Reference Number305
TitleGainmheach an fhasaich
AuthorNic Gill-Eathain, Mairi M.
Date Of Edition1971
Date Of Languagelate 20c
Date Of Language Ed1950-1999
DateMacroLate 20th c.
Date Of Language Notes
PublisherClub Leabhar
Place PublishedInverness
LocationNational, academic, and local libraries
Geographical OriginsGrimsay, North Uist
Geographical Origins EdUist
GeoMacroHarris and N Uist
Geographical Origins Notes
RegisterLiterature, Prose
Register EdLiterature, Prose
RatingB (TBC)
One of the first romantic novellas to have been published in Scottish Gaelic.
A novella set both in the Highlands and in Africa.
Reflects the Gaelic dialect of Grimsay, North Uist
Alternative Author NameMary M. MacLean
Manuscript Or EditionEd.
Size And Condition18.3cm x 12.2cm
Short TitleGainmheach an Fhàsaich
Reference DetailsNLS: 5.5002
Number Of Pagesvi, 104
Gaelic Text ByN/A
Social ContextMàiri Mairead MacGill-Eathain (Mary Margaret Maclean) was born 3 June 1921 at Knockqueen, North Uist, daughter of William Maclean, grocer, Carnish, and Catherine Cameron, Knockqueen. The family moved to Grimsay in July 1935. She attended Glaic Primary School, then Claddach Carnish, and thereafter educated herself by taking correspondence courses. At the outbreak of World War II she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service. She was trained in Edinburgh and served in a clerical capacity in Thurso, Wick, Orkney and Inverness. At the end of the war she was employed as a secretary in Oban, first with Cefoil and then with the Admiralty Repair Base. In 1950 she returned to Grimsay to look after her elderly mother. She decided to remain on the island. In 1951 she won the prestigious Bardic Crown, a literary competition run by An Comunn Gàidhealach, the second female to do so. Her published work includes a booklet in English and Gaelic, Sunbeams and Starlight (1947), a short-story collection Lus-Chrùn à Griomasaidh (1970) (see Text 43) and the novella Gainmheach an Fhàsaich (1971). In The Voice of the Bard (1999), she speaks of her life and poetry, recounting how she broke her engagement to a fellow Uist poet Donald John MacDonald (1919-1986) (for whom see Text 311), and joined the Free Church. Her poems, short stories and articles have appeared in various publications.
ContentsBefore the title-page (p. iii), a dedication appears to her friend Daphne from Kilmarnock (p. ii). The main text (pp. 7-104) is divided into 20 short chapters.
LanguageThe text is written in an engaging style and is for the most part fairly easy to comprehend. The main characters are one dimensional and the plot is somewhat clichéd.
The copula is realised, somewhat inconsistently, as follows: gur h-ann (p. 8), ’S ann (p. 12), Is e (p. 13), gur h-e (p. 17), gur e (p. 26).
Dative plural occasionally appears, e.g., glacaibh (p. 11), clannaibh (p. 52), guaillibh (p. 74).
Very occasionally an English idiomatic phrase appears, e.g.: “’S cinnteach gu bheil program làn agad fhad ’s a bhitheas tu anns a’ bhaile,” (p. 36).
Occasionally an English word appears: crochet (p. 40), living-room (p. 55), tractor (p. 68), garage (p. 90).
Very occasionally an unusual word or neologism is glossed, e.g., beairt-sgrìobhaidh ‘typewriter’ (p. 34); iarrann-preaseach ‘corrugated iron’ (p. 54), leann-tàth ‘cement’ (p. 55), saighdearan-tochlaidh ‘pioneers’ (p. 56).
Some Gaelicised English words occasionally appear, e.g., a’ mhomaint (p. 65).

The language reflects the Gaelic dialect of Grimsay, North Uist.
OrthographyThe spelling conforms generally to the orthography of the late-twentieth century. Acute and grave accents are retained. No accents appear on capital letters.
EditionFirst edition.
Other Sources
Further ReadingBlack, Ronald I. M. (ed.), An Tuil: Anthology of 20th Century Scottish Gaelic Verse (Edinburgh, 2002: Birlinn), 438-45, 783-84.
MacMillan, Dorothy and Byrne, Michel (eds.), Modern Scottish Women Poets (Edinburgh, 2003: Canongate).
Maclean, Mary M., Sunbeams and Starlight ([n. p.], 1947: [n. pub.]).
Neat, Timothy, Voice of the Bard: Living Poets and Ancient Tradition in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1999: Birlinn).
NicGill-Eathain, Màiri M., Lus-chrùn à Griomasaigh (Inbhirnis, 1970: Club Leabhar).
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