Gaelic Literature  of the Isle of Skye: an annotated  bibliography   


Journalism and Miscellaneous Prose: A - MacF







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CAIMBEUL, Maoilios  (1944 - )

Maoilios Caimbeul was born in Staffin, Skye.  He was a schoolteacher for several years and also taught at Sabhal Mor Ostaig in Skye before retiring to  his native Staffin.  He has composed poetry (see section ‘Modern Poetry  and Song’), creative prose (see section ‘Non-traditional Creative Prose  as well as a range of non-fiction.  For further information on this writer and an up-to-date list of his works, see his website at



CAMERON, Calum.  See: CAMSHRON, Calum



CAMSHRON, Calum  (20th Century)


A native of Soay, a small island off the south-west coast of Skye.


Calum Camshron.  ‘Eilean Shòthaidh’.  An Gaidheal, 57 (1962, 75-77.


Calum Camshron was born and brought up on Soay.  His account paints in loving detail a picture of the life of a small close-knit community before a process of decline eventually emptied the island of its native inhabitants.


There have been numerous English-language accounts of Soay.  Calum Camshron’s account is unusual in that it has been written in Gaelic by a native of the island.



‘DAILEACH’  (19th / 20th Century)


‘Daileach’ was probably Donald MacPhie (see second section), who was born in Roag, Skye.  See also his entry in the section for traditional prose.


‘Daileach’.  Eachainn Hamara’.  An Deò-Gréine, 13 (1917-1918), 70-71.


A biographical sketch of Hector MacLean, Eachainn Hamara, who was a prominent elder of the Free Church in Duirinish in the 19th Century.  Hector’s fellow elders are the subject of Domhnall MacLeòid (Domhnall nan Oran)’s famous satire ‘Eildearan an Lòin Mhóir’ (see entry in section for traditional poetry and song).  Here, ‘Daileach’ expresses the opinion that Eachainn Hamara was not yet an elder at the time of the poem’s composition.  However, an article in an earlier issue of An Deò-Gréine implies that he was and on better terms with Domhnall nan Oran than his fellow elders (An Deò-Gréine 12:7-8).  Dr. R. C. MacDiarmaid has recounted an amusing story of an encounter between Domhnall and Eachainn (TGSI, 1:24-25).



DOMHNULLACH, Eoin  (20th Century)


Eoin Domhnullach belonged to Kilmuir in Skye.  See also his entry in the section for traditional prose.


Eoin Domhnullach.  Thall ‘s a-Bhos: (1) Drochaid a’ Chaoil’.  Gairm, 69 (An Geamhradh 1969), 11-13.


The writer begins by recalling Coinneach Odhar’s prophecy that one day there would be a bridge between Lochalsh and Skye.  He then goes on to made a strong plea for such a bridge to be built, maintaining that Skye’s economic prosperity would depend upon such a venture.


The bridge between Kyleakin in Skye and Kyle of Lochalsh on the mainland was eventually built, opening in 1995.



DOMHNALLACH, Màrtainn (1937 - )


Distinguished bilingual journalist and broadcaster Màrtainn Domhnallach was born in Skye and began his career there as Skye correspondent for the Inverness Courier and the Oban Times.  From 1965 he worked as a Gaelic producer for the BBC in Glasgow, before returning to freelance journalism.  From 1976 until 1981 he was Gaelic editor of the Highlands and Islands Development Board’s periodical North 7.  From January 1973 until February 1984 he contributed a Gaelic column to the West Highland Free Press before becoming head of the BBC’s Radio Highland.  He has contributed a chapter on the media to Gàidhlig ann an Albainn: Gaelic in Scotland (Thomson 1976: 57-67) and has contributed Gaelic material to Derick  Cooper’s Skye Remembered (Cooper 1983).


 In 2004 Màrtainn Domhnallach was awarded the Barron Trophy in recognition of a lifetime of achievement in journalism.   Màrtainn Domhnallach’s short story Falach Fead’ is noted in the section for non-traditional creative prose.


i     Màrtainn Domhnallach.  ‘Ratharsair’.  Gairm, 79 (An Samhradh 1972), 203-204


Written at the height of a notorious affair in Raasay when absentee landlord Dr. John W. R. Green blocked any attempts at development and improvement of his property.  Màrtainn Domhnallach does not spare Dr. Green, but points out that the inactivity and indifference of Gaels themselves allowed the situation to persist.


ii    Màrtainn Domhnallach.  ‘Na Coigrich’.  Gairm, 84 (An Foghar 1973), 324-328;  85 (An Geamhradh 1973), 74-80; 86 (An t-Earrach 1974), 117-126.


As a general principle I usually only list in this section for journalism and miscellaneous non-fiction material which deals mainly, if not entirely, with Skye and its adjacent islands.  However, because of the social and cultural importance of the subject matter of these articles I am including them.


The first article discusses in general terms the movement of non-Gaels into the Gaidhealtachd.  The second discusses the Army presence in South Uist and Benbecula, as well as the Navy presence at Kyle of Lochalsh.  The third article discusses the social and cultural problems caused by the proliferation of 'second homes' in the Gaidhealtachd.


iii   Màrtainn Domhnallach.  Comhairlean Coimhearsnachd: Bruidheann Neo Buaidh?’  North 7, 29 (September/October 1976), 20-22.


The role of community councils in the Gaidhealtachd is examined.  Includes several references to Skye.  There is a summary in English.


iv    Màrtainn Domhnallach.  ‘Bun-sgoil is colaisdeslighean ura do Ghaidhlig ann am foghlum?’  North 7, 43 (January/February 1981), 19-21: illus.


Discusses the inquiry conducted by Glasgow University’s Department of Education into the feasibility of the establishment of Gaelic medium primary schools.  Also discussed is the projected Gaelic medium business studies course at Sabhal Mor Ostaig, the Gaelic College in Skye.  This course was successfully established shortly afterwards.


v    Màrtainn Domhnallach.  Da chanain bheo bho bheul na h-oigridh  North 7, 44 (March/April 1981), 8-11: illus.


An examination of the bilingual education project initiated by the Highland Regional Council in 1978 in five Skye primary schools.   The issues and problems involved for parents, children, teachers and education authorities are discussed in detail.


vi   Màrtainn Domhnallach.  Cosnadh dha ‘n Ghaidhealtachd bho innleachdan ur  North 7, 44 (September/October 1981), 10-12: illus.


An account of Gaeltec Ltd., an electronics company which manufactures medical equipment near Dunvegan.  As well as describing the successful growth of the company, the article focuses the problem of the workforce

composition; of the seventeen-strong workforce, only four belonged to Skye.



DOMHNALLACH, Tormod  (1904-1978)


Tormod Domhnallach, Norman MacDonald, was born at Valtos, Staffin, on 15th August 1904.  He was educated at Valtos Primary School, Portree High School and the University of Glasgow.  He served as a minister of the Presbyterian Church in Canada from 1933 until 1942, before returning to Scotland, where he served in various places until his retirement in 1972.  He died in 1978. 

(Lamb 1961:396; Tocher 30:406).


The Rev. Domhnallach recorded a considerable volume of material for the School of Scottish Studies in the University of Edinburgh.  He published a number of poems of his own composition, as well as the works of other poets which he had collected from the oral tradition. 


As far as the Rev. Domhnallach’s own literary efforts are concerned, there can be little doubt that prose was his preferred form of literary expression.  The volume of his published prose works is considerable, and whether he is telling a traditional story or relating biographical anecdotes, the influence upon him of

the traditional Gaelic storytelling style is always obvious.  See his entries ( 1  and   2 ) in the section for collections of traditional prose.  See also his entries in the section for non-traditional creative prose.


Tormod Domhnallach.  ‘Eilean a’ Phrionnsa’.  Gairm, 85 (An Geamhradh 1973), 37-45.


Account of a stay on Prince Edward Island, Canada from the winter of 1932 until the spring of 1933.  There is an interesting account of the flourishing state of Gaelic culture on the island at the time, with particular reference to its connections with the Rev. Domhnallach’s native Skye.



GRANND, Domhnall (1903-1970)


Domhnall Grannd was born in Camuscross, Sleat, Skye.  He was educated at Duisdale School, Portree High School, Glasgow University and Jordanhill Teacher Training College.  He taught in various schools until his retirement in 1968, serving as headmaster in three of them.  He also taught Gaelic at Jordanhill from 1951 to 1954.  He died in Glasgow in 1970.


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 (Grannd 1971: 7-8) ).


See also the entries for Domhnall Grannd in the section for poetry and song of known authorship and non-traditional creative prose.


i     Domhnall Grannd.  Gleanndail is na Glinn Ud Thall’.  Sruth (8th August 1968), p. 4.


Account of a visit to Glendale during a holiday in Skye.  Includes an account of Iain MacAoidh, who was schoolmaster at Borrodale for more than forty years.  Iain MacAoidh had started to learn Gaelic when he came to Glendale.  He became fluent in the language within three years and taught it to his son David.  Among his pupils was Niall Ros (see entries for Niall Ros in this  section and in the sections for poetry and song of known authorship, and non-traditional creative prose).


ii    Domhnall Grannd.  Croitearachd’.  Sruth (12th December 1968), p.2.


Discussion of crofting, past present and future, with particular reference to Camuscross in Skye.


iii   Domhnall Grannd.  Seinn Shalm is Oran’.  Sruth (3rd April 1969), p.2.


Discussion of traditional singing which includes an account of the singing of the Gaelic psalms during his boyhood in Sleat.


iv    Domhnall Grannd.  Mòd Eilean’.  Sruth (12th June 1969), p.2.


Account of the Skye Provincial Mod in 1969.


v     Domhnall Grannd.  Faicinn Bhuam’.  Sruth (10th July 1969), p.2.


Includes brief accounts of Eilean Iarmain and Camuscross in Sleat.


vi    Domhnall Grannd.  Faicinn Bhuam’.  Sruth (24th July 1969), p.2.


Includes a discussion of Eilean Iarmain as a fishing port in days gone by and the building of Skye’s new airstrip.


vii   Domhnall Grannd.  Gàirnealachd’.  Sruth (7th August 1969), p.2.


Includes a brief discussion of the etymology of the place-name ‘Eilean Iarmain’.  He maintains that ‘Eilean Diarmain’ is the more correct version, the name having been originally ‘Eilean Tiorramain’.


viii   Domhnall Grannd.  Turus Uilleim do Eilean Diarmain’.  Sruth (4th September 1969), p. 2.


Account of a young Drumchapel man’s visit.


ix     Domhnall Grannd.  Eaglaisean is Creideamh’.  Sruth (5th February 1970), p. 2.


Discussion of Camuscross’s two churches, the Church of Scotland and the Free Church.



GRANT, Donald.  See: GRANND, Domhnall



INNES, Jim.  See: MACPHERSON, John Angus



M, I. D.  (19th / 20th Century)


I have not been able to establish the identity of this writer.


I. D. M.  ‘Mar a Dh’ionnsaich na Sgitheanaich Iasgach an Sgadain’.  An Sgeulaiche, 1 (1909), 85


The story of Lachlann Mór MacFhionghuin,’Glagan Glùin’, of Suishnish, the first Skyeman to fish for herring with a net.



MAC-A-PHEARSAIN, John Angus.  See: MACPHERSON, John Angus.



MAC A’ PHI, Aonghas  (1927 - 2011)


Aonghas Mac a’ Phì 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 Art Department at Inverness High School until his retirement in 1986.  He and his wife settled in the Black Isle.  In 1982 he won An Comunn Gaidhealach’s Duais an Sgriobhaiche for his book Cunnartan Cuain noted below.  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 entries in the sections for traditional poetry and song and non-traditional creative prose.


Aonghas Mac a’ Phì died in February 2011 at the age of eighty-three.


i     Aonghas Mac-a-Phì.  Cunnartan Cuain.  Loanhead, Midlothian: C. MacDhomhnaill, 1981.  87, [1] d., dealbhan.


This book, illustrated by the author, won An comunn Gaidhealach’s Duais an Sgriobhaiche for 1982.  It describes two events associated with Loch Bracadale in Skye, one tragic and the other comic.


Bathadh Chlann-a-Phì’ (pp. 9-46) is the story of the drowning of the author’s great-grandfather, Iain Mac-a-Phì, along with one of his sons in the loch  in 1889.  The events of ‘Bliadhna nan Cragan (pp. 47-87) took place during the Second World War, when the people of Harlosh ‘retrieved’ a consignment of corned beef from a South American ship wrecked off the loch.


In his review of Cunnartan Cuain (Gairm 119:283) Domhnall Meek remarks that its fluent, polished Gaelic is enriched with local idioms.


ii    Aonghas Mac-a-Phì.  Latha aig Cùl-nan-Gleann’.  Gairm, 122 (An t-Earrach 1983), 121-130.


The author recalls his boyhood in Harlosh when fish was plentiful and the people of the district were skilful at harvesting their food from both sea and land.  Most of the article is taken up with an account of a day’s lobster fishing at Cùl-nan-Gleann, the wild stretch of coast between Idrigill Point and

Neist Point, in the company of his uncle and grandfather.



MAC-A-PHI, Domhnall.  See: MACPHIE, Donald



MACASGAILL, Uisdean  (20th Century)


A native of Skye.  See also his entry in the section for non-traditional creative prose.


i     Uisdean MacAsgaill.  ‘Fo Sgaile Ghlamaig’.  Gairm, 96 (Am Foghar 1976), 359-371.


Uisdean MacAsgaill’s father was a gamekeeper.  ‘Fo Sgaile Ghlamaig’ begins in 1920, when the writer was twelve years old and the family moved to Sconser from Ullinish.  It ends in 1922, when he left home to go to

Portree high School.


A way of life is clearly recalled, moving through the various seasons.  Most outstanding is the opening section, which describes the twenty-mile trek on foot from Ullinish to Sconser when the young Uisdean took the family’s cow to their new home.  A beautifully evocative piece of writing.


ii    Uisdean MacAsgaill.  Crogadh’.  Gairm, 102 (An t-Earrach 1978), 109-111.


Description os a ship shearing week during boyhood, vividly depicting the intense physical exertion involved.  It includes a memorable portrait of one particularly wild and troublesome sheep.


iii   Uisdean MacAsgaill.  Seachran Sunndach’.  Gairm, 110 (An t-Earrach 1980), 116, 125-127.


Account of a visit to the ruins of Caisteal Uisdein, the fortress built by Uisdean Mac Ghilleasbuig Chléirich near Cuidreach in Trotternish.






MACCALMAIN, Tomas (1907-1984)


Tomas MacCalmain (the Rev. T. M. Murchison) was born in Glasgow of Skye parents, and returned to Skye with them at the age of six.  For further information, see his entry in the section for poetry and song of known authorship.  See also his entry in the section for non-traditional creative prose.


MacCalmain, T. M.  Coirechatachain ‘.  An Gaidheal, 58 (1963), 116, 125-127.


Rev. Murchison was brought up in Kylerhea, in the parish of Strath, and from his childhood heard many old stories of the district, particularly about the family of MacKinnon who for generations inhabited the house of Coirechatachain.  He relates some of those stories in this two-part article.


In the first part there are some anecdotes of Fear a’ Choire and Gilleasbuig Aotrom, which are noted in Gilleasbuig’s entry in the section for traditional prose.  The second part, ‘Céilidh Mhór Choire-Chatachain’, deals with the celebrated visit to Coireahatachain in 1779 of Dr. Samuel Johnson and James Boswell.  There is also genealogical information about the family of Coirechatachain and mention of the poet William Ross, who would have been a boy of nine at the time, living nearby.



MACDHOMHNAILL, Iain A. (1920 – 1980)


John A. (Jake) MacDonald was born in Skye.  He was Head of the Gaelic Department, Jordanhill College until his retirement in 1978.  He wrote several Gaelic courses, such as Gàidhlig Bheò and was also a broadcaster.


(Information from: Thomson 1983: 168)


i     Iain A. MacDhomhnaill.  Sgeul nam Bàrd’.  The Skye: One Hundred Years.  Glasgow: Glasgow Skye Association, 1965, pp. 56-62.


A review of poets who have composed in, or adjacent to, Skye from the mediaeval period onwards.  Illustrated by quotations from the poetry.


ii   Iain A. MacDhomhnaill.  Blàr a’ Chumhaing agus Cor nan Croitearan an 1882-1883’.  Oighreachd agus Gabhaltas.  Air a dheasachadh aig Domhnall MacAmhlaigh.  Obar-Dheadhan: Roinn an Fhoghlaim Cheiltich, Oilthigh Obar-Dheadhan , [1981], dd. 12-22.


A discussion of the Battle of the Braes in Skye: one of the most significant events to take place during the crofters’ struggle for land in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.









MACDONALD, Martin.  See: DOMHNALLACH, Màrtainn




























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













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