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Metadata for text 45
No. words in text22112
Title Dòmhnall Ruadh Chorùna: Orain is Dain le Dòmhnall Dòmhnallach a Uibhist a Tuath
Author Dòmhnallach, Dòmhnall
Editor MacAmhlaidh, Fred
Date Of Edition 1969
Date Of Language 1900-1949
Publisher Gairm
Place Published Glasgow
Volume N/A
Location National, academic, and local libraries
Geographical Origins North Uist
Register Literature, Verse
Alternative Author Name Dòmhnall Ruadh Chorùna
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 21.9cm x 14.5cm
Short Title Dòmhnall Ruadh Chorùna
Reference Details Edinburgh Central Scottish Lending: Stack PB1648.1951
Number Of Pages 101
Gaelic Text By N/A
Illustrator N/A
Social Context Dòmhnall Ruadh Chorùna was born in 1887 in Corùna, Cladach Baleshare, in Carinish, North Uist. He had two brothers and a sister. He went to school in Carinish and, after leaving school, took on various odd jobs. At the age of 17 he joined the Militia. Dòmhnall Ruadh joined the Camerons on the outbreak of war in 1914, and was sent to the trenches in France. He was wounded on the Somme in 1916 and returned to England to recover. He later returned to France and spent the rest of the war in the West Riding Field Regiment as he was no longer considered fit for the front line.

Dòmhnall Ruadh returned to Corùna after the war, at the age of 31, to find that the land which had been promised to returning servicemen was not forthcoming, and that shooting and fishing rights were still in the hands of the landowners. Partly due to this, and partly due to his experiences during the war, the first few years back in Corùna were difficult for him. Gradually however, his disquiet eased, and between the wars Dòmhnall Ruadh took up stone-masonry, as many islanders were building new houses at this time. He built over thirty houses before the outbreak of World War Two. Dòmhnall Ruadh married Ann MacDonald (Anna Ruairidh ’ic Nèill) and they had two children, Calum and Mary, both of whom died in 1965, leaving no families of their own. In his last few years, Dòmhnall Ruadh suffered much illness, and he died on 13th August 1967. His wife survived him until 1971.

Dòmhnall Ruadh began composing poetry at the age of 13 but it was during the First World War that he began to produce significant amounts of poetry, and some of his best songs. Dòmhnall Ruadh seems to have come from a family of bards, including his grandfather (Dòmhnall mac Ailein ’ic Chaluim) and his grandfather’s sister (Mairead nighean Ailein ’ic Chaluim), and also his second cousin Maggie MacQuarrie, née Boyd (Magaidh ’Illeasbaig Choinnich), to whom Dòmhnall Ruadh always recited his poems.

As Dòmhnall Ruadh did not learn to write Gaelic at school, his poems were written down for him. Much of it was collected by Seonaidh Ailig Mac a’ Phearsain from North Uist, who was teaching at the school in Paible at the time. The orthography used in this first edition seems to be closer to the poet’s own dialect, whereas the orthography of the second edition has been standardised (see Edition below). The editor of both editions is Fred MacAmhlaidh, who is also from North Uist.
Contents This volume contains 57 poems by Dòmhnall Ruadh Chorùna. The poems cover a variety of subjects, including the First World War, North Uist, local and international happenings, Gaelic, elegies, old age and death, and the changes that have occurred in Uist during his lifetime.

The poems are presented in three sections as follows:
Earrann 1 (pp. 11-36) which contains 12 poems composed between 1914 and 1920.
Earrann 2 (pp. 37-67) which contains 17 poems composed between 1920 and 1945.
Earrann 3 (pp. 69-101) which contains 28 poems composed between 1945 and 1966.
Sources
Language Dòmhnall Ruadh’s poems contain early-to-mid twentieth century Gaelic reflecting the author’s North Uist background.

The war poems include Oran do’n Chogadh (pp. 13-16), Tha mi Duilich, Cianail Duilich (pp. 20-21), and Dh’fhalbh na Gillean Grinn (pp. 24-25). These poems contain some useful terminology relating to the First World War as can be seen from the chorus and first two stanzas of Dh’fhalbh na Gillean Grinn: ‘Dh’fhalbh na gillean grinn \ Fon cuid armaibh; \ ’S ann rium fhìn a chòrdadh \ A bhith ’n còir nam balachan; \ Dh’fhalbh na gillean grinn \ Fon cuid armaibh. \ Gun d’leum iad an truinnse, \ Ruith an cùrsa dìreach, \ ’S dh’fhosgail teine cinn orra \ Le innleachd na Gearmailt. \ ’S ged a leum iad sunndach, \ Dol mar fhiadh sa bhùireadh, \ Chaog an nàimhdean sùil riuth’ \ ’S rinn iad dhiubhsan targaid’ (p. 24).

In a number of poems, such as Cha b’ e Gunna Mo Namhaid (pp. 17-19), Nam Bithinn Mar Ian (pp. 30-31), and Oran na Seilge (pp. 32-33), the poet contrasts his situation in the First World War with memories of Uist. For example, in Cha b’ e Gunna Mo Namhaid we find ‘Cha b’ e gunna mo nàmhaid \ Och a b’àbhaist mo dhùsgadh, \ Ach a’ cheilearachd bhòidheach \ Bh’aig na h-eòin an Corùna. \ Aig an uiseag ’s an smeòrach \ ’S druid a’ crònan a brùndail \ … \ An éirigh gréine bu toigh leam \ Goire coileach na fraochchirc. \ Is mac an fhéidh a’ chuil donnaich \ Am Beinn na Coille nan caorach. \ An uair bhidh oidhcheannan reòt’ ann \ ’S ann leam bu bhòidheach a bhùirich. \ A toirt làmh air a’ ghunna \ Bhiodh an cuilean ’s a shùil rium’ (p. 17) and ‘Is beag a shaoilinn an uair ud \ Gu robh ’n cruas seo gam’ ionnsaigh. \ ’S e gaol na mosgaid a dh’fhàg \ Fo ghlas-làmh aig a’ Chrùn mi— \ an gaol a thug mi ’nam òige \ A bhith ’n còmhnuidh ’ga stiùireadh’ (p. 19). An Eala Bhàn (pp. 34-36) was Dòmhnall Ruadh’s only love song, written for Maggie MacLeod from Lochmaddy, and it again is tinged with war, having been written while the poet was in France: ‘Tha ’n talamh lèir mun cuairt dhiom \ Na mheallan suas ’s na neòil \ Aig na shells a’ bualadh—  \ Cha lèir dhomh bhuam le ceò; \ Gun chlaisneachd aig mo chluasan \ Le fuaim a’ ghunna mhòir; \ Ach ged tha ’n uair seo cruaidh orm, \ Tha mo smuaintean air Nic Leòid’ (p. 34).

Most of Dòmhnall Ruadh’s poems in praise of Uist were composed between the end of the First World War and the beginning of the Second World War. They include Uibhist Mu Thuath (pp. 52-53), Moladh Eubhal (pp. 60-61), and Eubhal (pp. 42-44), a poem which is also tinged with sadness at the memory of those who will never walk those paths again. Uibhist Mu Thuath in particular is full of terminology relating to wildlife and nature. For example, we find ‘Tha lochan ’s a h-òib fo gheòidh ’s fo ealaidh, \ Fo lachain ’s fo chòrr mu bhòrd gach bealaich; \ Na naoisg aig an lòn measg feòir is canaich \ ’S damh cròic’ an gleannan na còinnich’ (p. 53). Latha Iasgaich, cuide ri Domhnall Seumas (p. 72) was composed after this time and also remembers those who have passed away, although with the realisation that the poet himself is getting old and may not have much longer to live: ‘’N uair thàinig ann dhuinn an t-àm bhith tréigsinn, \ ’S mo dhòchas gann gur e ceann mo réis e, \ Nach till an samhradh a bheir a nall mi, \ ’S nach tig an geamhradh ’s mi call mo léirsinn’ (p. 72).

A number of Dòmhnall Ruadh’s poems were composed about local happenings, such as Oran A’ Ghuana (pp. 39-41), on the introduction of artificial manure to the island in 1920, and An Drochaid Ur (p. 84), on the opening of the causeway between North Uist and Benbecula in 1960. Direct speech occurs in a few of the poems dealing with local issues. In Oran A’ Ghuana, for example, we find: ‘Thuirt Murchadh ri Peige, \ “’S beag a dh’eagal a bhios òirnne, \ Ma gheibh sinn dad a shìol, \ Nach bi ’m bliadhn’ againn cònnlach; \ Théid an taigh a thughadh \ Is cha mhuran bhios ’na ròpan \ Ach coirce fada liath \ Théid a shnìomh le mo dhòrn-sa.”’ (p. 39). Some of his songs were quite humorous, such as Oran A’ Home Guard (pp. 56-57) and Do’n Mheanbhchuileig (p. 89). Dòmhnall Ruadh also composed a number of elegies and eulogies, such as Do Ruairidh Chirceabost (p. 88), Marbhrann do Dhomhnall Eairrtsidh Howie (pp. 65-66) and Marbhrann do Dhomhnall Aonghuis Iain Mhoir (p. 83).

In addition to local events, Dòmhnall Ruadh also composed about international happenings, such as the role of a young Lewis lad in rescuing survivers from a sinking ship in 1940 in Calum Moireastan an Arlington Court (pp. 58-59), and Oran an H-bomb (p. 82), which begins ‘An t-inneal sgrios a rinn ar nàmhaid \ Chum ’s gun bàsaicheamaid còmhla, \ ’S truagh nach d’thiodhlaic iad ’s an t-sàl e, \ An doimhneachd an làin a chòpadh. \ B’fheàrr an saoghal bhith mar bhà e \ Ged bhiodh blàir ann agus còmhstri, \ Thilleadh cuid dhinn mar a b’àbhaist \ Eadar a bhith slàn is leòinte’ (p. 82).

In his later life, the poet’s thoughts turned to the changes that had taken place during his life and these are reflected in poems such as Oran nan Sgoilearan (pp. 77-78), Oran na h-Aeroplane (p. 80), and Caochladh Suidheachadh na Duthcha (pp. 92-93). He also began to make verse about old age, an early example of which is Thig ’s Cha Tig (p. 67), and, latterly, about death, in poems such as Bha Duil Agam Mus Fhaighinn Bas (pp. 94-95), Chan Fhaic Mi Rionnag (p. 96), and Chuala Mi’n Damh Donn (p. 99). In Chan Fhaic Mi Rionnag, for example, we find ‘’S rocte seacte tha mo ghruaidh, \ Tha mo chridhe fuar gun mhiann, \ Dh’fhàg mi as mo dhéidh na fhuair \ Is chaidh mi dh’an uaigh gun sian. \ Ach fhir thig ’s tu ’g amharc bhuat— \ Chì thu fàs air m’uachdar fiar— \ Cùm ri faire, thig an uair \ Anns an téid mu d’chuairt an lìon’ (p. 96).

Religious terminology appears throughout the text, and particularly in the later poems about death, where we find, for example, Cò ’s urrainn mo thilleadh ’s an Tighearna ’gam shireadh (p. 101), tha ’n Triuir air a sgath (p. 101), an rìoghachd an t-sòlais (p. 101), Air a shaoradh leis an Uan (p. 100), O’n Riaghladair gu h-àrd (p. 97), ‘Na peacannan a ghnìomhaich mi / ’S na bliadhnaichean a dh’fhàg, / An Sàtan ’s e ’gam riaghladh-sa’ (p. 97), and Càit ’s an àm am bheil do Dhia? (p. 96).

Boating terminology appears in a number of poems, including Am Fianuis Uibhist (pp. 55-56) and Motor-Boat Heillsgeir (p. 54), where we find ‘Seonaidh Mór ’ga stiùireadh, ’s gu robh shùil cho geur \ Ri caiptean air criùsair dol a dh’ionnsaigh euchd; \ Bha mise ’s mi crùbadh ann an cùil leam fhéin, \ ’S an crodh ris an taobhstoc air an taodadh réidh’ (p. 54).
Orthography Non-standard forms, many of them reflecting North Uist Gaelic, appear in words and phrases such as uileadh (p. 34), ’S i toirt turrag air a fiaradh (p. 40), A ghearradh srad am bliadhna (p. 39), A’ brodanachadh pìoba, \ ’S a bìogail toirt spàirn air (p. 41), dhòghannan rather than dòighean (p. 41), còrnairean (p. 41), ’S i dreag gach aon an t-òrduchadh (p. 65), ’g ràitinn (p. 65), O, d’ìobairtean gun dòigh! (p. 80), le mialaint (p. 80), stòireannan (p. 80), ’n uair readh (p. 80), and Chum ’s (p. 82).

The orthography used is that of the later twentieth century, and includes forms such as diag (p. 13), siod (e.g. p. 21), dh’an, dhòmh-sa, and o’n.
Edition First edition. A second edition was published in 1995 by Comann Eachdraidh Uibhist a Tuath. The second edition includes English translations of the text and poems, additional information about the poet and about life in Uist, some prose transcriptions of the poet talking about his experiences during the war and about how Corùna got its name, two verses by other poets in memory of Dòmhnall Ruadh Chorùna, and a number of photographs. The second edition also includes a few extra poems, collected from Maggie MacQuarrie, the poet’s second cousin, for example Gu Mo Mhathair (on page 10 of the second edition) and Oran Dhan Dara Cogadh (on page 100 of the second edition), and extra verses for a number of poems, such as Dh’fhalbh na Gillean Grinn (pp. 24-25), Motor-Boat Heillsgeir (p. 54), and Moladh Eubhal (pp. 60-61).

The orthography in the second edition has been altered to conform with the Gaelic Orthographic Convention (GOC), for example, do’n becomes dhan, diag becomes deug, De August becomes De dh’August, tigh’nn becomes tighinn, Di-Ciadain becomes Diciadain, and acute accents have been replaced by grave accents.
Other Sources
Further Reading Dòmhnallach, Dòmhnall, Dòmhnall Ruadh Chorùna (Lochmaddy, 1995: Comann Eachdraidh Uibhist a Tuath).
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