Reference Number328
TitleDacha mo Ghaoil
AuthorMac Gill-Eain, Tormod
Date Of Edition2005
Date Of Languageearly 21c
Date Of Language Ed2000-
DateMacroEarly 21st c.
Date Of Language Notes
Place PublishedInverness
Geographical OriginsNorth Uist
Geographical Origins EdNorth Uist
GeoMacroHarris and N Uist
Geographical Origins NotesBorn in Glasgow. Father from Tiree, mother from Benbecula. Grew up in Lochaber and Griminish, Benbecula.

“Ach, ann an dòigh – chionn ’s gu robh m’ athair aig muir – ghabh mise taobh bho na h-Uibhistich, thoradh bha mi a’ cluinntinn na stòrannan aig mo mhàthair, mu Chladach a’ Bhaile Shear, is mu Chàirinis, agus mu Bheinn na Faoghla is mu Ghriminis, well, àite far an robh mo sheanmhair. [...] So, mar sin, bha mi, mar gum biodh, air mo bhàthadh ann an stòrannan Uibhisteach. Cha robh mi ro eòlach air Tiriodh ann.”
Register Ed
Alternative Author NameNorman Maclean
Manuscript Or EditionEd.
Size And Condition20.2cm x 14cm
Short TitleDacha mo Ghaoil
Reference DetailsNLS: NPB1.205.1302
Number Of Pagesx, 124
Gaelic Text ByN/A
Social ContextNorman Hector Mackinnon Maclean (Tormod MacGill-Eain, 1938-2017) was born 26 December 1938 in Ibrox, Govan, Glasgow, to Neil Maclean (Niall Mòr mac Iain Eòghain Ruaidh, 1901-1951), from Tiree, and his wife Peggy Mackinnon (Peigidh Bheag nighean Thormoid ’ic Ailein, 1907-2006) from Cladach Baleshare, North Uist. His very earliest years were spent in Glasgow, but at the outbreak of the Second World War, Maclean was evacuated, first to Srathan, Loch Arkaig, Lochaber, home of his maternal grand-uncle James Macdonald (Seumas Mòr mac Aonghais ’ic Iain Mhòir), and then to Benbecula where he attended Torlum Primary School.
On his return to Glasgow he completed his education at Bellahouston Academy and then the University of Glasgow. He then undertook teacher training at Jordanhill College of Education. and became a teacher of English and Mathematics. Maclean held teaching posts in Lionel, Lossiemouth, Fort Augustus, Glasgow and Oban. In 1967 he won both the Bardic Crown and the Gold Medal for singing at the National Mod held in Glasgow. As a creative talent, Maclean composed tunes for the bagpipes, including the well-known Cion a’ Bhuntàta (Scarce o’ Tatties) and My Land as well as songs and poems in English and Gaelic. Turning his back on a teaching career, Maclean entered the world of entertainment, and became popular as a stand-up comedian and an all-round entertainer at home and abroad. He fronted the successful entertainment series Tormod air Teilidh (1978). He has also made many contributions to Gaelic language programmes for Grampian Television, STV and the BBC.
In later years, the multi-talented Maclean took to writing novels. His first, Cùmhnantan (1996), is autobiographical and takes a humorous and not untruthful slant on the greed and opportunism of the Gaelic media. His second, Keino (1998), is far darker and psychologically revealing, and contains descriptions of sex and violence. A decade later Slaightearan (2008) carried on in the same vein as Dacha Mo Ghaoil (2005), where Maclean takes an odd couple on a rambunctious tour around Scotland.
In May 2009, Maclean returned initially to South Uist and latterly to Grimsay, North Uist. He became very frail before passing away, aged eighty, at Balivanich, Benbecula, on 31 August 2017.
ContentsAfter a brief biographical sketch (p. i), follows the title page (p. iii), publication details (p. iv), dedications (pp. v-vi), contents list (pp. vii-viii), a Biblical quotation (p. ix) and then the main text, which is divided into 21 chapters.
Dacha Mo Ghaoil is a black comedic novella set mainly in the islands, with offshoots to Glasgow, Amsterdam and Germany. The story focuses upon the main character, Daibhidh MacÌosaig, a recent university graduate, who takes to criminal activity and tries to set up a lap-dancing club in Uist. He becomes friendly with a scam artist called Donnchadh and a local thug called Calum, who invests his ill-gotten gains and becomes a drug dealer. Donnchadh wants their help in bringing to fruition a crazy plan, to establish an ostrich-rearing farm which also involves sexual trafficking. All of them come under the suspicion Mairead, a local lawyer, who manages to thwart their criminal activities. Perhaps unusually, an English translation of the novella, entitled Dearest Dacha, was published in 2011 along with Gaelic 3CD-set of the author’s own narration of the novella (2006).
LanguageThe novel is written in a fluid, idiomatic style with a great deal of sharp and witty dialogue, which gives the narrative an engaging pace.
The text is replete with idiomatic phrases, e.g.: Bha na fiaclan ris (p. 11), Bheireadh e Taigh Iain Ghròt air (p. 20), tha iad a’ smaoineachadh gur e fìon a tha sa mhùn aca (p. 45), cha ruigeadh tu leas a bhith air do phònaigeadh (p. 51), cha tàinig bìc no bèic às (p. 59), Tha mo cheann na bhrochan agad (p. 64), Tha mi cho lom ri frìne (p. 92).
There are many examples of terms of endearment, imprecations and swear words such as the following: A ghràidhein nan daoin (p. 12), preig (p. 13), bastar (p. 14), bugair (p. 15), “Mo bhuan-bheannachd ort, ’ille” (p. 28), “Dhia bhith timcheall orm” (p. 35).
There are quite a few examples of Gaelicised words: bhana (p. 11), teip (p. 12), a’ bhrèig (p. 11), sòbarra (p. 16), eleactronach (p. 22), reacòrdair (p. 22), ostraitean (p. 24), stèic (p. 25), motair (p. 29), diosgo (p. 30), cileagram (p. 63), sgutair (p. 75), gafair (p. 75), dràibheir (p. 87), einnsean (p. 99), stròc (p. 102), seic (p. 122).
There are quite a few examples of rare or unusual words, e.g.: stuidearra (p. 12), glamha (p. 14), crànaisteach (p. 19), siot gàire (p. 29), miathalaich (p. 33), spochadh (p. 34), nuadal (p. 38), cuagach (p. 47), conn (p. 53), cuinneachan (p. 57), plìonas (p. 59), a’ gabarsaich (p. 62), buigleag (p. 62), amhoin (p. 70), cruadhlag (p. 96), siofag (p. 100), similidh (p. 113), praoisgeil (p. 114), babhsgaideach (p. 123).
There are also examples of English idioms being used, e.g.: Tha ’m fear seo a’ dol air an nèarbh agam (p. 13), tha mi minigeadh (p. 31), Faigh os a chionn (p. 99).

The language reflects the Gaelic dialect of North Uist.
OrthographyThe spelling conforms generally to the orthography of early twenty-first century. Acute and grave accents are subsumed with the grave accent only. Accents usually 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), 554-61, 800-01.
Campbell, Angus Peter, ‘Obituary: Norman Maclean loved and admired by his own people’, West Highland Free Press, no. 2367 (8 September 2017), 14.
Davison, Phil, ‘Obituary – Norman MacLean, comedian and writer known as the Gaelic Billy Connolly’, The Herald (4 September 2017), 17.
MacLeod, John, ‘Obituary: Norman Maclean, scholar, entertainer, and Gaelic legend’, The Scotsman (29 September 2017), 14.
MacGill-Eain, Tormod, Cùmhnantan (Glaschu, 1996: Clò Loch Abair).
MacGill-Eain, Tormod, Keino (Glaschu, 1998: Clò Loch Abair).
MacGill-Eain, Tormod, Slaightearan (Inbhir Nis, 2008: CLÀR).
Maclean, Norman, The Leper’s Bell: The Autobiography of a Changeling (Edinburgh, 2010: Birlinn).
MacGill-Eain, Tormod, Dearest Dacha (Edinburgh, 2011: Birlinn).
MacGill-Eain, Tormod, Eavesdropping on Myself: An Outsider’s Boyhood in Glasgow (Ochtertyre, 2015: Grace Notes Publications).
Watson, Moray, An Introduction to Gaelic Fiction (Edinburgh, 2011: Edinburgh University Press).
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