Non-traditional creative prose: D - M
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DOMHNALLACH, Màrtainn (1937- )
Skye-born journalist and broadcaster. See his entry in the section for journalism and miscellaneous prose.
i Gairm, 36 (An Samhradh 1961), 301-304
ii Dorcha tro Ghlainne. Deasaichte le Domhnall-Iain MacLeòid. Glaschu: Gairm, 1970, dd. 26-32
A sensitive, beautifully crafted study of a boy on the threshold of adolescence.
DOMHNALLACH, Tormod (1904-1978)
Tormod Domhnallach, Norman MacDonald, was born at Valtos, Staffin, on 15th August
1904. He was educated at
(Lamb 1961: 396; Tocher 30: 406).
See also the Rev. Domhnallach’s entries in the section for journalism and miscellaneous prose. It must be admitted that as far as style and theme are concerned, there is no real distinction between much of the material noted below and material noted in the Rev. Domhnallach’s entry in the section for traditional prose. What distinction there is has more to do with origin than with style and theme. It will be noted that a high proportion of his traditional material consists of his versions of tales and anecdotes from the oral tradition of his native Skye. Several of the items noted below are similar, but have no clear indication of a Skye origin. However, I include them in this section. as examples of the Rev. Domhnallach’s creative writing.
(1) Tormod Domhnallach. ‘Mar a gheibh thu mach dé a’ cheàird a tha an dàn do d’ mhac a thogail’. An Gaidheal, 42 (1946-1947), 31.
An amusing tale from An Gaidheal’s ‘Oisinn na h-Oigridh’ column.
(2) Tormod Domhnallach. ‘Bodach na Moch-Eirigh’. An Gaidheal, 2 (1946-1947), 47.
How an old man’s plans for early rising went awry.
(3) Tormod Domhnallach. ‘Fuasgladh na Ceist’. An Gaidheal, 51 (1956), 20.
Moral tale about two old men’s dispute over a point of Scripture.
(4) Tormod Domhnallach. ‘Mac an Allabain’. An Gaidheal, 52 (1957), 21-23.
Story of a Gaelic Good Samaritan and how his kindness was rewarded
many years later.
(5) Tormod Domhnallach. ‘Iasgairean ri Port’. An Gaidheal Og, 9 (1957), 6.
How some Islay fishermen gained a
safe passage from
(6) Tormod Domhnallach. ‘Có a shaoileadh E?’. An Gaidheal, 53 (1958), 4-6.
Hair raising adventures of a young
emigrant bride in
(7) Tormod Domhnallach. ‘Air Chéilidh air Goiridh’. An Gaidheal, 53 (1958), 103-105.
About an old man and his many tales: several about a Cameron of Coire Choillidh, and one about how a MacDonald of Sleat lost and regained his land during the time of George IV.
‘DOMHNALL DONN’. See: MACCALMAIN, Tomas
‘FEAR CHANAIDH’. See: CAMPBELL, John Lorne
GRANND, Domhnall (1903-1970)
Domhnall Grannd was born in Camuscross,
Sleat, Skye. He was educated at
In his youth, Domhnall Grannd was a noted shinty player and throughout his life he served on numerous bodies concerned with Gaelic language and culture. He achieved considerable success as a Gaelic poet, playwright and prose writer.
(Information from the Rev. T. M. Murchison’s account of Domhnall Grannd’s life in Tìr an Aigh)
(1) Domhnall Grannd. Tìr an Aigh. Glaschu: Gairm, 1971. 243d : dealbh.
Tìr an Aigh was published as a posthumous tribute to Domhnall Grannd and contains a representative selection of his writings; poetry, short stories, essays, sketches and plays. The poetry is noted and discussed in the section for poetry and song of known authorship.
Domhnall Grannd writes with wit and elegance. His greatest gift is for humour and satire, but this is not to say that he is not a serious writer. It is obvious from his work that he cared very deeply about human relationships, and about his native language and culture. In ‘Aithisg Bhliadhnail an Rùnaire’ (pp. 32-36), he satirises quite savagely the shallowness and indifference of so many so-called friends of Gaelic. In a gentler note, in ‘Faisneachd Chaluim Bhuidhe’ (pp. 22-26) is a
hilarious send-up of academic pretentiousness and the gullibility of people in general. ‘A bheil a’ chòir mar a chumar i?’ (pp. 18-21) is a perceptive examination of the use and misuse of proverbs.
Seven of the stories in Tìr an Aigh: ‘An Sgiobair air Tìr’ (pp. 27-31), ‘Tiodhlaic Nollair’ (pp. 37-42), ‘Bliadhna Ur is Beatha Ur’ (pp. 43-50), ‘An Gamhainn’ (pp. 51-57), ‘Tìr an Aigh’ (pp. 58-64), ‘A’ Bhanais’ (pp. 65-71) and ‘An t-Each Bàn’ (pp. 72-78) are centred upon the life of An Glac Uaine, Domhnall Grannd’s archetypal island village. He casts a perceptive eye upon its people and the events, ordinary and sometimes extraordinary, of their daily lives. If he pokes fun at their foibles and some of their attitudes, he does so with affectionate humour, never malice. One apparently autobiographical story, ‘Am Measg nan Cudaigean’ (pp. 12-17), displays the same sensitive understanding of the mind of the young as does ‘Tiodhlaic Nollaig’.
Of the six short plays in Tìr an Aigh, the two most successful are ‘Bùth air Iasad’ (pp. 130-151) and ‘Eadar Cùirt is Coimeasan’ (pp. 152-174). Both deal with the involvement of various official
bodies in the life of island communities and the sometimes funny and sometimes tragic results. ‘Mòd Mhic an Toisich’ (pp. 88-106) is a mildly humorous send-up of the Mod ethos; and ‘Air Trèan Mhalaig’ (pp. 205-209) achieves some deft characterisation in the space of this very short play. Least successful are two plays with historical settings; ‘An Eaglais Eile’ (pp. 107-129) and ‘Air Tìr am Muideart’ (pp. 175-204. On the whole they lack Domhnall Grannd’s usual deftness of touch.
(2) D.G. ‘Aig a’ Chruinneachadh Bhliadhnail’. An Gaidheal, 57 (1962), 17-18.
An amusing sketch in which an anxious president of An Comunn tries to rehearse his speech for the Annual General Meeting.
(3) ‘Comhradh: A Feitheamh a’ Bhus’. An Gaidheal, 58 (1963), 52-53.
Not attributed to Domhnall Grannd, but there can be little doubt that it is his work. One of his best sketches, in which two native Gaelic speakers come up against a fanatically earnest learner.
(4) ‘Comhradh Eadar Dithis Chaileag’. An Gaidheal, 58 (1963), 92-93.
Like the previous item, not attributed to Domhnall Grannd, but almost certainly his work. A beautifully observed sketch of two small girls playing ‘nurse and patient’.
(5) Domhnall Grannd. ‘Mi fhìn is ainti B’. Mu ‘n Cuairt an Cagailte. Deasaichte le Domhnall MacGuaire. Inbhirnis: Club Leabhar, 1972, dd. 13-22.
Short story. A young islander’s first year at university and the effect of this transitional experience upon his family relationships and sexual attitudes.
GRANT, Donald. See: GRANND, Domhnall
MAC-AN-ABA, Iain (19th / 20th Century)
Iain Mac-an-Aba of Kilmuir in Trotternish was of the same family as the eighteenth century poet Niall Mac-an-Aba (q.v.), and was the father of Catriona Dhùghlas (q.v.). Most of his life was spent as a schoolteacher in his native district. He composed many songs, see his entry in the section for traditional
poetry and song.
Iain Mac-an-Aba. ‘Calum is Bantrach Tharmaid’. An Deò-Gréine, 18 (1922-1923), 18-21.
A short play which won first prize at the 1922 Mod. It was reprinted, along with a short play by Iain MacCormaig (MacCormaig 1925: 25-27).
MACAONGHAIS, Iain (1893-1976)
The Rev. John MacInnes, Iain MacAonghais, was a
native of Skye. He served as minister
in several places, including Hopeman, and was an
(Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1951).
Rev. John MacInnes. ‘Trì Seallaidhean’. Gailig [An Deò-Gréine], 18 (1922-1923), 147-150.
A simple and moving story of a widow’s only son, from happy childhood to his death in World War I.
MAC A’ PHI, Aonghas (1927-2011)
Aonghas Mac a’ Phi was born in Glasgow of Skye
parents and the family returned to live in Harlosh
in the west of Skye when he was still a boy.
He was head of the
Gaidhealach’s Duais an Sgriobhaiche for his book Cunnartan Cuain: see his entry in the section for journalism and miscellaneous prose. In an interview published in Facal air an Fhacal (An t-Earrach 1984:32-35) he discusses his life and work. Aonghas Mac a’ Phi was also a noted piper. See also his entry in the section for traditional poetry and song of known authorship.
(1) Aonghas Mac-a-Phì, and Sheila Denoon. Aisling Throcuill. Glaschu: Gairm, 1975. 48d: dealbhan.
A children’s story with a Jacobite theme which won for its author a Gaelic Books Council prize.
(2) Aonghas Mac-a-Phì. Na Sgeirean Dubha. Stornoway: Acair, 1994. 159p : illus.
A children’s adventure story. I have not had sight of this work.
MACASGAILL, Uisdean (20th Century)
A native of Skye. See also his entry in the section for journalism and miscellaneous prose.
Uisdean MacAsgaill. ‘An Lagan-maise’. Gairm, 126 (An t-Earrach 1984), 125-131.
Here the author has used the short story format to draw an effective and moving portrait of an actual person. Alasdair Dubh Thròtarnais, as he is called in the story, was gifted in both physical appearance and qualities of mind and spirit. However, the combination of a volatile personality and the trauma of World War I
doomed him to be one of life’s losers.
MACASKILL, Hugh. See: MACASGAILL, Uisdean.
MAC BHATAIR, Aonghas (20th Century)
Aonghas Mac Bhatair. ‘Tilleadh’. Gairm, 146 (Earrach 1989), 157-159.
MACCALMAIN, Tomas (1907-1984)
Tomas MacCalmain, the Rev. T. M. Murchison, was born
The Rev. Murchison distinguished himself in both his service to the Church and to the literature and politics of the Gaidhealtachd. Among his literary activities one might mention his edition for the Scottish Gaelic Texts Society of the prose writings of Donald Lamont (1960), his editorship of An Gaidheal from 1946 to 1958 and the Gaelic supplement to Life and Work from 1951 to 1980. His weekly column, ‘Comhradh Cagailte’ in the Stornaway Gazette ran from 1955 to 1983 under the pseudonym of Domhnall Donn. Before he died he had been working on an edition of the prose works of the Rev. Kenneth Macleod which was published posthumously by the SGTS in 1988.
(For information on the life and works of the Rev. T. M. Murchison see: entry in the Companion to Gaelic Scotland (Thomson 1983:206); an article by Fionnlagh Domhnallach in North 7, 41 (September/October 1980), 18-19) and an obituary in the West Highland Free Press (13th January 1984). See also the entry for the Rev. Murchison (Tomas MacCalmain) in the section for traditional poetry and song of known authorship)
T. M. MacCalmain. ‘Na Ceistean a Dh’fheuch ri Catto’. Gairm, 1 (Am Foghar 1952), 67-73.
The dialogue formula popularised by the Rev. Norman MacLeod in An Teachdaire Gaelach is here used to discuss the economic aspects of Scottish nationalism. I think however, that a straightforward essay might have
been better suited to the topic.
MACDHONNCHAIDH, Aonghas. See: ROBERTSON, Angus
MACDONALD, Martin. See: DOMHNALLACH, Màrtainn
MACDONALD, Norman. See: DOMHNALLACH, Tormod
MACINNES, John. See: MACAONGHAIS, Iain
MACLEOD, John. See: MACLEOID, Iain
MACLEOD, Kenneth (1871 – 1955)
Born and brought up in Eigg, Kenneth MacLeod was for some time a lay missionary of the Church of Scotland in various places in the Highlands and Islands, before being ordained to the ministry and serving in Colonsay and Gigha. He retired in 1947 and died in 1955.
(Information from Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticane, (4:69; 8:323; 9:392).)
During his long life the Rev. Kenneth Macleod was in contact with most of the well-known names in the Gaelic literary world, but perhaps he is best known as the Gaelic collaborator of Marjory Kennedy-Fraser. Professor Donald MacKinnon proposed him as collaborator to Mrs. Kennedy-Fraser and from the late spring of 1908 he worked with her on the four volumes of Hebridean song detailed below. For a discussion of the nature and results of that collaboration, see the introductory notes to the Kennedy-Fraser Collection and the Kenneth MacLeod Collection in the section for traditional poetry and song.
See also entries for Kenneth MacLeod in: the section for poetry and song of known authorship;
Sgioobhaidhean Choinnich MhicLeòid: the Gaelic Prose of Kenneth MacLeod. Edited by Thomas Moffatt Murchison.
Kenneth MacLeod wrote beautiful Gaelic prose in a style which owed much to the traditional Gaelic style as well as bearing the mark of his own distinctive personality. More than thirty years after his death this collection of his Gaelic prose writings edited by the Rev. T. M. Murchison was published in the Scottish Gaelic Texts Society series. The editor’s English-language introduction (pp. i-xlv) gives a valuable account of Kenneth MacLeod’s life and work.
Much of the material in this collection had not been previously published. Some of the material (i.e. nos. 1, 2 and 5) could be classified as non-traditional creative prose which I have listed below along with details of their previous publication. For details of other material in the collection, please see the section for traditional prose and the section for journalism and miscellaneous non-fiction.
‘An Cuan Siar’, pp. 1-6
(Previously published in: Celtic Review, 5 (1908-1909), 266-272)
‘Duatharachd na Mara’, pp. 7-21
(Previously published in: Celtic Review, 6 (1909-1910), 241-257; Rosg Gàidhlig (Watson 1915: 14-32) )
‘Là is bliadhna leis na h-Eòin’, pp. 38-49
(Previously published in: Celtic Review, 9 (1908-1909), 247-252, 324-332)
MACLEOD, Neil. See: MACLEOID, Niall
MACLEOID, Coinneach. See: MACLEOD, Kenneth
MACLEOID, Iain (20th Century)
Iain MacLeòid. An Sgàile Dhorcha. Glaschu; Gairm, 1992. 88 dd.
Novel set in Skye: about the interaction of two young Skye men and a group of Americans. I have not had sight of this book. Reviewed by Maoilios Caimbeul in Gairm (159:283-284).
MACLEOID, Niall (1843-1913)
Perhaps the most popular Gaelic poet of the
nineteenth century, Niall MacLeòid was born in
There have been six editions of Clàrsach an Doire, the collection of Niall MacLeòid’s poetry. From the second edition (1893) onwards, this work has also included four prose tales. Three of these are noted in the section for traditional prose and the fourth is noted below. Details of the sixth edition only are cited.
Niall MacLeòid. ‘Gaol Gàidhealach: Sgeul Firinneach’. Clàrsach an Doire: Dàin, Orain is Sgeulaichdan. Glaschu: Gairm, 1975. pp. 253-274.
This is clearly based upon the story of the elopement of Donald MacDonald of Monkstadt and Jessie MacDonald of Balranald. For a traditional version of this story, see Coinneach Mac a’ Phearsain’s entry in the section for traditional prose. Niall MacLeòid’s version of the story is so far removed from the traditional style that it cannot be regarded as a traditional tale.
MACNAB, John. See: MAC-AN-ABA, Iain
MACNEACAIL, Aonghas (1942 - )
Aonghas MacNeacail, Aonghas Dubh, was born in Uig, Skye. He is a writer whose work has encompassed
poetry and a range of other forms in several different areas. He is one of
what Derick Thomson has described as the ‘third wave’ of modern Gaelic poets
(Thomson 1977:265) After leaving
For his Gaelic poetry, see the New Poetry section.
(1) Aonghas MacNeacail. ‘ “Is e so Linn an Telebhisean” : Comhradh’. Gairm, 68 (Am Foghar 1969), 320-325.
Nightmarish pictures of how addiction to television can, in some individuals, take over the personality completely.
(2) Aonghas MacNeacail. ‘Faoileann’. Briseadh na Cloiche Deasaichte le Coinneach D. MacDhomhnaill. Glaschu: Roinn nan Cànan Ceilteach, Oilthigh Ghlaschu, 1970, dd. 70-81.
A haunting study of fear and prejudice within a small community. It embodies certain biblical analogies, moving towards a climactic analogy of the Crucifixion of Christ.
(3) Aonghas MacNeacail. ‘Seann Sgeulachd, Sgeulachd Nuadh’. Gairm, 82 (An t-Earrach 1973), 153.
A short parable on the destructive effects of the oil boom.
(4) Aonghas MacNeacail. Sgathach: the Warrior Queen. Nairn; Balnain Books, 1993. 32p: illus.
Retelling of the tale of the Celtic warrior queen said to have lived in the Cuillins of Skye. I have not had sight of this book.
MACPHIE, Angus. See: MAC-A-PHI, Aonghas
MACRUIRIDH, Iain (1843 - 1907)
I am indebted to Dr. Ronald Black for drawing my attention to the Rev. John MacRury, who he describes as “probably the most prolific Gaelic writer who ever lived and also a very gifted one”. He was born in Benbecula and was ordained to the ministry of the Church of Scotland. From 1886 until his death in 1907 he was parish minister of Snizort in Skye.
The Rev. MacRury was a poet and a prose-writer, and he edited the Church of Scotland’s Life and Work: Na Duilleagan Gàidhlig during his twenty years in Snizort. For a brief biography of him see Ronald Black’s edition of John Gregorson Campbell’s The Gaelic Otherworld (Black 2005: 647). For some years now Ronald Black has on a monthly basis published a short extract from the Rev. MacRury’s work in the Uist community paper Am Paipear.
MURCHISON, T. M. See: MACCALMAIN, Tomas
© A Loughran, 2016