALLACH, Tormod  (19th Century)


Tormod Domhnallach, Tormod Mac Iain, was born in Elgol and emigrated to Australia about 1850.


(1)  Tormod Domhnallach.  ‘ ‘N uair ràinig mi tigh na cùirte’.  TGSI, 52 (1980-1982), 191-192.


From Neil J. MacKinnon.  The song concerns an incident when the poet was working in Paisley and got into a fight which earned him a court appearance, a fine and a prison sentence.


There are six four-line stanzas, and a three-line refrain.  The metre is strophic in type with variable stress, possibly showing some syllabic influence.


(2)  Tormod Domhnallach.  Biatach an t-Snaoisean’.  TGSI, 54 (1984-1986), 237-239


From Neil J. MacKinnon.



DOMHNALLACH, Tormod  (19th Century?)


Keith Norman MacDonald, in a note to his versions of the two songs listed below, says that there were composed by ‘Norman MacDonald, Sailor, Dunhallin, Waternish, Skye’.


(1)   Thoir mo shoraidh do ‘n taobh-tuath


i     MacDonald Bards from Mediaeval Times.  Keith Norman MacDonald.  Glasgow: Alex. MacLaren and Sons, 1900, p. 109


ii    Orain nam Beann.  Edited by Angus Morrison.  Glasgow: Alex. MacLaren and Sons, 1913,  pp. 40-41


An exile’s lyrical evocation of his native island.  The first version listed here has eleven four-line stanzas and a refrain.  The second version has eight stanzas, and the tune is in staff notation. There are considerable textual

variations between the two versions.  Dr. Seumas Grannd had a version from oral tradition which is closer to the second version here than the first and he told me that he had heard the song attributed to Iain MacLeòid, Iain Dubh

mac Dhomhnaill nan Oran.  The metre is strophic in type.


(2) Tormod Donullach.  ‘Oran Bodaichean Dhun-hallin’.  MacDonald Bards from Mediaeval Times.  Keith Norman MacDonald.  Glasgow: Alex. MacLaren and Sons, 1900, p. 110.


A moving exile song, which appears to be the expression of real experience rather than romantic imagination.  There are six eight-line stanzas, beginning with ‘Gur e mo ghòraich ‘thug dhomhsa’.  Each couplet of a stanza has a strophic-type construction.




DOMHNALLACH, Tormod  (1904-1978)  [Poetry]


Tormod Domhnallach, 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.


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.  His published poetry formed only a small part of his literary output: prose (see: 1,  2,  3 )  was probably his

preferred form of literary expression.  As a collector of traditional Gaelic poetry he did much valuable work.


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


(1)  Tormod Domhnallach.  Càineadh an Rodain’.  An Gaidheal, 41 (1945-1946), 110-111.


A light-hearted poem of dispraise, rather than satire, for an unwanted rat.  There are eight stanzas, beginning ‘Tha rodan odhar, biastail’.  The metre is amhran type.


(2)  Tormod Domhnallach.  Ionndrainn Cuain’.  An Gaidheal, 41 (1945-1946), 113


A short poem which paints a skilful word picture.  Two eight-line stanzas, beginning ‘Aon sealladh de ‘n chuan’.  The metre is similar to a five-line strophic type with a three-line refrain.


(3)  Tormod Domhnallach.  ‘An Airigh’.  An Gaidheal Og, 7 (1955), 22.


A pleasant little shieling song.  Five four-line verses and a refrain beginning ‘Port a bh’agam fhìn’.


(4)  Tormod Domhnallach.  ‘ ‘Nam Bàs Cha Do Sgaradh Iad’.  An Gaidheal, 61 (1966), 93-94


A narrative poem composed in 1933 and based upon a true Cape Breton story of long-parted sweethearts who were re-united in death.


There are twenty-two quatrains, beginning ‘Is cian an nochd uam tìr nan naomh ‘s nam bàrd.


(5)  Tormod Domhnallach.  ‘O fhuirbidh, fhuirbidh o ho’.  Gairm,  76 (Am Foghar 1971), 315-316.


This was composed upon a song which the Rev. Domhnallach had heard sung at a walking in 1915.  He could only remember the refrain, so he composed five new stanzas for it himself.


(6)  Tormod Domhnallach.  ‘Gleann Chill Mhàrtuinn’.  Gairm, 81 (An Geamhradh 1972), 67-68.


A poem in praise of the glen of Kilmartin in Argyllshire.  In the tradition of eighteenth-century Gaelic nature poetry.


There are six stanzas, beginning ‘O Gleus mo chlàrach a cheòlraidh’.  The metre is irregular amhran in type.


(7)   An t-Urr. Tormod Domhnallach.  Féill-foillsichidh’.  Gairm, 83 (An Samhradh 1973), 261-263


An amusing poem which seems to have been inspired by the oil boom.  There are nineteen four-line stanzas and a refrain, beginning ‘Siod far an robh ‘n Comunn sgibidh’.  The metre is strophic in type.


(8)  Tormod Domhnallach.  ‘O Eilein chluainteil, chòmhnard uaine’.  Gairm, 85 (An Geamhradh 1973), 44-46.


In praise of Prince Edward Island, Canada, composed during his stay there during 1932-1933.  There are twelve stanzas in an amhran-type metre.


(9)   An t-Urr. Tormod Domhnallach.  ‘A ‘Chailin thug a’ phòg dhomh’.  Gairm,  87 (An Geamhradh 1974), 253-254


The Rev. Domhnallach had heard this love song during his youth in Skye.  Having forgotten the words, he composed his own upon the tune which is here given in staff notation.


The metre is strophic in type, with five four-line stanzas and a refrain.


(10) An t-Urr. Tormod Domhnallach.  ‘Do ‘n a Ràidheachan Gairm: air dha Còig Bliadhna fichead a Chur as a Dhéidh’.  Gairm,  101 (An Geamhradh 1977-1978), 18-19


Composed to celebrate twenty-five years of publication of the Gaelic periodical Gairm.  There are eight quatrains, beginning ‘Tha ‘n t-àm air teachd, a-nis iocam’.


Gairm was to be published for a further twenty-five years, more than confirming its unique place in Gaelic publishing which the Rev. Domhnallach here celebrates.


(11) An t-Urr. Tormod Domhnallach.  Agradh Alba’.  Gairm, 101 (An Geamhradh 1977-1978), 19-20


An strongly nationalist poem, composed at the time of the 1970’s upsurge in Scottish nationalism.  It ends with a stanza in praise of Donald Stewart, the SNP Member of Parliament for the Western Isles..


There are seven quatrains and a refrain beginning ‘Tha deagh shoisgeul measg nan slòigh’.


(12) An t-Urr. Tormod Domhnallach.  Spealadh an Fhoghair’.  Gairm, 107 (An Samhradh 1979), 223


A harvest song, which uses a variety of agricultural terms.  There are five stanzas and a refrain in quatrain form, beginning ‘ gur toigh leam, gur toigh leam’.




DOUGLAS, Katherine.  See DHUGHLAS, Catriona



D’OYLY, Lady  (d. 1875)


Elizabeth Jane Ross, Lady D’Oyly, was a granddaughter of John MacLeod, IX of Raasay.  She was brought up on Raasay, and there noted down the numerous Gaelic airs then current on the island.  She herself composed a number of Gaelic songs of merit.  On a visit to India she met Sir Charles D’Oyly, a celebrated amateur artist, whom she married as his second wife.  She died without issue on the 1st June 1875.


(Information from a notice by ‘Fionn’ (Celtic Monthly 6:220), and from Alexander MacKenzie’s History of the MacLeods (MacKenzie 1889: 385-386).


(1)  Baintighearna D’Oyly.  Orain Ghàidhlig.  Glaschu: Clo-Bhuailte le Gilleasbuig Mac-na-Ceàrdadh, 1875.  19,  4 p.


As well as the nine songs of Lady D’Oyly’s composition listed below there is a version of ‘Cumha Iain Ghairbh’ (see under the entry for Nighean Mhic Ghille  Chaluim).  The tunes of all the songs are given in staff notation on the four

un-numbered pages at the end of the booklet.


i   ‘Cumha Rarsaidh’,  pp. 5-7


Both a praise-poem and a lament for Raasay, its beauty and its past glories. It was composed upon the island being sold in 1843 by John MacLeod, XII and last chief of the MacLeods of Raasay.  He was Lady

D’Oyly’s second cousin and she does not conceal her bitterness over what had happened.


There are fourteen stanzas and a refrain beginning ‘A fhleasgaich òig, na horo éile’.  The metre is an irregular cumha.


‘Cumha Rarsaidh’ has also been published in separate undated pamphlet form as Oran do Rarsa : Duthaich Mhic Ghille Challum.  A version of twelve stanzas is presented by Niall MacLeòid on pp. 12-13 of his article

Beagan Dhuilleag bho Sheann Bhàrdachd Eilean a’ Cheò (TGSI, 21:171-186).  MacLeòid’s introductory remarks seem to indicate that he was unaware of the existence of the two other published versions of this poem.  His version shows several variations from these and may represent a version from oral tradition.


ii   ‘Cumha Dhun Canna – Rarsaidh’,  pp. 7-9


Similar in theme and sentiment to ‘Cumha Rarsaidh’.  There are six stanzas beginning ‘Dun-Canna mo rùn! tha deòir air mo shùil’. Each stanza has eight lines of which lines five and six are vocables and the remainder strophic in construction.


Calum MacPharlain has presented his own arrangement of the words and tune (Celtic Monthly, 19:100).


iii   Oran do dh’ Eilthireach’,  pp. 9-11


Linked in theme to the previous two songs.  The love song of a girl left behind, it becomes a lament for the desolation of the Gaidhealtachd.  Some lines are worth noting:


Tha na h-uachd’rain air fhàgail,

Cha ‘n urrainn sinn bhi tàmh ann,

‘S e a nis air a reic do ‘n Ghall


Mention is made of Ireland:


Tha Ghàidhealtachd, ‘is Eirinn

Fo dhòruinn ‘s fo éigin,

 ‘S an Gall bho thìr gu tìr


There are nine six-line stanzas with a strophic-type construction and a refrain beginning ‘Tha mo chridhe trom, trom’.


iv   ‘Cumha Mhic Leòid’,  pp. 12-13


Addressed to Norman MacLeod, XXV of Dunvegan.  His efforts to feed his people during the Potato Famine of 1846-1848 resulted in his financial ruin and his departure to London and a position in the Civil Service.  For details see I.F. Grant’s The MacLeods : the History of a Clan 1200-1956 (Grant 1959:581-586).  It is a lament for the absence of a chief which concentrates upon traditional elegiac motifs rather than elaborating upon

the reason for the absence. 


There are eight four-line stanzas and a refrain, beginning ‘Tha dùthaich Mhic Leòid fo bròn ‘s fo mhulad’.  It is composed upon the model of ‘Cumha Mhic Cruimein’.


The words of ‘Cumha Mhic Leòid also appear in An t-Oranaiche (Mac-na-Ceardadh 1879:284-285).


v    ‘Oran Gaoil’,  pp. 13-14


A traditional love song, beginning ‘Mo rùn air mo leannan’.  The words are also to be found in An t-Oranaiche (Mac-na-Ceardadh 1879:330-331), and in The Gaelic Bards from 1825-1875 (Sinclair 1904:90-91).


There are four six-line stanzas, each composed of two strophic-type halves.


vi  Oran do PhrionnsTeàrlach’,  pp. 14-15


A conventional Jacobite song, with a brisk, swinging rhythm.  There are five four-line stanzas and a refrain, beginning ‘Ceud shoraidh a’s slàintuam null thar an t-sàil’.


This song is also in An t-Oranaiche (Mac-na-Ceardadh 1879:331-332).


vii  Oran’,  p. 16


Song in praise of a Highland regiment, possible the 79th, the Cameron Highlanders.  There are five four-line stanzas, with a four-line vocable refrain beginning ‘Hill ò hi hug òrinan’. 


viii ‘Oran Gaoil’,  p. 17


A love song about an emigrant lover.  There are three eight-line stanzas, beginning ‘Nam bithinn eòlach air gabhail òrain’.  The metre is similar to that of Donnchadh Bàn’s ‘Oran Coire a’ Cheathaich’.


ix   ‘Bean Iain Ruaidh’,  p. 18


Lament of a young man whose sweetheart has deserted him for an older and richer man.  It is a version of ‘Roy’s Wife of Aldvalloch’, see Sruth (13th June 1968), p. 8.  There are three four-line stanzas and a refrain.


(2)  ‘Thàinig an gille dubh


i     Sàr-Obair nam Bàrd Gaelach.  Edited by John MacKenzie.  Edinburgh: MacLachlan and Stewart, 1872 (1st edition 1841), pp. 379-380


ii    Celtic Monthly,  6 (1897-1898), 220


iii   A’ Choisir Chiùil.  Paisley: J. and R. Parlane, n.d. (pre-1900), p.13


iv   An Deò-Gréine,  7 (1911-1912), 46


The first three versions are attributed to Lady D’Oyly.  The fourth version, which W.M. (Winifred) Parker collected in Eigg in 1908, is not ascribed to Lady D’Oyly, but Miss Parker in her notes makes reference to the Sàr-Obair version which is.


The Sàr-Obair version has twelve stanzas and a refrain.  The Celtic Monthly version has the first stanza and the refrain, along with a free English rendering by ‘Fionn’ of stanzas one to four, and seven, ten and twelve of the Sàr-Obair version, and the tune in tonic sol-fa notation.  A’ Choisir Chiùil gives the refrain, stanzas one to four, and eight, ten and twelve, and the tune in staff notation.  The An Deò-Gréine version has the refrain, the first stanza and two versions of the tune in staff notation, with Miss Parker noting that the second, fifth and eleventh stanzas had also been sung to her.  I believe that although the subsequent printed versions show textual variations from the Sàr-Obair version they quite likely are derived from it. 


Both ‘Fionn’, in his introduction to the Celtic Monthly version, and Miss Parker in the case of the An Deò-Gréine version, describe ‘Thàinig an gille dubh’ as a waulking song.  This is puzzling, for its metre is strophic, not a metre

associated with waulking songs.  Dr. Seumas Grannd has suggested to me that it is very like a spinning song.  It is to be noted too that the first three lines of stanza one are very similar to the beginning of a waulking song noted in

both Watersay (Campbell and Collinson 1981:70-73), and Uist (Craig 1949:57-58).  ‘Fionn’ did write that it was generally understood that Lady D’Oyly had used the refrain and the first stanza of a much older composition, but I think it unlikely that versions of the aforementioned waulking song were her source; this was more likely to have been part of a Staffa version published in Albyn’s Anthology (Campbell 1818:76-77), and whose one stanza is in the same strophic measure as Lady D’Oyly’s song.


Finally, the Rev. Tormod Domhnallach has related an account of the song’s origin (Gairm, 55 (203-204).  According to his account the song was composed by the rejected wife of a chief who had been bewitched by a

milkmaid.  This story can be related to one told to me by Dr. John MacInnes about the affair between an eighteenth century Mac Gille Chaluim and a servant girl.  The Mac Gille Chaluim concerned was Malcolm, VIII of Raasay,

Lady D’Oyly’s great-grandfather (MacKenzie 1889:371-375).










DHUGHLAS, Catriona  (1893-1965)


Daughter of Iain Mac-an-Aba, himself a poet (q.v.) Catriona Dhùghlas (Katherine Douglas) was born in Kilmuir, Trotternish and lived there all her life.  Educated at Kilmuir Primary School, where her father was headmaster.  She was taught Gaelic by her cousin, Anna Dhomhnallach.


Catriona collected many old Gaelic songs and some of her collections were to win prizes at Mod competitions.  She also coached young people for Mod competitions.  After her death her husband gave her manuscripts to the Rev. Domhnall Buidse, who undertook the task of publication, a task in which, in spite of all his efforts, he was only partially successful.  The Rev. Buidse’s account of Catriona’s life and work is to be found on pp. 596-601 of his article ‘Bàird an Eilean Sgiathanach: Clann-an-Aba, Throdairnis’ (TGSI 48: 584-601).


(1)  ‘Mórag a Dùnbheagain


i     MacLaren’s Hebrides Collection of Scottish Songs.  No. 68.  Glasgow: Alex. MacLaren and Song, 1954, 3p.


ii   Orain an Eilein: Gaelic Songs of Skye.  Cairistìona Mhàrtainn.  An t-Eilean Sgitheanach: Taigh nan Teud, 2001, p. 112.


Catrìona wrote the words, and Neil Matheson composed the music.  I remember this song being sung at all the dances and ceilidhs when I first visited Skye in the 1960’s.  The first version has four four-line verses and

a mainly vocable refrain with an English translation.  Music is given in both notations.  The second version has three verses and a refrain.


(2) Catriona Dhùghlas.  Sar-Orain: na h-Orain is an Ceòl gu h-uile le Catriona Dhùghlas.  Deasaichte le Dhòmhnall Budge.  Dunbheagain: Domhnall Budge, 1971, 23d.


i     Nach truagh leat mi ‘s tu ‘n Eirinn’,  pp. 6-7


ii    Chaill mi mo chridhe ‘s mi òg’, pp.8-9


iii   Nochd gun chadal’,  pp.12-13


iv   Oran gaoil a rinneadh ri taobh Loch Laomainn’, pp.14-15


v  ‘Mo shoraidh le Ard-iura’, pp.10-11


vi    Piob Uilleam Rois’, pp. 16-17


vii  Siotan Gordan, CBE’, pp. 18-19


viii ‘Tuireadh Eaglais an Druim-bhuidhe’, pp.20-21


ix   Dhealaich mi ‘n riut’, pp.22-23


These songs are on the whole pleasant and easy on the ear, but without any great literary merit or emotional depth, although the lament for the old Kilmuir Parish Church, ‘Tuireadh Eaglais …’ does show signs of deeply-felt emotion.  The metres are loosely based upon traditional ones.


The book is prefaced by an account of the poetess’ life and work, followed by a synopsis in English.  Music is given in both notations.


The second and third songs are also in Orain an Eilein (Mhàrtainn 2001: 114-115.


(3) Catriona Dhughlas.  Pein-Ora: dealbhan-cluich, le an cuid ceòl, orain agus oraidean freagarrach airson na cloinne.  Deasaichte le Dòmhnall Budge.  Dunbheagain: Dòmhnall Budge, 1972.  16p.


A collection of poems and songs for dramatic performance by children: some for soloists, others for a group or choir.


i     ‘An Coileach ‘s na Cearcan’,  pp. 3-5

For a choir


ii    Agus O thàilleir’,  pp. 6-8

Based upon an old song which Catriona had collected.  For a choir


iii   Greasaiche nam brògan’, pp. 9-10


iv    ‘Cu-a-g, Cu-a-g, Cu-a-g, ars an tunnag’, p. 11

For solo performance by a small boy or girl


v    Roghainn e , roghainn ó’, pp. 12-13

Based upon part of an old song with additional verses by Catriona.  For a choir with soloists.


vi   ‘Fhuair mi neadsa gharadh’, p. 14

For soloist or choir


vii  ‘An Sionnach agus an Ròcais’, p. 15

For spoken recital


viii ‘Nuair a theid mi thun a sgoil’, p. 15

For spoken recital by a small boy


ix   Chuir iad ann am bothan mi’, p. 16

Song for a small boy.


(4)   ‘B’ fhearr leam dhol dhan t-saighdearachd’.  Orain an Eilein: Gaelic Songs of Skye.  Cairistìona Mhàrtainn.  Taigh na Teud: An t-Eilean Sgitheanach, 2001, p. 98.


A slight song about a man preferring soldiering to a life at sea.  The tune is from Eòin Dòmhnallach.


(5)   An Cala Sèimh’.  Orain an Eilein: Gaelic Songs of Skye.  Cairistìona Mhàrtainn.  Taigh na Teud: An t-Eilean Sgitheanach, 2001, p. 113.


The words by Catrìona and the music by Neil Matheson.  An Edinbane boatman’s song.  Three seven-line verses, beginning ‘Ho laithil o ho …’.






















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