‘Clàran Dhail Riada’ le Àdhamh Ó Broin

Tha am brath-bloga seo sgrìobhte ann an dòigh-litreachaidh a tha a’ riochdachadh na dual-chainnt air a bheil Àdhamh a’ dèanamh iomradh. Faodar èisteachd ri Àdhamh fhèin ’s e a’ leughadh seo a-mach an seo:


Dail Riada1 : Chan eil àite ann an Albainn far an deachaidh na bu lugha de dhaoine ag iarraimh blasad den Gháidhlig a bh’ ann. Chaidh cùl an t-saoghail a chur ris an dual-chainnt –cha mhór air fad- gu 2009 nair a thóisich mi ’hé air an obair ris a’ bheil mi an ceartair. ’S e Nils Holmer am fear mu dheireamh a reinn oidhirp mhór dualchas na dùthcha a ghleidheil ’s cha robh esan toigheach air innealan-clàrachaimh. Chan eil ach ceithir clàran beag’ air a bhith ann an Tobar an Dualchais, a thog Calum Mac-Ill-Eathain le boireannach Nic an Léigh2 ann an Creiginis. Bha e air a bhith dhìth orm gu mór ma-tà Gáidhlig Dhail Riada a chluinndinn ’s ré nam blianaichean bho 2009, tha mi air clàran fuasach briagh fhaodainn ’s mi rùrachamh tasglann Sgoil Eòlais na h-Albann.

Tha sinn a’ feuchainn an ceartair ri na clàran uile a chur ri dalriada.scot fam bith ead ri chluinndinn do dhuine sam bith, gu sònraichte ùiseil do dhaoine a bhitheas air son an dual·chainnt ionnsachamh. Seo a-nis mar a thachair mi air Gáidhlig dùthaich m’ àrach air clàr.

’S e a’ chiad chlàrachamh a chaidh a dhèanamh ann an Dail Riada -cho fad ’s is fiosraich mise- an fheadhainn a reinn Fread Mac-Amhlaigh ann an 1954 air son an Survey of Gaelic Dialects. Gu dearbh, chuir Eric Cregeen seachad beagan ùine le corra dhaoine san dùthaich, ach bha a’ chuid a bu mhotha de sin ann am Beurla, gead a tha clàran uarraidh math de Ghill-Easbaig (bràthair Dheonaidh) Mac a’ Bhiocair3 ann ’s e bruidhinn mun cuairt air dualchas Taobh Loch Fìn.

Tha deas cuimhn’ agam air a’ chiad uair a chualaig mi Gáidhlig Chomhghaill, air an robh mi ’g amas an dóiseachd. ’S e seana chlàr de dh’Aralaid Nic-Creamhainn4 a chur mi air dòigh, mun deachaidh cruth duideatach a chur air ’s thighearna, chòrd e rium. Bha dòigh car uasal oirre, a cuid Gháidhlig ga toirt seachad gu mall, sgiobalta. Bha an stad-glodallach ri chluinndinn gu làidir ’s bha blas coimheach grinn aice. Dh’ionnsaich mi am facal cromamh-cinn5 bhuaiche am measg gu leòr a ghnothaichean eile. Bha fhios agam gu robh clàr dhith-se ann ’s gu robh clàr de bhoireannach eile, Máiri Nic an Lìosa 6 ri chluinndinn. Gead nach robh gu leòr a dh’fhiacail aig Máiri, ’s fhiach éisdeachd ris a’ chlàr dhith-se cuideachd ’s Gáidhlig na dùthcha aice glé cheart. Theireamh muinntir Ghlinn Dà Ruadhail Polly Fisher rithe sa Bheurla ’s tuigidh tu car-son ’s i togail bradan sè punnd gu leth ás an abhainn nair a bha i na caile.

Dealbh 1: Gill-Easbaig, Alasdair agus Donnchamh Bacastair
Dealbh 1: Gill-Easbaig, Alasdair agus Donnchamh Bacastair

’S e na chuir an iontas orm gu mór, na thuair mi de chuideigin air nach do chualaidh mi idir, Gill-Easbaig Bacastair7, duine furanach, creasda á Caol an t-Snàimh. Chaidh mo dheagh charaid Dàibhidh Mac-Laomainn 8 ga fhaicinn gu bitheanta sna 70an ‘s thuair e uabhas bhuaidhe. Bha e mìorbhaileach uairean air uairean da ghuth a chluinndinn agas ’s ann mar sin a dh’ionnsaich mi Gáidhlig Dhail Riada an dóiseachd, le bhith ’g éisdeachd ris-san fad an fheasgair ’s mi dol a laidhe. Thuair mi an uiread fhacail bhuaidh’ nach bitheamh e nam chomas h-aon dhiuch’ a thaghamh idir.

An déidh dhomh páipearan Holmer ás an dùthaich a leughamh o cheann gu ceann, bha amharras agam nach robh diubhar mór ann eadar Gáidhlig Chomhghaill ’s Gáidhlig Mheadhain Arra-Gháidheil. Thóisich mi ag éisdeachd ri clàran eile á Dail Riata ’s thachair orm gu robh sin fìor, bha a’ cháineal cha mhór co-ionnan mun Iar ‘s mun Ear. Shin agad mar a tháinig Dual-chainnt Dhail Riada beò nam inndinn.

Tha clàran a chaidh a dhèanamh air son an Survey á Cnapdail, Taobh Loch Fìn, Cille Mhàrtainn ’s Creiginis ri chluinndinn, car mun aon fhad sa tha an fheadhainn á Comhghall, mu dheich mionaid gach fear dhiucha. ’S e an aona sgeul a th’ annda uile. “Dé thachair air a’ Gháidhlig?” Chan eil beachd aig h-aon dhiucha. “Dh’fhalbh i co-thiù”. Tha guthan briagh aig na luchd-labhairt air fad agas bheir e ’m mulad orm corr’ uair ‘s mi ’g éisdeachd riucha. Tha ’d uile marbh ’s an cáineal cuideachd. ’S math gu bheil i air tighinn beò ás ùr nam theaghlach. Clann an Tuirneir, Mic an Rothaich, Clann ’ic Calaim, ’ic Artair ’s ’ic Ealair. Fear Caimbeal ann an Cille Mhàrtainn aig an robh cainnt coimheach math. Gach h-aon dhiucha marbh ’s a’ chlann –ma bha ’d ann- gun fhacal Gáidhlig. Tha cuimhn’ agam gun do chòrd e rium gu mór facal eile ionnsachamh air gille-Brìde, cràigean, facal nach eil ri fhaodainn ann an Dwelly fon aona chiall, agas a bh’ aig Máiread Nic-Calaim 9 á Creignis.

Chaidh Dàibhidh Mac-Laomainn a shealltainn air corra dhaoin’ eile san dùthaich ’s nì mi cuid dhiuch’ ainmeach an seo. ‘S e Alasdair Caimbeal 10 á Loch Obha a’ chiad neach-labhairt de Gháidhlig an Loch a chualaig mi riadh ’s an aon h-aon a chaidh a chlàrachamh cho fad ’s is fiosraich mi. Gead nach do bhruidhinn e bho cheann fichead blian’ i, bha e gu math fileanta thathast ’s ghabh esan ‘s Dàibhidh beachd air cuid mhath de ghnothaichean sa chomhradh. Dh’ionnsaich mi am facal sìol-losgainn 11 bhuaidhe. Chaidh e a chéilidh air boireannach Bean Nic-Lachainn ás a’ Chrìonan agas gu dearbh, té Nic-Nèill 12 á Taigh a’ Bhealaich aig an robh an stad glodallach a bu treas’ a tha mi air cluinndinn roimhid na na dhéidh. Reinn Dàibhidh rudaigin eile math cuideachd. Chuir e cuid de Chlann ‘ic Fhilip (dom buineamh Bean Nic-Nèill) comhla gus bruidhinn ri chéile sa chainnt aca ’hé ’s abair gu bheil i gasda ri chluinndinn; Arra-Gháidheal a’ bruidhinn ruinn á linn a dh’aom gu dearbh.

Nam bheachd·sa, chan eil clàran san tasglann á Dail Riada cho tarrainneach sa tha an fheadhainn a reinn Dàibhidh le Deonaidh Mac a’ Bhiocair 13 á Loch Giorra. Tha mac a bhràthair thathast beò ’s bithidh mi dol ga fhaicinn gu bitheanta. Bha Gáidhlig eagallach bòidheach aig Deonaidh; cho glodallach sa ghabhas, dòigheil, sgairteil, ceòlmhor, rud beag geur ach coltas fuasach càirdeil air an duine, Gáidhlig cho math sa chualaig mi an àite sam bith á beul, na clàr gu dearbh, agas cleachdainn aig Deonaidh anail a ghabhail gu grad an déidh na h-uile gas a thuirt e. Ghabh ead beachd air na h-uile cusbair comhla ’s dh’ionnsaich mi uabhas ásda, na measg gum b’ àbhaist dhaibh cailleach a ràdh ri bun-tàta grot.

Bho sin, tha Seumas Grannd air cuid de chlàran a dhèanamh, tràth sna 80an, le Dùghall Mac-Phàidein ’s Seasaidh Chaimbeal á Comhghall ás an duair mi ‘m facal baoiteag 14 –an aon h-aon á Ceann Loch Goill a chaidh a chlàrachamh riadh- le Deonaidh Mac a’ Bhiocair ’hé ‘s cuideigin eile ás an Atha, Taobh Loch Obha, gun tighinn air corra chlàran á Cnapdail. Chaidh Dàibhidh air ais don dùthaich na dhéidh comhla ri Eric Hamp ann an 1985 ‘s reinn ead clàr eile le Dùghall Mac-Phàidein 15. Dh’ionnsaich mi ‘m facal dùn-chrìon16 bho sin. Thuair ead Alasdair Bacastair cuideachd, bràthair Ghill-Easbaig, goirid mun do shiubhail e, ach b’ e sin crìoch a’ ghnothaich gu 1996 nair a chaidh Mìcheal a’ Bhail’ Ùir 17 a shealltainn air dithist á Creiginis 18, cuid den fheadhainn mu dheireamh aig an robh an dual·chainnt gu fileanta. ‘S e obair sònraichte cudramach a bh’ ann an sin.

Dealbh 2: Àdhamh Ó Broin, Aonas MacAonais 's Domhall Burgess
Dealbh 2: Àdhamh Ó Broin, Aonas MacAonais ‘s Domhall Burgess

Bho sin, tha mi air a bhith feuchainn air daoine aig a’ bheil blasad de dh’fhacail Gháidhlig ‘s sgeultan mun cuairt air Gáidheil a bha fanachd san dùthaich fhaodainn. Chaill sinn Aonas Mac-Aonais bho cheann beagan bhlianaichean, fear á Taigh a’ Bhealaich agas mac piùthar Bean Nic-Nèill. ’S e duine gasd’ a bh’ ann ’s bha e gu math toileach ùin’ a chur seachad comhla rium ’s mi feuchainn ri fios fhaodainn air na daoin’ uile ás an dùthaich. Tha Ràibeart Mac a’ Bhiocair, mac Ghill-Easbaig, fileanta gu ìre, ach ’s ann á Muile a bha a mháir agas dh’fheumamh tu bhith car faiceallach ’s tu togail ghnothaichean bhuaidhe. Thug e ainmean nan corrag dhomh, rudaigin nach robh agam ’s a-nis tha ‘d aig a’ chloinn, is gasda leam a ràdh. Òrdag, corragag, mealla-fada, mac an lùba, lùdag. Shin agad e.

Dealbh 3: Ràibeart Mac a' Bhiocair, Àdhamh, Saorsa, Caoimhe 's Lachann
Dealbh 3: Ràibeart Mac a’ Bhiocair, Àdhamh, Saorsa, Caoimhe ‘s Lachann

Mum faigh sinn na h-uile clàr thun dalriada.scot ‘s mur a’ bheil ach treiseag agad ’s tu ann an Sgoil Eòlais na h-Albann, éist ri Deonaidh Mac a’ Bhiocair ‘s gu dearbh rud sam bith a reinn Dàibhidh Mac-Laomainn le Gáidheil air an robh e a’ céilidh. Chan fhaigh u comhradh cho nàdarrach, fileanta, fada ’s tha a leithid dìreach iomlan math ‘s tu feuchainn air Gáidhlig ghlan ionnsachamh ’s a’ cháineal an latha an-diugh cho uarraidh lag aig cuid mhór de dhaoine.

Ma tha sibh eòlach air clàr sam bith de Gháidhlig an àite theaga’ nach cualaidh mi, bhithinn fada nur comain nan cuireamh sibh fios gam ionnsaidh mun cuairt orra!

Gu dearbh, ’s e tha na amas leam gum bith cothram aig an dual·chainnt seo dol air aghaidh, gum bith daoin’ eile ga h-ionnsachamh ’s ga bruidhinn ris an clann ’hé. Gead nach duair i am bàs air fad, cha dèan aona theaghlach an gnothach. Tha mi ’n dòchas nair a théid na clàran uile ri dalriada.scot gum faigh luchd-éisdeachd a’ cheart uiread tlachd ásda sa thuair mi ’hé. Mur a b’ e na laoich a chaidh a-mach air sràid an Arra-Gháidheal chum Gáidhlig an àit’ a thogail, cha b’ urrainn dhomh a’ cháineal seo a thoirt air ais beò idir. ’S ann air an son-san ma-tà a tha an crioman seo de sgrìobhamh. Gu robh móran math agaibh uile.

Tha Àdhamh Ó Broin ri còmhnaidh ann an Glaschu ged a bhuineas e do Chomhghall ann an Earra-Ghàidheal. Tha e an sàs ann an iomadh pròiseact agus iomairt a bhios a’ cleachdadh agus a’ brosnachadh na Gàidhlig.

  1. Creiginis, Taobh Loch Obha, Cille Mhàrtainn, Cille Mhìcheil, Cnapdail, Taobh Loch Fìn, Comhghall ’s Bòd.
  2.  Mrs Livingstone http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/person/5009 (with Calum MacLean 1958)
  3.  Archie MacVicar Loch Gair, Lochfyneside, (with Eric Cregeen, 1968 also with Iain Fraser, 1971)
  4.  Harriet Crawford Stuckreoch, Strathlachlan, Cowal (with Fred MacAuley, 1954)
  5.  “a cause of embarrassment”
  6. Mary Simpson The Cottage, Glendaruel, Cowal (with Fred MacAuley, 1954)
  7. Archie Baxter Glac a’ Mhaoil, Colintraive, Cowal (with David Clement, 1972-78)
  8.  David Clement
  9.  Margaret MacCallum Little Castle, Craignish, Argyll (with Fred MacAuley 1954)
  10.  Sandy Campbell Lochaweside, Argyll (with David Clement 1975)
  11.  “frogspawn”
  12.  Mrs MacNeil Dunamuck, Kilmartin, Mid-Argyll (with David Clement 1970s)
  13.  John MacVicar The Castle, Loch Gair, Lochfyneside, Mid-Argyll (with David Clement 1972-1989)
  14.  “earthworm”
  15.  Dugald MacFadyen https://dma.uchicago.edu/items/5843
  16.  “the small of the back”
  17. Michael Newton
  18. Iain and Donald MacLullaich http://dalriada.scot/creiginis/

‘Gilleasbaig ‘Eardsaidh’ MacIlleathain (1880–1972) à Muile’ le Alasdair MacIlleBhàin (Oilthigh Ghlaschu)

Cha ruig mi a leas mìneachadh do luchd-rannsachaidh agus luchd-ciùil na Gàidhlig na th’ ann an Tobar an Dualchais (TaD), tasglann anns a bheil còrr is 36,000 clàradh-fuaime bho cho-chruinneachaidhean Sgoil Eòlais na h-Alba (Oilthigh Dhùn Èideann), BBC Alba agus Cruinneachadh Chanaigh aig Urras Nàiseanta na h-Alba. Tha na clàraidhean seo rim faotainn air feadh an t-saoghail ann an cruth digiteach aig http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/gd/. Tha an tasglann digiteach seo air a bhith na goireas is na tùs tarraingeach, feumail dhomhsa, an dà chuid nam rannsaiche an seo aig Oilthigh Ghlaschu is nam sheinneadair. Sa bhrath-bhloga seo, bu mhath leam iomradh a thoirt air neach-bratha Muileach a chluinnear am measg nan clàradh.

Gilleasbaig ‘Eardsaidh’ MacIlleathain (1880–1972)

Dealbh 1. Eardsaidh le a chuid peathraichean, a bha uile na bu shine: Flòraidh (as fhaisge air), ‘Mèiri’ (Màiri) agus Belle (Iseabail), air an taobh chlì. © Donnchadh MacGuaire
Dealbh 1. Eardsaidh le a chuid peathraichean, a bha uile na bu shine: Flòraidh (as fhaisge air), ‘Mèiri’ (Màiri) agus Belle (Iseabail), air an taobh chlì. © Donnchadh MacGuaire

 

B’ ann an Àrdtunna san Ros Mhuileach a thogadh Eardsaidh, mac do Dhonnchadh MacIlleathain is a bhean Ann (née NicPhàrlain), air croit ris an canar Breamanmhoidhr (conaltadh pears. Donnchadh MacGuaire); tha mi a’ cumail dlùth ri litreachadh Dhonnchaidh, ogha piuthar Eardsaidh, Flòraidh, air ainmeannan pearsanta is ainmeannan-àite sa bhrath-bhloga, mura h-eil tùs eile ga ainmeachadh. Fhuair Eardsaidh is a bhràthair Niall obair le Coimisean nan Coilltean ann an 1924 nuair a thàinig a’ chòir-fhearainn aca ann an Àrdtunna gu crìoch agus dh’fhàg seo san Leth-Ìochdrach iad, taobh sear an eilein ann an Aros Mains. Rinn Calum Iain MacIlleathain bho Sgoil Eòlais na h-Alba clàradh le Niall beagan mun do shiubhail e ann an 1953 agus tha na clàraidhean seo rim faotainn cuideachd air TaD: http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/gd/person/42. Tha fiosrachadh air an neach-clàraidh seo aig Pròiseact Chaluim MhicGilleathain agus ann am brath-bloga Anndra Wiseman an seo air blog Sheanchais.

 

Dealbh 2. Niall le capall don b’ ainm June. © Donnchadh MacGuaire
Dealbh 2. Niall le capall dom b’ ainm June. © Donnchadh MacGuaire

 

Tha 85 clàradh le Eardsaidh air TaD, an dà chuid beul-aithris agus òrain. Thadhail gu leòr de luchd-clàraidh air agus tha cuimhne aig Donnchadh MacGuaire air Mòrag NicLeòid, Lisa Storey, Alan J. Bruford agus Iain Friseal a’ clàradh san taigh. Tha clàraidhean a rinn Calum Iain MacIlleathain le Eardsaidh cuideachd rim faotainn air TaD, a thuilleadh air clàradh a rinn an t-Ollamh Wilhelm Nicolaisen air a bheil Eardsaidh a’ bruidhinn air ainmeannan-àite san sgìreachd anns an do thogadh e: http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/gd/fullrecord/80387/19. Bidh an clàradh seo luachmhor da-rìreadh do neach-rannsachaidh sam bith a’ sgrùdadh ainmeannan-àite na sgìreachd sin. A’ tilleadh gu Breamanmhoidhr san dol seachad, chan eil an t-ainm seo foillsichte air mapa Explorer na Suirbhidh Òrdanais (SO) an latha an-diugh ach lorgar Breamanoir (NM397233) air mapaichean na SO a dh’fhoillsicheadh ann an 1882 (a’ chiad eagran) agus ann an 1897 (an dara eagran) (Duilleag CV). Tha corra ainm eile air a’ chlàradh seo a dh’fhaodamaid cur ri mapaichean na SO.

Tha aon chlàradh sònraichte eile air am bu mhath leam sgrìobhadh sa bhrath-bhloga seo ge-tà; is e sin clàradh a rinn Lisa Storey (seach Mòrag NicLeòid, mar a tha foillsichte air an làraich-lìn) don Sgoil Eòlais ann an 1963: http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/gd/fullrecord/13482/41. Air a’ chlàradh seo tha Lisa a’ cur ceist air Eardsaidh (sa Ghàidhlig) mu ainm-àite san sgìreachd-sgrùdaidh agam fèin: Màm Bhreapadail (NM581320). Tha Eardsaidh an uair sin ag ainmeachadh trì àitichean eile san sgìreachd anns a bheil am facal ‘màm’. Lorgar Màm an Tiompain (NM602313) air mapa Explorer an latha an-diugh. Cha lorgar Màm Chlachaig (NM554332) air mapa an latha an-diugh ach tha e foillsichte air ciad eagran agus dara eagran na SO. Cha lorgar Màm Dhoire Dhubhaig idir air mapaichean na SO ach lorgar ainm a’ bhaile a tha na lùib, Doire Dhubhaig, no Derryguaig mar a tha e foillsichte (NM488356). Tha Màm Dhoire Dhubhaig clàraichte ann an Ortha nan Gàidheal (iv, 276–277) ann an ‘Eòlas nam Màm’, eòlas a chlàradh ann an iomadh ceàrnaidh is eilean, Muile nam measg. Gu dearbha tha 12 mhàm ann am Muile gan ainmeachadh le MacIlleMhìcheil MacBhàtair san tùs seo, na ceithir a th’ aig Eardsaidh air clàradh TaD nam measg. Tha MacIlleMhìcheil MacBhàtair a’ mìneachadh ‘màm’ mar “low rounded swelling hill” (ibid., 276). Mar a tha Eardsaidh a’ cur an cèill sa chlàradh ge-tà, is ann air ath-ghoirid thar a’ mhonaidh a tha màm ga chur ann am Muile, nàdar de bhealach eadar beanntan ’s cnuic. Tha cuimhne aig Donnchadh MacGuaire air làithean air am biodh bràthair a sheanmhar ag innse mun bhith a’ coiseachd a Thobar Mhoire à Àrdtunna a thadhal air a phiuthair, Flòraidh, is an teaghlach, turas a ghabhadh eadar 12 is 14 uair a thìde. Bhiodh Eardsaidh a’ gabhail Màm Chlachaig air an turas-sa a chionn ’s gun sàbhaladh sin astar mòr tro Ghleann Sheileasdair is Creagan Ghribuin (conaltradh pears. Donnchadh MacGuaire). Bidh tuilleadh agam fèin air a’ mhàm Mhuileach san tràchdas PhD.

Theab gun deach Eardsaidh a thogail don arm agus, mar a tha Donnchadh fèin air mìneachadh dhomh, is dòcha gum bitheamaid air an uabhas bheòil-aithris a chall nan deach. Tha tuilleadh chlàraidhean ann an tasglann a’ BhBC agus san Sgoil Eòlais. Chuir Donnchadh fiosrachadh air DASG mun teaghlach bho chionn ghoirid.

Tùsan
Tha seann mhapaichean na Suirbhidh Òrdanais rim faotainn air loidhne air làrach-lìn Leabharlann Nàiseanta na h-Alba: http://maps.nls.uk/.

Buidheachas
Bu mhath leam buidheachas a thoirt do Sheònaid NicDhòmhnaill, Cnoc na Sgillinn, Tobar Mhoire, airson fiosrachadh tùsail mu Eardsaidh agus do Mhòrag NicLeòid airson fiosrachadh mu chlàraidhean Eardsaidh. Bu mhath leam taing shònraichte a thoirt do Dhonnchadh MacGuaire airson fiosrachadh mun teaghlach agus na dealbhan a chithear an seo.

Tha Alasdair MacIlleBhàin na oileanach aig Oilthigh Ghlaschu. Tha e a’ dèanamh PhD ann an Ceiltis is Gàidhlig, a’ sgrùdadh ainmeannan-àite ann am Muile, an t-eilean dom buin e.

‘The Irish Traditional Music Archive’ by Rónán Galvin (ITMA)

 

A small parcel arrived recently to the Irish Traditional Music Archive (ITMA) from Boulder, Colorado consisting of a CD donation with an accompanying card carrying the message ‘thanks for all you do to document and enliven the music tradition we love’. Without realising, Michael Reshetnik encapsulated, in a heartfelt way, a core function of the Dublin city-based archive. This function was most present on 28th November last when ITMA hosted a Christmas concert featuring the traditional group ‘The Voice Squad’ at 73 Merrion Square, the archive’s home since 2006. Seventy listeners squeezed into the library to enjoy unaccompanied harmonic ballads and carols, not to mention between-song entertainment. It also represented a milestone for ITMA in that it was the first live streaming of an event that was enjoyed worldwide from New York to Indonesia.

 

The Voice Squad performing at ITMA (28th November 2015)
The Voice Squad performing at ITMA (28th November 2015)

 

Live streaming was far from the agenda when I first walked through the doors of ITMA as a wide-eyed, open-eared fourteen year old in 1989, at which point it occupied a one-roomed site in what is now the Irish Film Institute on Eustace Street, Dublin 2. Established in 1987, it was officially opened in November 1991 as a national reference archive and resource centre for the traditional song, instrumental music and dance of Ireland. A not-for-profit facility with free public access, its core collections include sound recordings, books and serials, sheet music, ballad sheets, photographs, videos and DVDs.

The ITMA has followed a steady upward path since its foundation in 1987. Under the watchful eye of Nicholas Carolan, founding Director who retired in July 2015, the archive has flourished and matured to the ever-changing requirements of a 21st century resource. ITMA, by its nature, is evolving to meet technological and public demands. As one of its key objectives, it is committed to delivering a user friendly and innovative interface and there are presently over 1 million content items available on-line to the general public.

Several of the twelve staff employed at ITMA are fluent Irish speakers, and most are traditional musicians or singers, not least the new Director, Grace Toland. Her fine rendition of the Eddie Butcher song, ‘Flora’, was highly appreciated by the one hundred or so attendees at the formal retirement party for Nicholas Carolan on 26th September last, held at the ITMA library.

The extensive sound collection held at ITMA spans three centuries, from wax cylinder to digital media and is the largest and arguably the richest of its kind. The earliest recording, captured on wax cylinder is from a Feis Ceoil in 1897. The Rev. Dr Richard Henebry Collection, dating from 1905 are among the earliest field recordings made of Irish traditional song and allow us to hear Irish language singers from more than a century ago. Most of this collection, available on the ITMA website, is from An Rinn, County Waterford and features, among others, the singers Maighréad Ní Néill and Mícheál Ó Catháin. At the other end of the spectrum, ITMA has, since 1994 conducted field recording at Sean Nós Cois Life, an annual Dublin city-based weekend of traditional song in the Irish language. In terms of commercial sound recordings, ITMA holds the full ‘Seoltaí Séidte’ collection of twenty 78 rpm discs, originally issued by Gael Linn between 1957 and 1961. These recordings include performances by solo singers in Irish, from Gaeltacht regions such as Seosamh Ó hÉanaí, Aodh Ó Duibheannaigh and Diarmuid Ó Flatharta.

 

Sterling cylinder lid (early 20th century)
Sterling cylinder lid (early 20th century)

 

The foundation of the archive was, and is based on donations of private collections relating to traditional music and song. It is unsurprising therefore, that it holds some gems of Irish language material such as the Prionsias Ó Conluain collection of printed items, mainly in Irish, made throughout Ireland between 1963 and 1982. Collections of individual singers in the Irish language are also held at ITMA, including that of Donegal singer, Néillí Ní Dhomhnaill, made between 1973 and 1978 and Máire Áine Ní Dhonnachadha, the Connemara singer, made from the 1950s to the 1970s. A collection that could be of considerable interest to scholars of early 20th century Ireland is the Oireachtas Library Collection of books and sheet music, with a particular representation of Irish language material. To highlight the range of material held at ITMA, the Pádraig Ó Mathúna Collection captured between the 1930s and 1970s is a combination of scrapbooks, ephemera, photographs, slides and music manuscripts.

Listed above is but a small taste of the Irish language resources that ITMA has to offer. As the archive grows and becomes increasingly accessible to the wider public, we look forward to your visit from Ireland, Scotland and beyond.

De réir a chéile a thógtar na caisléain!

Rónán Galvin
Commercial Sound Recording Officer
ITMA

See www.itma.ie

‘Bho Thoiseach gu Deireadh: Taghadh de dh’Obair-cruinneachaidh Chaluim MhicGilleathain’ leis an Dr Anndra Wiseman (Oilthigh Ghlaschu)

Dealbh de Chalum MacGilleathain, 1956, Kirk Yetholm, leis an Dr Werner Kissling. An dealbh le cead coibhneil Thasglann Sgoil Eòlais na h-Alba, Oilthigh Dhùn Èideann.
Dealbh de Chalum MacGilleathain, 1956, Kirk Yetholm, leis an Dr Werner Kissling. An dealbh le cead coibhneil Thasglann Sgoil Eòlais na h-Alba, Oilthigh Dhùn Èideann.

B’ ann air leabaidh a bhàis a rinn Calum MacGilleathain (air neo Calum an Tàilleir mar as fheàrr a b’ aithnichear dha) na clàraidhean mu dheireadh aige. Còig bliadhna fichead roimhe sin, ann an 1935, dar a bha e na sgoilear air an t-siathamh bliadhna, dh’fhoillsich e an seun seo:

Chaidh Criosd a mach
Air maduinn mhoch
Chaidh e sios do’ n loch
Fhuair e na h-eich ’s a’ ghart
Is an cnamhan briste mu seach
Chuir e cnaimh ri cnaimh
Chuir e smuais ri smuais
Chuir e feidh ri feidh
Chuir e fuil ri fuil
Chuir e feoil ri feoil
Chuir e seiche ri seiche
Mar a leighis Criosda sin
Is comasach e air leigheas so.
 

As the exorcist placed the symbolical string on the injured limb, he said: “Tha mi ag cur so an ainm Tri-aon nan Gràs, an Athair, am Mac is an Spiorad Naomh”─“I place this in the name of the Triune of Grace, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”1

Chan eil fios ann le cinnt cò bhuaithe a fhuair MacGilleathain an seun bitheanta seo, ach dh’fhaodte gur h-ann bho Dhòmhnall MacCaluim ann am Port Rìgh a thàinig e. Dh’innis Calum as deaghaidh seo gur h-ann bho MhacCaluim a fhuair e a’ chiad sgeulachd a chuir e fhèin air clàr ann an 1935, agus bhiodh e nàdarra gu leòr gun toireadh e dha an seun seo cuideachd.

Cha ruig duine a leas a dhol gu cus spàirn gus an seun seo a lorg, leis mar a tha MacGilleathain a chur air shùilean dhuinn anns an artaigil aige, oir chruinnich Alasdair MacGilleMhìcheil (1832–1912) dreachan eile dheth beagan bhliadhnaichean roimhe sin; agus gheibhear iad anns a’ chruinneachadh shònraichte, ach connspaideach, a rinn e de bheul-aithris nan Gàidheal – Carmina Gadelica (1900). ’S e ‘Eòlas an t-Sniamh’ an t-ainm a thugadh air an t-seun seo le MacGilleMhìcheil, agus tha e glè nochdte cho coltach ’s a tha na dhà ri chèile:

 

Ceann-Litreach a dhealbhaich bean MhicGilleMhìcheil, Mary Frances, a dhol cuide ris an t-seun  ‘Eòlas an t-Sniamh’ ann an Carmina Gadelica, iom.l. 2, d. 20.
Ceann-Litreach a dhealbhaich bean MhicGilleMhìcheil, Mary Frances, a dhol cuide ris an t-seun ‘Eòlas an t-Sniamh’ ann an Carmina Gadelica, iom.l. 2, d. 20.

CHAIDH Criosd a mach
Maduinn moch,
Fhuair e cas nan each
’Nan spruilleach bog;
Chuir e smior ri smior,
Chuir e smuais ri smuais,
Chuir e cnaimh ri cnaimh,
Chuir e streabhon ri streabhon,
Chuir e feith ri feith,
Chuir e fuil ri fuil,
Chuir e creais ri creais,
Chuir e feoil ri feoil,
Chuir e saill ri saill,
Chuir e craicionn ri craicionn,
Chuir e flonn ri flonn,
Chuir e blath ri blath,
Chuir e fuar ri fuar;
Mar a leighis Righ nam buadh sin
Is dual gun leighis e seo,
Ma ’s e thoil fein a dheanamh.
A uchd Ti nan dul,
Agus Tiur na Trianaid2

Ged a chruinnich MacGilleathain tuilleadh sheuntan,3 cha robh iad idir cho bitheanta ’s a bha iad aig an àm a chaidh MacGilleMhìcheil a chur a-null a dh’Uibhist mar ghàidsear. Ach, b’ e sgeulachdan romansach bu mhotha a bh’ air aire Chaluim, agus mar sin cha do chruinnich e uiread de sheuntan ’s a dh’fhaodadh e. Bha MacGilleathain daonnan mothachail gun robh e a’ tighinn as deaghaidh luchd-cruinneachaidh ainmeil: Iain Òg Ìle (1821–1882), Eachann MacGilleathain (1818–1892), Iain Mac an Deòir (1802–1872), Maighstir Ailein (1859–1905), còmhla ri iomadh neach eile. Ann an iomadh dòigh, thug e am bàrr orra uile.

Rugadh agus thogadh Calum an Tàilleir (1915–1960) ann an Eilean Ratharsair, còmhla ri dithis pheathraichean is ceathrar bhràithrean eile. Bha MacGilleathain air a bhogadh ann an dualchas Ghàidhlig a theaghlaich fhèin. Fhuair e buannachdan nach bu bheag bhon t-seòrsa togail a fhuair e, agus as deaghaidh dha foghlam fhaotainn sa bhun-sgoil ionadail agus an uair sin ann an Àrd-sgoil Phort Rìgh, chaidh e gu bhith na oileanach aig Oilthigh Dhùn Èideann, far an robh e air a theagasg leis an Àrd-Ollamh U. I. MacBhàtair (1865–1948) agus an uair sin a mhac, Seumas MacGilleMhìcheil MacBhàtair (1910–1942), a ghabh a-null bho athair ann an cathair nan Cànanan Ceilteach. Thug Calum a-mach ceum le urram aig an ìre as àirde ann an Ceiltis.

Chaidh mothachadh do chomasan sgoilearachd MhicGilleathain glè thràth agus choisinn e barantasan-sgoilearachd MhicCuaig agus Mhic a’ Phearsain. Thug sin e gu Coláiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath, far an do rinn e tuilleadh rannsachaidh anns na cànanan Ceilteach. Dar a thòisich an Dara Cogadh, thàinig briseadh airson ùine ghoirid air foghlam Chaluim agus dh’fheumadh e sùil a thoirt a-mach gus teachd-an-tìr eile fhaotainn. An toiseach bha e ag obair ann am factaraidh ann an Cluain Meala, Tiobraid Árann, agus às an sin, chaidh e a dh’fhuireach ann an Indreabhán, beagan an iar air Baile Ghaillimh ann an Conamara. Fhad ’s a bha e an sin thòisich Calum ùidh mhòr a ghabhail ann an dualchas na sgìre. B’ e am prìomh adhbhar airson seo, mar a bha e air a tharraing le Dubhghlas de h-Ídhe (1860–1949) agus a chuid sgrìobhaidhean. Cha robh e gun fhiosta aig caraidean Chaluim air ais ann am Baile Átha Cliath mu na bha e ris thall air taobh eile na dùthcha.

Bha Calum a’ cruinneachadh beul-aithris airson còig bliadhna fichead ach rinn e a’ mhòr-chuid den obair seo eadar 1942 agus 1956. Bho 1942 gu 1951 bha e ag obair pàirt-ùine agus an uair sin làn-ùine aig Coimisiún Béaloideasa Éireann stèidhichte ann am Baile Átha Cliath. Chaidh an Coimisiún a chur air chois na bu tràithe ann an 1935. Dar a thòisich Sgoil Eòlais na h-Alba ann an Oilthigh Dhùn Èideann ann an 1951, b’ e MacGilleathain a’ chiad neach-cruinneachaidh a bh’ aca. Rinn Calum a’ mhòr-chuid den chruinneachadh aige air feadh tìr-mòr na Gàidhealtachd agus anns na h-Eileanan an Iar far an robh an creideamh Caitligeach fhathast làidir – Barraigh, Uibhist a Deas agus Beinn na Faoghla. Gheibhear meall de na clàran-fuaim aige a-niste air làrach-lìn Thobar an Dualchais.

Bha e furasta do Chalum daoine a chur air an dòigh airson gum biodh iad cofhurtail na chuideachd agus gum biodh earbsa aca ann. Chuir e cuideam air an sgil seo ann an artaigil a sgrìobh e: “for any folklore collector the crucial time is when contact is first made with the tradition bearer” agus cuideachd “every folklore collector must be prepared to efface himself and approach even the most humble tradition bearer with the deference due to the high and exalted.”4 Chum Calum fhèin gu mòr ris a’ phrionnsabal a bha seo agus dh’fhosgladh iomadh doras dha seach gun robh e na dhuine cho dòigheil, eirmseach. A h-uile taobh a rachadh e, bha e a’ faotainn dhaoine a stiùireadh e agus bha e a’ faotainn lorg air na seanchaidhean a b’ fheàrr. Mar sin, chruinnich e an t-uamhas de bheul-aithris a bh’ air a thasgadh air falbh ann an cuimhne an t-sluaigh.

B’ ann an Ospadal Bhòid (Ospadal a’ Chridhe Naoimh, mar a chaidh ainmeachadh as a dheaghaidh) ann an Dalabrog, Uibhist a Deas, a rinn MacGilleathain na clàraidhean mu dheireadh aige. Chlàr e am pìos a leanas air 10 an t-Iuchar 1960 bho Dhòmhnall ‘Laraidh’ Mac an t-Saoir (1892–1962), no Dòmhnall mac Alasdair Mhòir ’ic Iain ’ic Iain ’ic Iain ’ic Nèill, a bhuineadh do Loch Aineort, Uibhist a Deas. Tha an sgeul ag innse mar a thachair air bòrd soithich Admiral Nelson, HMS Victory, a rèir mar a dh’aithris Dòmhnall Sagart, maraiche a bha an làthair. Thuirt esan gur h-ann bhon t-soitheach aca fhèin a thàinig am peilear a mharbh Nelson:

Dòmhnall ‘Laraidh’ Mac an t-Saoir. B’ e Calum MacGilleathain a thog an dealbh ann an Loch Aoineart, Uibhist a Deas, An t-Ògmhios, 1958. An dealbh le cead coibhneil Thasglann Sgoil Eòlais na h-Alba, Oilthigh Dhùn Èideann.
Dòmhnall ‘Laraidh’ Mac an t-Saoir. B’ e Calum MacGilleathain a thog an dealbh ann an Loch Aoineart, Uibhist a Deas, An t-Ògmhios, 1958. An dealbh le cead coibhneil Thasglann Sgoil Eòlais na h-Alba, Oilthigh Dhùn Èideann.

 

(Èist ri seo air làrach Thobar an Dualchais an seo.)

Bha iad ag ràdh gur h-ann mar gum b’ eadh dà shuidhe a bha iad. Agus nach robh sìon annta ach càball de ròpa ruadh ach gun robh mu height de choltar eadar an dà chàball; agus gun robh sin air a dhèanamh mun tàinig am bàta ann idir. Agus gur h-ann as na cuidhlichean a bha sin a bha Nelson a’ toirt seachad na h-òrdan an latha a chaidh a mharbhadh. Nuair a bhiodh am bàta…tha fhios agaibh…agus càiridh leis na siùil air an taobh seo. Bha e a’ gluasad eadar an tè ìosal nuair a bhiodh e aig an t-àite eile bha e aig tè eile. Agus ’s ann as na cuidhlichean a bha sin a bha e a’ toirt seachad na h-òrdan mar is gun cluinneadh a h-uile duine air bòrd e. Bha iad ag ràdh gur h-ann air a’ bheulaibh aig gach taobh den choop [hoop] man chuidhlichean a bha sin…cuidhlichean càball. ’S ged a bhuaileadh peileir orra, stadadh iad as an cotain. Agus bha e a’ cur iongnadh mòr air Dòmhnall Sagart – chan fhaca Dòmhnall Sagart Nelson a’ tuiteam idir – ach bha e a’ cur iongnadh mòr, mòr air gur h-ann on an long Fhrangaich a thàinig am peileir a chur crìoch, air Dòmhnall Sagart. Bha e ag ràdh ris fhèin gun robh e a’ smaoineachdainn riamh gur h-ann às an long aige fhèin a thàinig a’ chrìoch air.5

Calg-dhìreach an aghaidh a’ chunntais sin, thathar den bheachd, aig àm Blàr Thrafalgar air 21 an Dàmhair 1805, gun robh Nelson a’ coiseachd air a’ chaisteal-diridh dar a chaidh a mharbhadh le snaidhpear Frangach bho chrann ‘mizzen’ an Redoubtable.6 Chaidh Nelson a thoirt sìos fon deic far an robh lighiche an t-soithich ga fhrithealadh, ach cha b’ urrainn don lighiche dad a dhèanadh dha, agus dh’eug e dhà na thrì uairean a thìde as deaghaidh sin. Dh’fhaodte gur h-e tuiteamas a bh’ ann gur h-e aon de na nithean mu dheireadh a chlàraich MacGilleathain, cunntas air bàs cianail laoich nèibhidh Bhreatainn, a rinn an ìobairt dheireannach. Beagan a bharrachd air mìos as deaghaidh sin, chaochail Calum an Tàilleir aig aois 44, an Uibhist a Deas, eilean far an robh a chridhe, agus abair gun deach ionndrainn mhòr agus caoidh a dhèanadh air an duine chòir, ghlan a bha seo.

 

 

Tuilleadh fiosrachaidh:
Website: www.calum-maclean-project.celtscot.ed.ac.uk
Blog: calumimaclean.blogspot.co.uk
Facebook: facebook.com/calumiainmaclean
Twitter: @CalumIMaclean
E-mail: calum-maclean@ed.ac.uk.

Tha an Dr. Anndra Wiseman (Oilthigh Ghlaschu) an-dràsta an sàs ann an DASG agus, le ùidh mhòr aige anns na daonnachdan ditseatach, bha e ag obair roimhe air Pròiseact Chalum MhicGilleathain agus Pròiseact MhicGilleMhìcheil MhicBhàtair.

  1. Calum Maclean (C. McL (VI.)), ‘A Practice of Old Gaeldom’, Portree Secondary School Magazine, no. 2 (June 1935), pp. 9–10.
  2. Alexander Carmichael, Carmina Gadelica, 2 vols. (Edinburgh: T. & A. Constable, 1900), pp. 20–21. A rèir MhicGilleMhìcheil fhèin, chaidh an seun a thogail bho Mhàiri NicDhòmhnaill, bean buachaille, à Caim, Àrasaig.
  3. Faic, mar eisimpleir, Calum Maclean, ‘A Variant of the Charm of the Lasting Life from Uist’, Saga och Sed (1959), pp. 75–78, far a bheil eisimpleir a chaidh a thogail bho Dhòmhnall Mac an t-Saoir, Loch Aineort, Uibhist a Deas, ga thoirt seachad.
  4. Calum I. Maclean, ‘Hebridean Traditions’, Gwerin: Journal of Folk Life, vol. 1, no. 1 (1956), pp. 21–33.
  5. Sgoil Eòlais na h-Alba, SA1960.130.A6 (www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/fullrecord/48710/1).
  6. Bha an Dotair Uilleam Beatty (1773–1842), lighiche air bòrd am Victory, a’ frithealadh dha Nelson agus e a’ bàsachadh. Gheibhear an fhianais aige ann an William Beatty, The Death of Lord Nelson (London: T. Cadell & W. Davies, 1807); Roy Adkins, Nelson’s Trafalgar: The Battle that Changed the World (London: Penguin Books, 2005) agus David A. Howarth, Trafalgar: The Nelson Touch (Moreton-on-Marsh: Windrush Press, 1997 (1969)).

‘Múineadh an Bhéaloidis i Ré an Eolais: Físeáin, Fuaim agus an Chartlann Eitneagrafaíochta’ leis an Dr Lillis Ó Laoire (OÉ Gaillimh)

Faoi láthair tá mé ag teagasc cúrsa ar an Bhéaloideas do 1BA Gaeilge. Cúrsa dúshlánach é seo. Tá suas le 150 díobh ann agus is é aidhm an chúrsa léargas a thabhairt dóibh ar ghnéithe den bhéalaireacht i nGaeilge. Tá scéalaíocht agus filíocht i gceist – an tseachtain seo caite bhí ‘Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire’ ar siúl againn. Bhí muid ábalta éisteacht le taifeadtaí eitneagrafaíochta de Mhaggie Dirrane agus de Bhríd Iarnáin as Árainn, ag ceol mír de cheol an chaointe. Tá  taifeadtaí de Mhaggie ag an Smithsonian agus is féidir éisteacht le Bríd anseo. D’éist muid fosta le Bess Cronin ag ceol amhrán buachailleachta nó crúite.

 

cronin
an leabhar faoi amhráin Bhess

 

Bhí muid ag plé leis na hamhráin oibre inniu agus bheartaigh mé an t-amhrán ‘Coisich A Rúin‘ le Capercaillie a phlé leo. Ag dul siar ar an amhrán domh, rith sé liom go raibh cosúlachtaí go leor idir é agus Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire – moladh an ghaiscígh, neart an ghrá eatarthu, agus mar sin de. Bíonn sé deacair mic léinn a spreagadh ag 4.00p.m. tráthnóna agus sheinn mé an físeán de Capercaillie dóibh agus a leagan cáiliúil féin den amhrán ‘Coisich a Rúin’ acu. I ndiaidh na léachta bheartaigh mé an t-amhrán a chuartú ar Tobar an Dualchais agus dar ndóigh char lig an stórchiste sin síos mé. Bhí trí leagan déag den amhrán ansin. Ina measc bhí Annag Nic Iain, Annie Johnston, as Eilean Bharraigh, agus an leagan ba chóngaraí do leagan Capercaillie. Éist le Annag anseo ar Thobar an Dualchais i 1953. Chuir mé an nasc sin ar Blackboard agus chuir mé teachtaireacht chuig na mic léinn, á rá leo gurbh é seo an leagan ar bhunaigh Capercaillie a leagan féin air. Tá leagan breá eile agus ceann maith fada ag Céit Nic Dhomhnaill, Bean Eairdsidh Raghnaill as Uidhist a Deas sa chartlann chéanna, éist anseo.

grianghraf Phaul Strand de Chéit a fhuarthas ag http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/scotland-blog/2015/jul/22/paul-strands-intimate-and-rich-hebridean-images-bought-for-scottish-gallery
grianghraf Phaul Strand de Chéit a fhuarthas ag http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/scotland-blog/2015/jul/22/paul-strands-intimate-and-rich-hebridean-images-bought-for-scottish-gallery

 

Tá miorúilt i gceist leis na taifeadtaí luachmhara eitneagrafaíochta seo a bheith ar fáil do dhaoine óga anois agus tá réabhlóid i gceist i dtaca le ceird an mhúinteora agus an léachtóra feasta.

Is léachtóir sinsearach le Gaeilge é an Dr Lillis Ó Laoire i Scoil na dTeangacha, na Litríochtaí agus na gCultúr in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh.

‘Fáilte is fiche chuig Seanchas: The Global Gaelic Jukebox!’ leis an Dr Barbara Hillers (COBÁC)

Grianghraf ag https://www.igsta.com/media/1030237389997105265_196591687
Grianghraf ag https://www.igsta.com/media/1030237389997105265_196591687

Tá sé mar aidhm ag an bhlag seo eolas a scaipeadh faoi thaifeadtaí eitneagrafaíocha fuaime na Gaeilge (Gàidhlig na hAlban, Gaeilg Mhanann is Gaeilge na hÉireann). Tá roinnt mhaith de bhailiúcháin fuaime ann ar fud an domhain, cuid acu i gcartlanna móra cailiúla, cuid eile in áiteanna éagsúla nach bhfuil an oiread sin clú orthu, agus ba bhreá le Seanchas solas a chaitheamh orthu.

Más eolas faoin tionscadal atá uait, cuir ríomphphost chugainn. Má tá scéala nó sonraí agat, go háirithe iad siúd a bhaineann le bailiúcháin fuaime nach bhfuil eolas forleathan orthu, b’fhéidir go scríobhfeá blúire bheag sa bhlag seo?

Deir mo chomrádaí Sìm gur “obair latha tòiseachadh agus obair beatha crìochnachadh”, ach deirim féin, “tús maith, leath na hoibre”!

Is léachtóir le Béaloideas Éireann  í an Dr Barbara Hillers i Scoil na Gaeilge, an Léinn Cheiltigh agus an Bhéaloidis ag an gColáiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath.

‘A Fond Farewell: In Praise of the Ediphone’ by Dr Barbara Hillers (University College Dublin)

 

Ediphone used by the Irish Folklore Commission (1935-1971) in its Dublin headquarters. Photograph courtesy of National Folklore Collection.
Ediphone used by the Irish Folklore Commission (1935-1971) in its Dublin headquarters. Photograph courtesy of National Folklore Collection.

 

From the vantage point of modern media technology, the Ediphone may look like a bit of a dinosaur, but in the history of Gaelic ethnographic audio recording it holds pride of place. A large part of the Coimisiún Béaloideasa Éireann/Irish Folklore Commission’s vast collection of oral narrative, poetry and song, as well as a significant portion of the Sgoil Eòlais na h-Alba/School of Scottish Studies’ archives, were recorded with the help of this unwieldy but effective instrument. Thanks to the Ediphone, songs and narratives that were too long and too fast-paced for dictation could be recorded at natural speed.

The Ediphone was essentially a dictation device for everyday office use and was widely used commercially from around 1910 well into the 1940s. Sound was recorded on wax cylinders which could accommodate no more than ten minutes of speech – sufficient for a long business letter – to be transcribed later on by a typist. Cylinders were designed to be reused, a special machine for shaving the cylinders being sold for the purpose.

A grant from the Rockefeller Foundation enabled Séamus Ó Duilearga (who was to direct the Irish Folklore Commission for 35 years) to purchase an Ediphone as early as 1930, and during its hey-day, each of the Commission’s full-time collectors was equipped with his own Ediphone. It was cumbersome, weighing in at 20 kilos or more; the sound quality at best was not great, and the need to change the cylinders every ten minutes interrupted the flow of narration. Nevertheless, the Ediphone proved to be effective, not least because “the machine” could be relied upon to cause a stir and often acted as an icebreaker. Collectors became expert in handling the machine; in October 1938, Liam Costello recorded ‘Eochair, a King’s Son in Ireland’ from Éamon a Búrc, the longest oral tale recorded in Ireland, on over two dozen cylinders; the tale runs to c. 30,000 words (67 pages of printed text in Kevin O’Nolan’s edition). One of the Commission’s most talented collectors was a Scot, Calum Iain Maclean from Raasay; in 1946 Ó Duilearga decided to send Maclean, equipped with an Ediphone, to do fieldwork in Scotland. The material which Maclean recorded on the payroll of the Commission spans over 10000 manuscript pages, much of it originally recorded on the Ediphone. In 1949 Maclean recorded a story from Angus MacMillan which was almost twice as long as Éamon a Búrc’s tale (58,000 words; for more on Maclean, see http://calumimaclean.blogspot.co.uk and http://www.calum-maclean-project.celtscot.ed.ac.uk).

 

Angus MacMillan
Calum Maclean (Calum Mac Gill Eathain) recording from Angus MacMillan. Photograph courtesy of National Folklore Collection.

 

By the 1950s, the Ediphone’s day was over, and the Commission switched to using other technologies – acetate disc, wire recording, and reel-to-reel tape – which afforded better sound quality and accommodated longer uninterrupted recording, and made permanent storage of the sound recordings feasible. Hundreds of the cylinders used by the Commission’s collectors are preserved in the National Folklore Collection and have recently been digitised; you can listen to some of the intriguing, if crackly, voices from the past on the Béal Beo website (http://www.bealbeo.ie). The surviving recordings represent only a tiny fraction of the material recorded on Ediphone, which for the most part was transcribed and erased to make room for new recordings. The material which the Ediphone helped preserve – albeit in manuscript – makes up a very substantial portion of the folklore collected in Scotland and Ireland. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Edison’s cumbersome utilitarian invention.

 

Folklore collector Seosamh Ó Dálaigh collecting from Máire and Cáit Ruiséal, Dunquin, Co. Kerry. Photograph courtesy of National Folklore Collection.
Folklore collector Seosamh Ó Dálaigh collecting from Máire and Cáit Ruiséal, Dunquin, Co. Kerry. Photograph courtesy of National Folklore Collection.

 

Dr Barbara Hillers is Lecturer in Irish Folklore in the School of Irish, Celtic Studies and Folklore at University College Dublin.

‘Gaelic Resources at Gairloch Heritage Museum’ by Dr Karen Thompson (Curator)

 

Soidhne Ghearrloch
Taigh-Tasgaidh Gheàrrloch

 

Bards of the calibre of the celebrated 18th-Century love poet Uilleam Ros (‘William Ross’); Iain MacCoinnich (‘John Mackenzie’), author of Sàr-Obair nam Bàrd Gaelach (‘The Beauties of Gaelic Poetry’) (1841); Bàird Thùrnaig (‘the Tournaig bards’), Alasdair and Iain Cameron; Scottish nationalist and language champion Kay Matheson and scholars such as the placename specialist Ian Fraser and the lexicographer Roy Wentworth are just some of the distinguished Gaels associated with Gairloch and its hinterland. ‘Gum b’ e Geàrrloch an tìr bhàidheil, ‘s an tìr phàirteach, bhiadhar’ (‘Gairloch was the loving land, the land that was generous, productive’) as Uilleam Ros himself tells us. It is therefore no surprise that Taigh-Tasgaidh Gheàrrloch/ Gairloch Heritage Museum should have such a rich collection of Gaelic sound recordings in its archive.

 

Taigh Sgoil Ghearrloch
Taigh-Tasgaidh Gheàrrloch

 

The museum’s catalogue contains more than 450 oral history recordings with native Gaelic speakers made in the latter half of the 20th Century. As a collection, they are invaluable evidence of the artistic heritage of the area, in particular the bardic tradition of Gaelic music, song, poetry and storytelling. However, they are also unequalled as a record of Wester Ross Gaelic, with its unique vocabulary and place-names, recorded in such detail by Roy Wentworth during his tenure as curator at the museum.

 

DCIM104MEDIA
Taigh-Tasgaidh Gheàrrloch

 

Gairloch Heritage Museum is currently undertaking an extensive redevelopment project, which will see it move to a disused cold war bunker in Gairloch village. As part of this project, a consultant has been commissioned to evaluate the museum’s Gaelic collection and identify opportunities to maximize the use of this valuable and unique resource in future activities and interpretation. The signing earlier this year of a Memorandum of Understanding with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig was an important step towards promoting the use of the sound archive and other Gaelic resources the museum holds, described by Professor Hugh Cheape as ‘exceptional from a Scottish museum point of view.’

Dr Karen Thompson is Curator at Gairloch Heritage Museum. She is a trained archivist and museum professional, and Gaelic learner – currently enrolled on the BA Gaelic Scotland course with the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Further information about Gairloch Heritage Museum, its collections and its redevelopment project can be found at www.gairlochheritagemuseum.org The museum welcomes archive users by appointment.

‘Canna: A Hebridean Treasure’ by guest blogger Fiona J. Mackenzie (Canna House)

My fascination with the work of Iain Latharna Caimbeul/ John Lorne Campbell (1906-96) (styled Fear Chanaigh) and Mairead Fay Sheathach/ Margaret Campbell (née Shaw) (1903-2004) of Barra, Uist and Canna, began many years ago when I first studied Gaelic song in South Uist. Margaret’s book Folksongs and Folklore of South Uist (1955) was the first Gaelic song book I owned and instantly became my Gaelic song bible for the picture it presented of a unique culture and people. I never dreamed that one day, I would be given the opportunity and honour of looking after and promoting the collection.

Canna House, owned and directed by the National Trust for Scotland, is a collection of collections. Margaret and John amassed probably the world’s most eclectic and important collection of Scottish Gaelic and other Celtic-language folklores, all housed uniquely, on the tiny island of Canna. John’s collection of recordings of Hebridean songs, stories, musical performances – and cats- recorded between the 1920s and the 1960s, are housed in Canna House along with Margaret’s written transcriptions. Over 1000 of those recordings are now available online on the Tobar an Dualchais site. Together with Margaret’s extensive black and white collection of Hebridean photographs from the 1930s onwards, the Canna collections represent a unique tapestry of Gaelic ways of life, oral literature, and cultural practices, often recorded during times of rapid change.

Canna House is currently closed to visitors for extensive renovation works by the National Trust for Scotland but I hope to blog here again for Seanchas, sometimes in Gaelic and sometimes in English, with sound recordings, links and photographs to hopefully whet the appetite for the wonderful potential of the work of these two incredible people.

In the meantime, we all know that the birds can (or could?) speak Gaelic and apparently now dogs can learn Gaelic in only three weeks, but do cat’s speak Gaelic? Have a listen here to John and Margaret’s Siamese cat Pooni (pictured), and decide for yourselves!

Fiona J Mackenzie is Gaelic Artist and archivist of The Canna Collection for The National Trust for Scotland and can be reached at fmackenzie@nts.org.uk

Pooni airson Seanchas

‘Brath-Bloga 1’ le Dr Sìm Innes (Oilthigh Ghlaschu)

’S e ciad ghrunnachadh a tha seo a-steach do dh’uisgeachan bloga Sheanchais. Tha sinn anns na buillean mu dheireadh den ullachadh a leigeas leinn an t-eòlaire a lìonadh agus sinn an impis sgrìobhadh a-mach gu tasglannan, leabharlannan, buidhnean coimhearsnachd is eile a dh’fhaighneachd ach an innis iad dhuinn mu na clàraidhean-fuaime Gàidhlig/ Gaeilge/ Gaelg a th’ aca. ’S e an dòchas gum bi an t-eòlaire aig Seanchas mar ghoireas a bheir seachad fiosrachadh mun iomadh ionad is àite feadh an t-saoghail anns am faighear cruinneachaidhean de chlàraidhean.

Thèid am bloga seo fhèin a chleachdadh gus naidheachdan a sgaoileadh an dà chuid mu Sheanchas agus mu chruinneachaidhean, iomairtean, tasglannan is eile a bhuineas do chlàraidhean fuaim na Gàidhlig/Gaeilge/Gaelg le aire shònraichte do bheul-aithis is eitneolas nan coimhearsnachdan Gàidhealach ann an Alba, ann an Èirinn agus thall thairis.

Bhiomaid air ar dòigh ghlan nam biodh daoine eile deònach brathan-bloga a sgrìobhadh dhuinn. A bheil ùidh agad fhèin ann an clàraidhean-fuaime na Gàidhlig/Gaeilge/Gaelg? Bhiodh fàilte mhòr ro dhaoine sgrìobhadh airson a’ bhloga againn air an obair neo eòlas aca air cruinneachaidhean neo clàraidhean fa leth. Faodar sgrìobhadh ann an Gàidhlig neo Gaeilge neo Gaelg neo Beurla! Tha seòlaidhean is eile dhuinn air duilleag ‘Brath Thugainn’ gu h-àrd agus tha sinn cuideachd air Facebook is Twitter. Leigibh fios dhuinn mas e is gum bu toil leibh sgrìobhadh dhuinn.

’S obair latha tòiseachadh agus obair beatha crìochnachadh!