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Biography, Gaelic
John Donald
Publication Date
07 August 2014
Available for Sale
Birlinn Ltd

Bàird Ghleann Dail / The Glendale Bards

a selection of songs and poems by Niall MacLeòid (1843-1913), ‘The Bard of Skye’, his brother Iain Dubh (1847-1901) and their father Dòmhnall nan Òran (1787-1872)
by Meg Bateman with Anne Loughran (Editors) - Find out more about the author

‘An epic collection’ – Scottish Field

This book marks the centenary of Neil MacLeod’s death in 1913 with the republication of some of his work. It also publishes for the first time all of the identifiable work of his brother, Iain Dubh (1847–1901), and of their father, Dòmhnall nan Òran (c.1787–1873). Their contrasting styles mark a fascinating period of transition in literary tastes between the 18th and early 20th centuries at a time of profound social upheaval. Neil Macleod left Glendale in Skye to become a tea-merchant in Edinburgh. His songs were prized by his fellow Gaels for their sweetness of sentiment and melody, which placed a balm on the recent wounds of emigration and clearance. They are still very widely known, and Neil’s collection Clàrsach an Doire was reprinted four times. Professor Derick Thomson rightly described him as ‘the example par excellence of the popular poet in Gaelic’. However, many prefer the earthy quality of the work of his less famous brother, Iain Dubh. This book contains 58 poems in all (32 by Neil, 14 by Iain and 22 by Dòmhnall), with translations, background notes and the melodies where known. Biographies are given of the three poets, while the introduction reflects on the difference in style between them and places each in his literary context. An essay in Gaelic by Professor Norman MacDonald reflects on the social significance of the family in the general Gaelic diaspora.

Meg Bateman is a lecturer at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in Skye, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands, and has a fine knowledge of Gaelic culture. She has published four collections of her own poetry and is co-editor and translator of several anthologies.

Anne Loughran has a degree in Celtic Studies from Aberdeen University and an MLitt on the bibliography of the Gaelic literature of Skye. She has published articles on Gaelic song.

Norman MacDonald has worked in teaching and in broadcasting in Scotland and in North America, and has given conference papers in Scotland and Canada on Gaelic poets, Skye history and Celtic Studies. He has recently completed a major book on Skye biography.