Reference Number102002
TitleAn Gaidheal; Paipeir-Naidheachd Agus Leabhar-Sgeoil Gaidhealach
EditorNicolson, Angus
Date Of Edition1871-77
Date Of Languagelate 19c
Date Of Language Ed1850-1899
DateMacroLate 19th c.
Date Of Language Notes
PublisherMacLachlan & Stewart (Edinburgh), and Nicolson & Co.; WM. Love (Glasgow)
Place PublishedToronto (first three issues), Edinburgh and Glasgow
VolumeVol. 2 of 6
LocationNational and academic libraries
Geographical OriginsVarious
Geographical Origins EdVarious
Geographical Origins Notes
RegisterLiterature, Prose and Verse
Register EdLiterature, Prose and Verse
GenreLiterature and Information
MediumProse & Verse
Monthly periodical containing stories, songs, articles, proverbs, puzzles, and games.
This text includes articles on a wide range of subjects including Gaelic literature and genealogy, Highland history and myth, foreign places, astronomy, religion, and advice.
There are a large number of poems and songs.
There are some biographies, memoirs, and obituaries.
There are a number of articles on the myths and legends of Greece, most of which are translations.
The orthography includes some unorthodox features (see Orthography below).
Alternative Author NameN/A
Manuscript Or EditionEd.
Size And Condition21.5cm x 14cm
Short TitleAn Gaidheal
Reference DetailsEUL, Celtic Library: shelved with periodicals
Number Of PagesEach issue has around 30 pages, the last 10 or so of which comprise the English section of the paper. Twelve issues make up one volume, with the exception of the first year, in which only three issues were published. Volume I (Leabhar I) includes the first three issues (published in 1871) and the next year’s issues up to February 1873. The last issue was published in December 1877. Pages are numbered consecutively throughout each volume. Each volume contains around 380 pages with the exception of the first volume which has 332 pages. New volumes generally begin in January (Treas Mios a Gheamhraidh).
Gaelic Text ByN/A
Social ContextIn The Literature of the Highlanders (2nd ed. 1929), Nigel MacNeill observes that, after the publication of the short-lived An Cuairtear Og in Antigonish, Nova Scotia in 1851, ‘For many years afterwards no efforts were made to publish magazines till 1871, when Mr. Angus Nicolson, a native of Lewis, published in Canada the first three numbers of An Gaidheal (THE GAEL). On the advice of some Celtic friends the spirited projector of this venture transplanted his young sapling into Scottish soil in 1872, where it continued to appear for about six years’ (pp. 514-15).

Issue 56, August 1876, contains a notice stating that ‘MACLACHLAN & STEWART have the pleasure of announcing that they have become proprietors of the “Gaidheal,” of which they have for some time been the publishers. .... Suffice it to mention, that the spirited gentleman, Mr Angus Nicolson, who originally started it in Toronto, and has until recently retained the property and editorship in his own hands, found it absolntely [sic] impossible, owing to his more important duties as a Canadian Emigration Agent, to devote that personal superintendence to the publication, which is so essential to the success of such an enterprise. .... The staff of contributors will now be considerably strengthened, the editorial charge committed to eminently competent hands, and nothing left undone on the part of the publishers to make the “Gaidheal” worthy of the place to which it aspires, as the organ of Gaelic literature’ (pp. 245-46).
ContentsEach issue contains a number of articles on a variety of subjects. Overall, this text contains stories; articles on history, geography, science, and articles offering advice; a small number of religious articles; a large number of poems and songs; biographies; the myths and legends of Gaelic Scotland and of Greece; and sayings and riddles. There are some reprints from An Teachdaire Gaelach (Text 133), especially in Leabhar IV.

The first issue, published in Dara Mios an t-Samhraidh (June) 1871, contains the following sections: Roimhradh (pp. 1-2); Mu Na Seann Ghaidheail, a long-running series (pp. 2-3); Beath’-Eachdraidh Choluim Chille, another series (pp. 3-5); An Cogadh ’s an Fhraing (pp. 5-7); Na Gaidheil an Canada (pp. 7-8); pp. 9-11 contain poems and songs; pp. 10-11 contain proverbs, sayings, and Toimhseachain; p. 12 contains poems and songs; Canada Duthaich an Duine Bhochd (pp. 13-14); Naidheachdan (pp. 14-16) which contains articles on Canada, a Ghaidhealtachd, etc, including Manitoba no Duthaich na h-Aimhne DeirgPosadh Tighearna Lhathurn agus A Bhan’-Phrionnsa LouisaArd Fhear-Foghlum Gailig about the setting up of the Chair of Celtic at Edinburgh, and Leabhraichean Ur Gailig; pp. 16-18 contain more poems and songs, including Dan SpioradailFreagairtean (p. 18); and Facal ’s an Dealachadh (p. 18).

Every issue also contains an English section, entitled ‘The Gael, English Department’ (in the first three issues it was entitled ‘The Scottish Highlander, An English Supplement to “The Gael”’). The English sections of some of the earlier issues contain notes on the Gaelic Language such as On the Structure and Affinities of the Gaelic language by P. McGregor (Leabh. I, Air. 2, pp. 37-40) and Gaelic Philology by Rev. Alex. Cameron (Leabh. III, Air. 28, pp. 159-61).

Leabh. V, Air. 51 (Dara Mios an Earraich, 1876) contains nine items as follows: Eachdraidh-beatha Professor Blackie (pp. 67-68); a poem, Donull Gorm (pp. 68-70); Comhradh eadar Murachadh Ban agus Coinneach Ciobair, by Alasdair Ruadh (pp. 70-74); Orain le Iain Lom containing three poems (pp. 74-76); Damon agus Titias, translated by Mac-Mharcuis, i.e. John Whyte (pp. 76-78); Litir mu’n taibhsearachd, translated from English (pp. 78-81); Laoidhean Shealma (pp. 81-83); Sgialachd Mhic-Cruimein by Donull Mac-Leoid (pp. 83-85); and An Talla ’M Bu Ghna Le Mac-Leoid by Mairi Nighean Alastair Ruaidh (pp. 85-86). The English Department contains two articles, a memoir of Norman MacLeod (pp. 87-94) and an article on Dugald Buchanan (pp. 94-96).
LanguageThis text contains vocabulary corresponding to a wider range of subject matter, as can be seen from the contents listed above.

The stories include Suiridhe a’ Mhadaidh-Ruaidh, no ’S I ’n Onoir a Bheir Buaidh, being a ‘sgeulachd a reir nos nan seann sgeulachdan gaidhealach’ (Leabh. V, Air. 59, pp. 334-40); Am Muilleir Cam Agus am Balbhan by Iain (Leabh. VI, Air. 61, pp. 14-18); Iseabail Odhar agus Monagan by Peannusdubh (Leabh. VI, Air. 66, pp. 166-71); and Ailein Ban, a ‘Sgial mu latha Chuil-fhodair’ by Henry MacKenzie (Leabh. VI, Air. 63, pp. 85-88), which contains the following: ‘Chuir Latha Chùil-fhodair—latha na dunach do na Gàidhil, na Rìoghalaich fo ’n choille. Na thàrr bhàrr na h-àrfhaich an latha sin, b’ éudar dhaibh ionadan-falaich an dùthcha fhein a thoirt orra, a sheachnadh anacneasdachd an airm-dheirg’ (p. 86).

This text contains articles on a wide range of subjects. For example, there are articles on Gaelic literature and genealogy, such as Sloinntearachd, drawing on Collectanea de Rebus Albanicis, which runs though issues 60 and 61; Litreachas nan Gàidheal which runs over a number of issues in vols. V and VI and includes, for example, Na LaoidheanNa MarbhrannanNa h-Aoirean, and Bardachd Naduir; and a series on Seann Leabhraichean Gàidhlig (e.g. Leabh. VI, Air. 67, pp. 210-13). There are a number of articles which touch on aspects of Highland history, such as Falachd Eadar Clann an Toisich agus na Rothaich (Leabh. VI, Air. 63, pp. 88-89), Oran Nan Ciobairean Gallda; agus mar a thainig na caoirich-cheannriabhach do’n Ghaidhealtachd (Leabh. VI, Air. 67, pp. 203-06), and Euchdan Mhontrois (Leabh. VI, Air. 63, pp. 80-83), which begins ‘Cha bhòsd ri ràdhainn gu’n do dh’ àraich Albainn barrachd mhac, a reir a sluaigh, a choisinn le ’m buaidhibh cliu neo-bhasmhor na dh’ainmichear le rìoghachd no cinneach eile fo’n ghréin’ (p. 80).

There are a number of articles on foreign places, such as Mu Iompaireachd Shina (Leabh. I, Air. 2, pp. 20-21) and Cunntas Beag mu Thuras do ’n Eadailte (Leabh. IV, Air. 42, pp. 169-73), and there are also a number of articles on Canada. There are some articles on astronomy, e.g. Air Cruinn-Chorpaibh Soillseach nan Speir, a ten-part series running through Leabhar I and Leabhar II. There are a number of articles offering advice, such as Aobharan Airson a Bhi Seachnadh an Oil (Leabh. V, Air. 59, pp. 321-24), Dleasdanas Cloinne a Thaobh am Parantan (Leabh. VI, Air. 66, pp. 173-74), and Earailean Do Luchd-imriche Thar A Chuain t-Siar (Leabh. VI, Air. 72, pp. 363-65). There are also a small number of religious articles, e.g. Sailm (Leabh. VI, Air. 61, pp. 5-7), Caib. III (Leabh. VI, Air. 61, pp. 12-14), Traithean na Bliadhna (Leabh. II, Air. 19, pp. 206-10), and Searmoin Ghaidhlig (Leabh. III, Air. 28, p. 158).

This text contains a large number of poems and songs, by well-known and less well-known poets, the former category including Iain Lom and Dughall Bochanan. A tune is supplied for some of the songs, e.g. for Mo Run Geal, Dileas (Leabh. V, Air. 56, pp. 244) and for Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair’s Oran a’ Phrionnsa (Leabh. V, Air. 59, pp. 342). In Leabhar V, there is an article on Donull Mac Fhionnlaidh, which includes his poem Oran na Comhachaig (Air. 59, pp. 328-34). In Vols. V and VI we also find Litir ’Us Cronan Bhon Bhard Mac-Colla (Leabh. V, Air. 59, p. 341) and a Litir ’Us Oran Bho Mhairi Nic-Ealair (Leabh. VI, Air. 61, pp. 11-12).

There are a number of biographies, memoirs, and obituaries, such as the article on An t-Urramach Mac An Toisich MacAoidh, LL.D (Leabh. II, Air. 13, pp. 3-4), the article on An t-Ollamh MacLachlainn (Leabh. VI, Air. 61, pp. 1-5), and the article on Mr. Iain Mac-Lachainn of the publishers MacLachlan & Stewart (Leabh. VI, Air. 61, pp. 9-11).

There are a number of articles and poems on the myths and legends of Gaelic Scotland and of Greece. There is a series on Oisein: A ’Linn agus A Bhardachd, which begins in Leabh. I, Air. 2 (pp. 32-33), and the series contains a number of heroic ballads, such as Tuire Fhinn Airson Baile-Cluaidh (Leabh. I, Air. 2, pp. 32-33) and Imcheist Oisein (Leabh. VI, Air. 63, pp. 71-72). We also find Murchadh Mac Bhriain in Leabh. IV, Air. 41 (pp. 145-47). There are a large number of articles on Greek mythology and works translated from Greek, such as Sgialachd na Troidhe, translated by Eobhan MacLachlainn, which runs through most of the volumes. The introduction to Gniomhran Dhiomeid Mhic Thid begins ‘Tha Diomed mac Thid ’g a dhearbhadh fhein mar chuiridh ’s a’ bhlàr so. Dh’ impich Minerva, sgiath-dhìdinn Dhiomeid, Màrs gus an àrfhach fhàgail. Lotadh Diomed ’s an laimh le saighid a thilg Pandarus air, ach leighis Minerva e, agus chuir i mar gheasan air gun dol tuille an cinnseal nan dia’ (Leabh. IV, Air. 37, p. 13). Leabh. V, Air. 43 contains Sgialachd Aeneais le Virgil (pp. 203-05), translated from the Latin by D. B. B., and Leabh. V, Air. 56 contains a Gaelic translation of Auld Lang Syne (p. 243).

A number of the early issues contain sections on proverbs, riddles and sayingsAireamh 1, for example, contains a large section which includes ‘Is fearr teine beag a gharas, no teine mòr a loisgeas’ (Leabh. I, Air. 1, p. 11) and ‘Carson a tha saighdear gealtach coltach ri ìm? Ruithidh e ’n uair a leigeas tu ri teine e’ (Leabh. I, Air. 1, p. 11). Answers to the riddles are provided in the next issue. Many issues also have a section entitled Sop As Gach Seid which contains snippets of advice, sayings, and stories. For example in Leabh. V, Air. 59 we find ‘Na’n gabhadhmaid uiread a shaothair gu bhi mar bu chòir dhuinn a bhi ’s a tha sinn a’ gabhail gu bhi ’cur falaich air an ni a thà sinn, dh’fhaodamaid a bhi coltach ruinn fhéin gun bhi aig an dragh a bhi falach ni sam bith’ and ’Bha oifigeach ann air an robh cas mhaide ’bha air a dheanamh cho fior mhaith ’s nach aithnicheadh neach sam bith nach i cas cheart a bh’ innte. La dha bhi ’s a’ bhlàr thug peilleir gunna mhòir air falbh a chas-mhaide. Mhothaich saighdear dha ’tuiteam ’s ghlaodh e, “Rach air tòir an lighiche cho ealamh ’s is urrainn dut ’s an t-oifigeach air a leonadh.” “Cha teid,” air’ t-oifigeach, gu socrach, “an saor a tha dhìth orm.”’ (p. 340). Leabhar IV also contains a series on Sean-Fhocail.

Also of interest is the editor’s method of naming the months of the year as the first, second, and third months of spring, summer, autumn, and winter. The English section of the paper provides us with the English name for each month. We can therefore see that Ceud Mios an Earraich is February, Ceud Mios an t-Samhraidh is May, Ceud Mios an Fhoghair is August, and Ceud Mios a Gheamhraidh is November. Also of interest is the genitive form of ‘autumn’ which, in the earlier issues is an Fhogharaidh and in later issues becomes an Fhoghair.
OrthographyIn Remarks on Gaelic Orthography (Leabh. I, Air. 2, pp. 40-41), the editors explain the orthography they have chosen to use. They begin: ‘Some of our readers having taken exception to our mode of spelling certain Gaelic words, a brief explanation becomes necessary’ (p. 40). They point out that Gaelic orthography is not standardised; but neither is English orthography; nor should we expect them to be. They then make the claim that ‘no Gaelic writer of any note implicitly follows the Gaelic Bible in spelling.’ As for themselves: ‘We aim at writing pure Scottish Gaelic, rejecting both obsolete and Irish forms, and excluding quiescent consonants that should never have been admitted, such as dh in oire (Latin haeres,) an heir, and in bliana (Welsh blynedd) a year. So in all words compounded with comh, or co, we would reject the mh before consonants, and retain them before vowels, as is done in Latin’ (p. 41).

The editors then address problems raised by ‘not distinguishing the secondary from the primary initial sounds of ln, and r’. Their solution is a radical one: ‘We obviate this defect by indicating the secondary forms by simply writing an h after them, as is the case of all the other consonants, as was suggested long ago, by Dr. Alexander Stewart, in his Gaelic Grammar, and we know some other writers of Gaelic have done’ (p. 41).

The editors conclude as follows: ‘We think the few changes we have introduced are warranted by good reasons, and that they render a composition easier to read and understand, and make the language more adapted to the communication of thought accurately and rapidly’ (p. 41). In part II of P. Mac-Griogair’s article Mar a Fhuaras Amach America (Leabh. II, Air. 21, pp. 267-69), a short introduction states that ‘We consider it due to the author of this article to state that he is not responsible for the orthography of the first part, which appeared in No. 14 of the GAEL. In the present one we have, at his request, adhered to his own orthography’.
EditionFirst edition. Each volume begins with an index. Excerpts from those texts that were originally published in An Teachdaire Gaelach (Text 133) should be taken from the earlier publication.
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