Gaelic Literature  of the Isle of Skye: an annotated  bibliography   


Traditional Prose: collections and collectors




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GILLEASBUIG AOTROM  (Early 19th Century)


In his introduction to his tales of this famous Skye character, Niall MacLeòid writes of how in the early 19th Century every district and village in the Gaidhealtachd had at least one ‘fool’.  These fools were of widely varying temperaments and there were a number of them in Skye.  Among these Skye fools, Gilleasbuig Aotrom was pre-eminent (MacLeod 1975:193).


The Rev. T. A. MacCalmain believed that the ‘Fear a’ Choire’ with whom Gilleasbuig Aotrom had so many encounters was Lachlann a’ Choire, the last of the MacKinnons of Corry to live there before they removed to Liveras about the middle of the 19th Century (An Gaidheal, 58:116, 125).  Another of Gilleasbuig’s

‘victims’ was the Rev. James Souter, minister of Duirinish, who died in 1839 (Nicolson 1930:373-374).      


Many stories of Gilleasbuig’s doings and sayings have been published.  These are listed below in chronological order.  In addition to these, William MacKenzie’s and J. G. MacKay’s English language accounts include stories which I have not found elsewhere in print (MacKenzie 1930: 60-66; TGSI, 30: 166-171).



Niall MacLeòid.  ‘Gilleasbuig Aotrom’.  Clàrsach an Doire.  2nd edition.  Glasgow: Archibald Sinclair, 1893, pp. 233-242.

-      3rd edition.  Edinburgh: Norman MacLeod, 1902, pp. 223-233.

-      4th edition.  Edinburgh: Norman MacLeod, 1909, pp. 223-233.

-      5th edition.  Glasgow: Alexander MacLaren and Sons, 1924, pp. 229-239.

-      6th edition.  Glaschu: Gairm, 1975, pp. 193-239.


This is the most extensive of the published collections of tales of Gilleasbuig Aotrom.  It includes two which I have not found elsewhere in print.



‘Daileach’.  ‘Na h-Amadain’.  Guth na Bliadhna, 16 (1919), 71-80.


Includes material on Gilleasbuig Aotrom which I have not found elsewhere in print.



Iain Tormod Domhnallach.  ‘Sgeulachdan mu Ghilleasbuig Aotrom’.  Celtic Annual: Yearbook of the Dundee Highland Society, (1911), 10-11.


Includes two tales which I have not found elsewhere in print.  There is a parallel translation into Irish Gaelic by Sean Toibin.



D. M.  ‘Gilleasbuig Aotrom agus an Duine-uasal’.  Portree Secondary School Magazine, 8 (1941).


Gilleasbuig’s quick wit gets the better of an arrogant member of the gentry.



T. M. MacCalmain.  ‘Coirechatachain’. 

An Gaidheal, 58 (1963), 116, 125-127.


One of the tales here, about an incident in the hotel at Sligachan, is usually located in Portree.



Ruairidh MacComghain.  ‘Amadain Ghlice an Eilein Sgitheanaich’.  Stornaway Gazette (7th October 1972), p. 3.


Includes a tale of Gilleasbuig Aotrom in print for the first time.  Also states that Gilleasbuig belonged to the MacMhathain family of Gleann Hionasdail.











Single items




An Cabairneach


Tormod Domhnallach I

Tormod Domhnallach II

Anna Ghreum

Gilleasbuig Aotrom

Iain MacAonghais

Aonghas Mac a’ Phi

Domhnall MacCuithein

J. G. MacKay

Hugh MacKinnon

Calum I. MacLean

Kenneth MacLeod

Niall MacLeòid

Alasdair MacNeacail

Eoghainn MacRath

Somhairle Thorburn




A-C,  An Cabairneach,

D-M,  N-Z,

Eilidh Watt


Journalism and


A-MacF,   MacG-Z













Poetry: homepage     


    Bibliography: homepage


© A Loughran, 2016