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Metadata for text 113
No. words in text37469
Title Reul-Eolas: anns am bheil Cunntas air Cuspairibh an Rian-Ghreine; agus Fath-sgriobhadh ’s am bheil Gearr-shealladh air na Reultaibh Suidhichte
Author Conall, Donnachadh M.
Editor N/A
Date Of Edition 1857
Date Of Language 1850-1899
Publisher Oliver & Boyd
Place Published Edinburgh
Volume N/A
Location National and academic libraries
Link Digital version created by National Library of Scotland
Download File PDF / plain text 
Geographical Origins Argyll
Register Literature, Prose
Alternative Author Name Rev. Duncan MacNair Connell
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 15cm x 9.5cm
Short Title Reul-Eolas
Reference Details EUL, Celtic Library: LI.G CON
Number Of Pages 124
Gaelic Text By N/A
Illustrator N/A
Social Context Duncan MacNair Connell was born in the parish of Muckairn in Argyllshire in 1823. He studied at Glasgow University and later at Free Church College Aberdeen. Connell was ordained as a Free Church minister in 1862, at Fortingall in Perthshire, and worked for some time in Aberdeen. He resigned from the Free Church in 1879 to join the Established Church, and took up a post at St. Kiaran’s in Govan.

The Roi-ràdh informs us that the author’s decision to write this book arose from a sense that Highland education was falling behind Oilean nan Gall with regard to texts on all types of subjects: ‘Tha da-rìreadh an LEABHAR is fearr na gach uile leabhar aca ’nan cainnt bhlasda, dhruighteach féin; gidheadh, tha e iomchuidh gum biodh aca mar an ceudna leabhraichean do eolasan coitchionn, mar a tha air am buileachadh air an co-chréutairibh a tha càllaichte anns gach oisinn do’n t-saoghal’ (p. vi). A footnote tells us that càllaichte means ‘civilized’. He continues, ‘Gheibhear ann an dùthchaibh eile gach Ealdhain is Innleachd, a tha air am faotainn a mach le daoine teoma, fòghluimte air an clò-bhualadh, agus air an sgaoileadh am measg an t-sluaigh ’nan cainnt mhàthaireil; ach ann an Gàidhealtachd na h-Alba tha na nithe so air an cumail air an ais … ’Se rùn an Ughdair anns an obair so a bhi ’togail suas meangan do aon do ghéugaibh maiseach, torrach an Eòlais choitchinn, a chum ’s gum biodh sgéimh a measa air a faicinn, agus déidh gu blasad dheth air a gintinn’ (p. vi). Connell also expresses the hope ‘gu’n dean eadhon an oidheirp lag so a dhearbhadh gu soilleir, gu bheil comasan aig ar cànain a dh’ fhaodas a bhi air an gnàthachadh ann a bhi ’toirt soluis do ’n aineolach air Ealain agus innleachdan ar ginealaich. Tha e mar an ceudna a’ meas gu bheil e mar fhiachaibh air gach neach, a reir a chothroim, a bhi ’cuir an céill “oibre iongantach an Tighearna.”’ (pp. vii-viii). The introduction concludes with a quote from Psalm cxlv. It is clear from the Roi-ràdh, and from some of the chapter titles, that in writing this book, Connell is happy to combine scientific and Christian understanding of the universe in his discussion of this topic.
Contents This text begins with a Roi-ràdh (pp. v-viii) by the author (see Social Context above).

An Rian-Greine (pp. 9-116) contains 29 chapters as follows: Cumadh an Talaimh (pp. 10-16), Meudachd an Talaimh (p. 17), Gluasadan an Talaimh (pp. 18-32), Là agus Oidhche (p. 33), Aimsirean na Bliadhna (pp. 33-43), Gaothan-Malairt (pp. 43-46), Gliocas agus Cumhachd a’ Chruithfhir (pp. 46-49), Seolan-Mara (pp. 49-56), A’ Ghealach (pp. 56-61), Dubhar-Gealaiche (pp. 62-63), Dubhar-Gréine (pp. 63-65), A’ Ghrian (pp. 65-77), Na Planaidean, sealladh coitchionn orra (pp. 77-78), Mercurius (pp. 78-83), Bhenus (pp. 83-84), An Talamh (pp. 84-85), Mars (pp. 85-88), Reultagan, no Beag-Phlanaidean (pp. 88-91), Iupiter (pp. 91-95), Saturn (pp. 95-97), Herschel no Uranus (pp. 97-100), Neptunus (pp. 100-104), Reultan Seachrain (pp. 104-05), Beachdan Cràbhach (pp. 106-09), Roinnean Aimsirean (pp. 109-16), Làithean (pp. 109-10), Seachduinean (p. 111), Mìosan (pp. 111-12), Bliadhnachan (pp. 112-16).

In Fath-Sgrìobhadh, anns am bheil cunntas air na reultaibh suidhichte (pp. 117-22), there is some discussion of the distance between Earth and the stars, and of reultan dùbailte and reultan trìbilte – clusters of stars that revolve around each other.

Clar-mìneachaidh fhocail (pp. 123-24) comprises a list of 29 Gaelic terms, together with explanations or synonyms in Gaelic, and their English equivalents. Examples include Dus, smùr nithean malcta do ainmhidhean no luibhean; remains (p. 124) and Tiugh-ni, ni daingean; solid (p. 124).

At the back of the book are 4 pages entitled Extracts of Testimonials in favour of this Treatise (pp. i-iv), containing remarks from ten Free Church Ministers. Of particular interest are the comments of Rev. Alex. Cook, A.M., Stratherrick, who wrote, ‘Amid the wide “diffusion of useful knowledge” among the people for a number of years past, and when even the Welsh and Irish languages have been enriched with popular expositions of science, it is surprising that nothing of the sort should have been attempted for the Scottish Highlanders in their native tongue. Mr. D. M. Connell of Aberdeen deserves great credit for making a commencement in supplying this defect, in a Treatise on Astronomy, which he has prepared in Gaelic, and is now putting through the press. The difficulties of such an undertaking are obviously considerable; but, from a perusal of the work in manuscript, I am happy to see that he has overcome those of a literary kind completely. He has put our venerable Celtic to the unwonted work of conveying scientific ideas with remarkable success, finding easy and expressive native phrases even for the technical terms, and stating the leading principles and facts in a lucid and forcible manner. The style, while idiomatic, is sufficiently free from local peculiarities to be, I believe, everywhere intelligible in the Highlands’. A few of the other ministers also comment on the effectiveness of Mr. Connell’s Gaelic in explaining scientific ideas. Rev. Alexander Cameron, Ardersier, for example, notes that Connell’s Gaelic is ‘pure and classical, being evidently on the model of the Gaelic Scriptures’.
Sources
Language This text is an excellent source for the terminology of astronomy, and is full of expressions and terms relating to the earth, the other planets, the stars, the sun, and the moon. The Testimonials of Rev. Cook and Rev. Cameron, just noted, accurately characterise the language of this text. Although the language is to an extent literary and Biblical, Connell’s Gaelic is easy to read, and he explains complex concepts effectively by relating them to less complex ideas in an informative and fluent manner. The text also contains a number of explanatory diagrams.

The author’s style of writing can be judged from the following passage in the first chapter, which focuses on the notion that the earth is round rather than flat: ‘Ma ghabhas tu cuspair sam bith, agus ma chuireas tu e fa chomhair na coinnle a tha laiste ann ad’ sheomar anns an oidhche, chi thu coslas a’ chuspair sin ann am faileas air a’ bhalla. Ciod air bith e dealbh a’ chuspair, ’s e so dealbh an fhaileis: ma tha an cuspair ceithir-oisneach, no tri-oisneach, tha mar an ceudna am faileas: agus tha e air a thabhairt fainear nach dean cumadh sam bith faileas cruinn a thilgeadh uaith, anns gach suidheachadh anns am faodar a chuir, ach cumadh cruinn, cosmhuil ri cumadh ubhaill. Fhuaradh a mach gu bheil faileas an t-saoghail so air a’ ghealaich, a ghnath, ciod air bith e ’n taobh dheth a tha air a thionndadh rithe aig an àm, do chumadh cruinn: agus do bhrigh nach dean cuspair sam bith ach cuspair cruinn, dubhar cruinn a thilgeadh a mach, anns gach cor anns am faodar a chuir, cha ’n eil ni’s faide teagamh nach e dealbh a’ bhuill so do chruitheachd an Uile-chumhachdaich air am bheil againne ar còmhnuidh, dealbh cruinn, ni-eigin cosmhuil ri ubhall’ (p. 15).

We are given much information about the Earth itself in this text, e.g. ‘’Se tomhas an talaimh troimhe, o Chrann gu Crann, 7899 mìle. ’Se sin nam biodh dealg—no aisil a’dol troimh a’ theis-meadhoin, o dheas gu tuath, b’e fhad 7899 mìle. ’Se a thomhas troimhe aig a’ Chearcall-mheadhoin 7925½ mìle. Chithear mar so nach ’eil e gu h-iomlan cruinn, ach ni-eigin cosmhuil ri ubhall, no òr-mheas’ (p. 17).

However, the greatest amount of space is devoted to the other planets in the Universe, and on the stars. For example, in Gluasadan an Talaimh (pp. 18-32), we find ‘Tha cuid do reultan anns an iarmailt, agus an àireamh gu mòr is mò, ris an canar reultan suidhichte, no socruichte, do bhrigh gu bheil iad a ghnath air am faicinn anns an aon suidheachadh do thaobh càch a chéile. Tha àireamh bheag eile do reultan ann a tha ’g atharrachadh an ionaid do thaobh suidheachadh nan reultan eile, agus air an aobhar so ris an canar planaidean no reultan siubhlach. ’Se ’s ciall do ’n fhocal Planaidean, Seachranaichean. Mar so goirear do reultan a’ Chrann-Arain, na Slait-thomhais, agus Grunnan no Grioglachan nan Seachd-Rionnag, Reultan Suidhichte, ach goirear do Reul na maidne, no Reul a’ bhuachaille, mar a chanar dhith ’an cuid do àitibh, agus do Mhars, is beagan do reultaibh eile, Planaidean’ (pp. 25-26). Compare also: ‘A rìs, tha e dearbh-chinnteach gu bheil Mercurius, Bhenus, Mars, Iupiter, agus na saoghail eile a tha a’ mealtuinn teas agus soluis na gréine againne, a’ gluasad m’a timchiol, ann an cuairtean, a tha, cuid diubh nis faisge, agus cuid diubh ni’s faide uaipe: agus uaith so nach ’eil e coltach mar an ceudna, gu bheil an cruinne so air am bheil againne ar crannchur, ’a triall timchioll a chuspair cheudna cosmhuil ri a chompanaich?’ (p. 31).

In later chapters, we are given information about specific stars, as can be seen from the table of contents. In Reultan Seachrain (pp. 104-05), we find ‘Goirear reultan seachranach dhiubh do bhrigh gu bheil iad a’ siubhal ann an cuairtibh a tha ro-mhi-chosmhuil ri cuairtibh nam planaidean, oir tha iad aig aon àm gle dhlù air a’ghréin, agus aig àm eile ro-fhada air falbh uaipe. Ghoir sinn dhiubh roimhe reultan-fionnaidh, do bhrigh gu bheil an coitchionn earball mòr aca, a tha ’sealltuinn mar gu’n robh e air a dheanadh suas do ròinean do fhionnadh’ (p. 105).

We are also given much information about the sun and the moon, and their effects on the Earth. For example, in A’ Ghealach (pp. 56-61), we find: ‘Tha a’ ghealach gun tàmh a’ leantuinn an talaimh ’na chuairt timchioll na gréine. Tha i ’toirt soluis dhuinn nuair a tha’ ghrian as an t-sealladh, agus mar so a’ toirt air falbh o thiamhaidheachd agus ogluidheachd na h-oidhche. Cha’n ’eil a’ ghealach gu dearbh a’ soillseachadh le a solus féin: ’se th ’innte ball dorcha, agus cha ’n e ball soillseach mar a’ ghrian, agus mar so an solas a tha sinn a’ faotainn uaipe-se, ’s ann o’n ghréin a tha e ’teachd; ach air dha bualadh oirre-se, tha e air a thilgeadh air ais uaipe a chum an talaimh’ (p. 57). In Dubhar-Gealaiche (pp. 62-63), we are told: ‘Tha an dràsd’ agus a rìs an talamh a’ tighinn dìreach anns an aon sreath eadar a’ ghrian agus a’ ghealach, agus mar so ag aobharachadh a’ choslais ris an canar Dubhar-Gealaiche. ’Sann a mhain aig àm na gealaich làin a tha an talamh a’ tighinn eadar a’ ghrian agus a’ ghealach’ (p. 62).

With regard to Seolan-Mara (pp. 49-56), we are told: ‘’S i a’ ghealach an cuspair is dlùithe air an talamh ’am measg nan reultan, no nam planaidean, agus air an aobhar sin tha a comas-tàlaidh-se gu mòr ni’s mò na comas-tàlaidh aoin air bith dhiubh-san. … Leis an tarruing so tha na h-uisgeachan air an toirt gu bhi ’bolgadh a mach air an taobh is faisge oirre-se; tha iad mar an ceudna ni’s airde air an taobh is faide air falbh uaipe: agus tha iad le a tàladh-sa air an tarruing o na h-earrannan a tha eadar an dà bholg so, air chor agus anns na h-aitibh eadar-mheadhonach sin gu bheil iad ni’s ìsle, agus mar sin tràghadh anns na cearnaibh sin’ (pp. 50-51).

Connell frequently provides us with the historical background to important discoveries within the field of astronomy. For example, in Reultagan, no Beag-Phlanaidean (pp. 88-91), we are told how the asteroid belt was discovered: ‘Bha e air a thoirt fainear o cheann ùine fhada gu’n robh comh-fhreagarrachd àraidh anns an astar a bha eadar na planaidean, saor o ’n astar eadar Mars agus Iupiter. … Air a’ cheud là do ’n bhliadhna 1801, bha saothair Phiasi air a’ dioladh le Ceres, aon do na beag-phlanaidean a tha ’s a’ bhealach so a bhi air a’ faotainn a mach leis, aig Palermi ann an Sicili’ (p. 89). In Herschel no Uranus (pp. 97-100) we are told: ‘Fhuair an reultair ainmeil sin, Sir Uilleam Herschel, a mach a’ phlanaid so, air an treasamh là deug do ’n Mhàrt, 1781. Goirear Herschel dhith le cuid mar chuimhneachan air-san. Ghoir e fein Reul-Dheòrsa dhith, mar onoir air Deorsa III[,] a bh ’air a’ chathair aig an àm an d’ amais e oirre. Ach ’se Uranus an t-ainm leis am bheil i air a’ comharrachadh le speuradairean dhùthchan céin’ (p. 98).

In Bliadhnachan (pp. 112-16), Connell provides us with information relating to the number of days in the year, the occurrence of leap years, and the change of calendars. He also occasionally provides the reader with interesting anecdotes with special relevance to the Highlands. For example, in the chapter on Bhenus (pp. 83-84), which is characterised as a’ phlanaid air an dara cuairt o ’n ghréin (p. 85), we are told: ‘’S i so a’ phlanaid is bòidhche ’nam measg uile. B’e so an t-aobhar a thug air na Pàganaich an t-ainm, Bhenus, a ghairm dhi; ’s e sin Ban-dia gràidh, eireachdais, agus maise. … An uair a chitear leinn i ’s a’ mhaduinn, beagan roimh éiridh na gréine, canar dhith an Reul-mhaidne, no Lucifer; ’nuair chithear i ’san anmoch, an Reul-fheasgair, no Hesperus: no ’an cuid do earrannaibh do ’n Ghàidhealtachd Reul a’ bhuachaille’ (p. 84).

God, as the Creator of the universe and all things in it, appears frequently throughout the text. For example the chapter on Gluasadan an Talaimh (pp. 18-32) begins ‘Tha dà ghluasad shònruichte aig an talamh, a bhios sinn a nis a’ feuchainn a mach, agus anns am bi air fhaicinn leinn, air mhodh ro-shoilleir, Cumhachd, Gliocas, agus Maitheas a’ Chruithfhir. … Leis na gluasadan so tha ’n t-Uile-chumhachdach a’toirt mu’n cuairt gu bhi a’ leantuinn a chéile, ann an ordugh maiseach, là agus oidhche, samhradh agus geamhradh, earrach agus fogharadh’ (p. 18). In his discussion of gravity, Connell writes, ‘Thugamaid fainear, tha lagh, no reachd àraidh air a chuir leis a’ Chruithfhear anns gach cearna do ’n chruthachadh, leis am bheil comas aig gach uile chuspair, a réir a mheudachadh, a bhi ’tàladh chuspairean eile d’a ionnsuidh. … ’S ann leis an lagh a tha ’n so a tha a’ chlach, a tha thu’ tilgeil suas anns an adhar, a’ pilleadh a nuas a dh’ionnsuidh an talaimh a rìs. … Goirear dheth Comas-tàlaidh’ (pp. 28-29).

A number of quotations from the Bible appear throughout the text, particularly in Gliocas agus Cumhachd a’ Chruithfhir (pp. 46-49), e.g.: ‘Cionnus a tha ’n obair is ainmeile a rinn mac duine riamh a’ crìonadh gu neo-ni, ’nuair a choimeasar i ri leithid so do obair a tha air a’ cuir an gniomh ’na aonar leis-san “a tha ’deanamh nithe mòra agus do-rannsachaidh; nithe iongantach gun aireamh?” (Job v, 9.)’ (p. 49).

Other terms and expressions of interest include le gloine-amhairc (e.g. p. 25), air aisil (e.g. p. 33), con-tràigh (p. 53), do ’n chruinne-cé (p. 57), gealach ùr (p. 59), reuladairean (p. 60), gealach bhuidhe na Féill-mícheil (p. 61), Ealdhain Reultaireachd (p. 64), reul-fionnaidh ‘comet’ (p. 69), speuradairean (p. 72), cuid do chàileadairean (p. 74), o’n àile shoillseach ‘from the luminous gas’ (p. 75), do phlanaidean beaga no reultagan (p. 78), and Tha Crios-teth an talaimh air fhionnuarachadh leis a ghaoith a ta ’tighinn o na Croinn; agus tha na Criosan-fuara air am blàthachadh leis a ghaoith o ’n Chrion-theth (p. 46).

Also of interest are the terms and expressions for days, months, and years that are mentioned towards the end of the book: Latha nadurra, Latha Reultail, Latha Grianail, Latha Gealachail (pp. 109-10); Mios Reultail, Mios Gealachail, Mios Cumanta, no Mios Miosachain (almanaic) (pp. 111-12); and Bliadhna Chomh-fhad-thrath, no Bliadhna Ghrianail, Bliadhna Chumanta, Bliadhna-Leim.
Orthography The orthography is a typical example of the mid-nineteenth century. As to dialect, the language of this text is aptly described by Rev. Cook in his Testimonial for the work (quoted above), as being ‘sufficiently free from local peculiarities’. A few potentially dialectal forms nevertheless appear, e.g. urradh rather than urrainn, e.g. ni mò is urradh dhuinn (p. 121).
Edition First edition.
Other Sources
Further Reading Ewing, Rev. William, Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, Vol. I, (Edinburgh, 1914: [n. pub.]).
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