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Far-ainmean Bhailtean Ionadail (Pàirt 2): An t-Eilean Sgitheannach

Far-ainmean Bhailtean Ionadail (Pàirt 2): An t-Eilean Sgitheannach

Posted by Calum on 24th September, 2020
Months ago I made a blog, “Far-ainmean Bhailtean Ionadail (Pàirt 1): Ros an Iar” where we had a look at nicknames, and "frith-ainmean," given to towns in different districts and we are back with other towns and other meanings in the Isle of Skye.

Andreas Wolff did some research where he recorded and published a lot about folklore, phrases, vocabulary and the Sleat dialect to bring attention about the area and the people and her Gaelic, including nicknames (and ...) of the different towns were recorded and I am in debted to Andreas Wolff for the information and the treasure they are here. Have a look at this amazing website: http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/gaidhlig/aite/Sleite/.

It is interesting that there is a “theme” running with the nicknames in Sleat; most of them are birds! There are many nicknames connected to the district itself, it is “Lios an Eilein” [“The Garden of the Isle”] according to some, but it’s “Na h-Eireagan Shlèite” [“The Pullets of Sleat”] that one calls the Sleat people today and the names of birds are different for different towns of the district , one will find “Faoileagan na h-Àirde” [“The Seagulls of the Aird”]. “Cearcan Breaca Chaileagarraidh” [“The speckled chickens of Calligarry”] and “Cearcan Àird a’ Bhasair” [“The Chickens of Ardvasar.”] But there are other creatures to be found in Sleat as well: you’ll find “Coin Dhruim Feàrna” [“The Dogs of Drumfearn,”], “Meirlich Heasta” [“The Thieves of Heaste”] and, from different districts, you’ll find “Faochagan an t-Sratha” [“The Limpets of the Strath”], in the Strath district, around Elgol, and northernly to the “Coin Thròdairnis” [“Dogs of Trotternish.”]

In the book “Far-ainmean Dùthchail na Gàidhealtachd,” by Donald C. Fraser, with the Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness, tha names the “Coilich Ròthaig” [“Cockerels of Rothag”], around Harlosh, following the theme with the name of a bird again! The people of Trotternish have interesting names for the people of Durinish calling them “Dùthaich nam Mogan” [“The Country of the Stockings”], “Fearann nam Mogan” [“The Land of the Stockings],” agus the “Fearann Moganach” [“Stocking Country”] and  Durinish folk call the Trotternish people “Dùthaich nan Stapag,” “Fearann nan Stapag” [“Land of the Brose”] and the “Dùthaich Stapagach” [“Brose Country”].

There are other phrases we have about Sleat, with “Brindled Sleat of the Beautiful Women” and “Clachan an t-Sratha ’s mnàthan Shlèite” [“Rocks of the Strath and women of Sleat”] can be found, praising the Sleat-women and dispraising the poor Strath-women! I would be “in my whelk” if I got the same poor dispraise that they had! But I shall finish the blog with a phrase of which I am very knowledgeble; “Cèilidh nam Ban-Shlèiteach”[“The Sleat-women’s Cèilidh.”] According to Andreas Wolff the phrase is used for a cèilidh, or a gathering, that runs for too long and late, a phrase that is very helpful for describing a Sabhal Mòr Ostaig cèilidh!

There must be other nicknames that you have for local towns on the Isle of Skye but I would love to hear them from you and what, or whom, they are! Let us know on facebooktwitter and our own website!
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