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Metadata for text 14
No. words in text39312
Title A’ Sireadh an Sgadain, Seumas Ruairidh agus Ruairidh Sheumais
Author MacMhaoilein, Calum
Editor N/A
Date Of Edition 1990
Date Of Language 1950-1999
Publisher Gairm
Place Published Glasgow
Volume N/A
Location National, academic, and local libraries.
Geographical Origins Lewis
Register Literature, Prose
Alternative Author Name N/A
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 23.1cm x 15.4cm
Short Title Sireadh an Sgadain
Reference Details EUL, Celtic Library: LI G MacM
Number Of Pages [2], 90
Gaelic Text By N/A
Illustrator N/A
Social Context A fictional story, based on an historical event (the 1902 boat race), which is centred around two families of fishermen in the Lochs district of Lewis. Although most of the characters in the story are fictional, one or two, such as Dòmhnall MacRath from Balallan and Murchadh Ailig from Gravir, are not. The author has also changed the names of the boats in the race, giving them all Gaelic names, although he does mention in the short ‘Roimhe-Radh’ the actual names of the winning boats from this race.

The author has written several books for young adults, including Na Fogarraich (1990) which won him the Prize for Literature at the 1991 National Mod.
Contents The book is in two sections: I. Seumas Ruairidh, and II. Mairead Òg. The first part contains 8 chapters and the second 7 - none of the chapters are named.

The story follows the life of Seumas Ruairidh, who was born in Gravir 1871, and the lives of his family and friends, as they grow up, get married, earn a living, and live through two World Wars. The story begins with Seumas Ruairidh, as a 16 year old boy, taking part in the Deer Park Raids of 1888, during which time he meets a young girl in Balallan. After the Raids, he gets a job on board a fishing boat and spends many years working there. He joins the Royal Naval Reserve along with his best friend, and spends his free time courting his future wife who is now in domestic service in Stornoway. When they marry, he tries to get out of the RNR but has to agree to be called up if necessary.

In 1902, the fishing boats hold a boat race in Stornoway to mark the visit of King Edward VII and his wife to the island. Seumas Ruairidh eventually buys the boat he has been working on and takes command of the crew. His wife dies shortly after the birth of their fifth child and when he returns to work at sea he gets a nanny to look after them. Called up in 1914, he serves in the war, spending six months in hospital after an injury. Having sold his boat to the Admiralty in 1914, he buys a new, more modern boat after the war, one with two Kelvin engines, and returns to the fishing with his two eldest sons. He eventually marries again. Part I ends with Seumas’ death, from heart failure, at the age of 62.

Part II follows the lives of Seumas’ family - his parents and his children - and tells of their marriages, their children, and their part in the Second World War. The story ends around 1946 with the end of the war and with the purchase, by his sons, of another new fishing boat.
Sources The author heard about the 1902 race from his father who had taken part in it.
Language This text contains terminology relating to a number of topics such as boating and fishing, families, and war.

Boating and fishing terminology includes terms such as cuibhlear ‘the man responsible for wheeling in the rope on a fishing boat’ (p. 14), cur na mara ‘seasickness’ (p. 17), an dorgh ‘the hand-line’ (p. 18), leathaigeadh ‘removing the last of the herring from the nets and preparing them for the next night’s fishing’ (p. 19), ceapsan ‘capstan’ (p. 39), and gàrradh-togail-shoithichean ‘shipyard’ (p. 47).

Terminology relating to families includes aiseid ‘childbirth’ (p. 28), cliamhainn ‘son-in-law’ (p. 46), maighdean ‘bridesmaid (p. 47), gille comhailteach ‘best man’ (p. 47), and muime ‘stepmother’ (p. 54).

Terminology relating to war includes A’ Chabhlach Rìoghail (p. 20), fòrladh (p. 33), Cogadh a Chèiseir (p. 63), feachd-adhair (p. 82), a’ leigeil bhomaichean (p. 83), fuaim bomair (p. 83), bomb itealach (p. 83), and Ministrealachd an Dìon (p. 83).

There are also a number of words and phrases throughout the text which are English borrowings or derived from English usage, such as eildear (p. 4), stòradh (p. 14), lìnigeadh (p. 14), curs a sheatadh (p. 16), rèis (e.g. p. 25), baighseagal (p. 45), suipear (p. 47), air deac (p. 73), a’ leigeil bhomaichean (p. 83), fuaim bomair (p. 83), bomb itealach (p. 83), cripleach (p. 84), dhan cheabain (p. 88), and puist feans (p. 90).

The story is written in the third person and there are a number of examples of direct speech, e.g. “A bheil e a’ dol gad phòsadh?” \ “Chan eil guth aig’ air a sin, agus ged a bhiodh cha phòsainn-sa e.” \ “Bha làn dhùil agamsa gum pòsainn fhìn thu nuair a bhiodh an t-iasgach seachad, ach feumaidh sinn an dùil sin a leigeadh às an dràsda co-dhiù. …” (p. 60).

The text also contains quite a number of general phrases and idioms, such as aig na h-uile (p. 2), na bha cruinn (p. 2), bha e gu mòr leis (p. 4), glè fhada na cheann (p. 4), tha sùil aig’ annad (p. 7), nach ist sibh (p. 7), rinn iad mocheirigh (p. 10), a’ cumail sùla a-mach (p. 20), faisg a mhìle air (p. 23), bha i air a h-aineol (p. 24), cha b’ e ruith ach leum (p. 25), bhiodh là mòr aig luchd nam breug (p. 29), and bha iad air an corra-biod gus an cluinneadh iad (p. 41).
Orthography This book is written in fluent twentieth-century Lewis Gaelic. Many interesting examples of the author’s dialect can be seen, for example in words and phrases such as mun do rather than mus do (p. 2), ma tà rather than ma-thà (e.g. p. 3), chan urrainn mise rather than chan urrainn domhsa (p. 4), bhatar rather than bhathar (e.g. p. 6), ùbarraid rather than ùpraid (p. 6), dreise rather than greise (p. 9), dheidheadh rather than rachadh (e.g. p. 21), leò rather than leotha (e.g. p. 21), ma-seach rather than mu seach (e.g. p. 22),  instead of latha (e.g. p. 29), na rather than no (p. 67), cionnas (p. 78), and Dòmhnall Tharmoid rather than Dòmhnall Thormoid.

Other interesting words and phrases include the use of air bith rather than sam bith (p. 11), a dhoidhirpeachadh air rather than a dh’fheuchainn ri (p. 11), toileach rather than toilichte (p. 46), and a bhàrr air rather than a bharrachd air (p. 73).

The orthography is generally that of the late twentieth century. The author uses only the grave accent, but does not follow GOC recommendations in all cases, often using d instead of t (e.g. a-rèisde, p. 60). He does not prefix dh’ to nouns beginning with a vowel after the preposition de (e.g. de àradh, p. 11). He does not replace an do with na as some other Lewis writers do (e.g. gus an do ràinig, p. 5).
Edition First Edition. There are black and white photographs throughout, mostly of Stornoway and Lochs. There appear to be few typing errors.
Other Sources
Further Reading MacMhaoilein, Calum, Na Fogarraich (Stornoway, 1990: Acair).
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