Gaelic Literature  of the Isle of Skye: an annotated  bibliography   


Non-traditional creative prose







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AN CABAIRNEACH  (1944-1962)


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 islands other 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. 


The first editor was Fionnlagh Iain MacDhomhnuill (Finlay J. MacDonald), who was to go on to achieve considerable success as a writer and broadcaster.  When introducing the first issue he made clear that the primary ambition of himself and his colleagues was the promotion of Gaelic, and he was modest indeed in his assessment of the magazine’s literary qualities.  However, the importance of An Cabairneach in the development of 20th century Gaelic literature has been much greater than the modest assessment of its youthful first editor would imply.  Donald John MacLeod writes of how the magazine broke new ground in many respects, particularly in the use of colloquial Gaelic and the introduction of the young writers’ own dialects into the formal literary register (MacLeod 1976: 215).  The verse content of An Cabairneach is noted in this bibliography’s section for poetry and song, and its short versions of some traditional tales are noted in the section for traditional prose.  The remainder of its contents, that part to which Dr. MacLeod is particularly referring, is noted below.



An Cabairneach (An t-Og Mhios 1944)


i       Editorial, p. 1


ii      Litir a fhuaireadh bho fhear a bha ‘na cheannard air an Fheachd so agus a tha a nis anns a’ Chabhlach rioghail’, p. 2.


Letter received from an officer in the Royal Navy who was a former member of the Portree branch of Comunn na h-Oigridh


iii     ‘An Clachan Mor’, pp. 2-3


A short story from South Uist.


iv     Croiteireachd’, pp. 3-4


Short account of the state of crofting in the past.


v     ‘M. O. I.’, pp. 5-6


Humorous tale of the ‘pictures’, featuring some of An Cabairneach’s regular characters, Ceit Fhearchair and company.


vi     ‘An Tigh-Tughaidh’, p. 7


A nostalgic look at days gone by.


vii    Four humorous anecdotes, p. 8.


viii   Litir Eilidh’, pp. 10-11


A regular feature of An Cabairneach.  Sharp witted, racy style.


ix     Humorous anecdote, p. 11.


x      ‘An Oidhche’, p. 12


Description of night’s natural and supernatural features.


xi     Soitheach Ainmeil’, p. 13


Story of the ‘Politician’, the ship which, carrying a cargo of whisky, went aground off Eriskay in 1941.  It was made famous by Compton MacKenzie’s Whisky Galore.


xii    Humorous anecdote, p. 14


xiii   Humorous anecdote, p. 15


xiv    Ionndrainn’, p. 16


Neat little story with a surprise ending.


xv    Tighean Aoigheachd’, pp. 16-17


Account of life in Portree High School’s hostels.


xvi    Humorous anecdote, p. 17


xvii   Maileid a’ Chabairnich’, p. 18


A regular feature of An Cabairneach: hilarious letters from fictional readers with various topical complaints, with editorial comments. 


xviii  Eas-Umhlachd’, p. 19


Moral tale about the fate which befell a Sabbath breaker.  Lightened by a

neat touch of irony at the end.


xix   ‘Tàladh na Mara’, pp. 19-20


xx     Litir Thorcuill’, pp. 21-23


Another regular feature of An Cabairneach: the complement to ‘Litir Eilidh’.


xxi   Five humorous anecdotes, pp. 22-25



An Cabairneach (An t-Og Mhios 1945)


i      Editorial, p. 1


ii     Letter to ‘Eilidh’ from Finlay J. MacDonald, then at Glasgow University, pp. 2-3.


iii    ‘V. E.’, pp. 7-8


Seònaid’s account of V.E. (Victory in Europe) day at the end of World War II in an island village.  Some sharp social and cultural comment.  Donald John MacLeod points out that Seònaid is instantly recognisable

as Donald Lamont’s Seònaid Eachainn (MacLeod 1976: 215).  Reprinted in Dorcha tro Ghlainne (MacLeod 1970: 145-150).


iv     Ris a’ Ghealaich’, p. 8


v     Humorous anecdote, p. 8


vi    Litir Thorcuill’, pp. 9-10


vii   Humorous anecdote, p. 10


viii   Calanas’, pp. 11-12


Description of each stage of the tweed-making process.


ix    Humorous anecdote, p. 12


x      ‘An Sgoil Oidhche’, p. 14


On the role of the ceilidh as an educational institution.


xi     Humorous anecdote, p. 14


xii    Bothan a’ Ghlinne’, pp. 15-16


A short story in an old-fashioned romantic style.


xiii   Litir Eilidh’, pp. 17-18


xiv   Two humorous anecdotes, p. 18


xv    Humorous anecdote, p. 20


xvi   ‘Na Goill’, pp. 21-22


Recollections of a city-born child of Highland parents who was evacuated to the Highlands during the war.  He points out the irony that if it had not been for Hitler, he and many like him would have been in danger of

growing up as Lowlanders.


xvii  Maileid a’ Chabairnich’, pp. 23-25


xviii  Humorous anecdote, p. 25



An Cabairneach (An Ceitein 1950)


i      Editorial, p. 1


ii     ‘Bho ‘n Dorus’, p. 2


Lyrical description of the natural beauties to be seen from the writer’s home in Skye.


iii    Two humorous anecdotes, p. 2


iv     Batal Loch-nan-Coilleag’, pp. 3-4


Lighthearted account of the night in an island village when the war came to a close.


v      Humorous anecdote, p. 4


vi     ‘An Cat ‘san Tràigh’, p. 5


Tale of a cat’s hazardous hunting expedition to the shore.


vii     Litir Eilidh’, pp. 6-7


viii    Four humorous anecdotes, p. 10


ix      Aig a’ Mhòd’, pp. 11-13


Seònaid’s dryly humorous account of her visit to the Mod.


x      Two humorous anecdotes, p. 14


xi      ‘An Sgoil Bheag’, p. 15


On the importance of the small school and the schoolmaster in the life of the village.


xii    Two humorous anecdotes, p. 15


xiii    Litir Thorcuill’, pp. 16-17


xiv    Three humorous anecdotes, p. 17


xv     ‘Am Bàgh’, p. 18


Lyrical description of the beauties of evening and nightfall.


xvi    ‘Na Càirdean’, p. 19


A perceptive examination of the friends and enemies of Gaelic.


xvii   ‘An Sgaradh’, p. 21


An animal fable.


xviii  Iomhar Mór’, pp. 22-24


A very well-written short story, with an element of mystery and the supernatural.


xix    Maileid a’ Chabairnich’, pp. 25-27


xx     Four humorous anecdotes, p. 27



An Cabairneach (An Ceitein 1962)


i       Editorial, p. 1


ii      Humorous anecdote, p. 3


iii      Th’ an Samhradh air Tighinn’, p. 4


A look at the several varieties of the Gaidhealtachd’s summer crop of tourists.


iv      Humorous anecdote, p. 4


v       Bogha na Fairge, pp. 5-6


Story of a tragedy at sea.


vi    Litir Eilidh’, p. 7


vii     Gaisgeach’, p. 8


The story of Domhnall MacLeòid of Bracadale, ‘An Saighdear Sgiathanach’, an 18th century man famous for his strength and longevity.


viii   Imcheist’, p. 9


Very short story about a man’s attempt to give up cigarettes.


ix     Two humorous anecdotes, p. 9


x      Litir Thorcuill’, p. 10


xi     Turus Cuain’, pp. 12-13


Humorous account of the end of term and the journey home.


xii    Seotha a’ Chruidh’, pp. 14-16


More of the doings of Ceit Fhearchair, Seònaid and company.


xiii   Maileid a’ Chabairnich’, p. 17


xiv    ‘An Litir’, pp. 19-22


Short story about a young man finding out the truth about his origins.



















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