Reference Number66
TitleA’ Bhraisd Lathurnach
AuthorMacDhughaill, Eachann
Date Of Edition1914
Date Of Languageearly 20c
Date Of Language Ed1900-1949
DateMacroEarly 20th c.
Date Of Language Notes
PublisherAlexander MacLaren & Sons
Place PublishedGlasgow
LocationNational Library of Scotland
Geographical OriginsColl
Geographical Origins EdColl
GeoMacroMull, Coll and Tiree
Geographical Origins Notes
RegisterLiterature, Prose (History)
Register EdLiterature, Prose
A short history of the MacDougalls and Robert Bruce.
Contains vocabulary relating to the disagreements, battles, and political difficulties of the time.
Contains the Gaelic names of a number of important people of the time.
The register and turn of phrase are well suited to the telling of a historical story.
Alternative Author NameHector MacDougall
Manuscript Or EditionEd.
Size And Condition21cm x 13.8cm
Short TitleA’ Bhràisd Lathurnach
Reference DetailsNLS: 1971.68
Number Of Pages30, numbered 177-206
Gaelic Text ByN/A
Social ContextHector MacDougall was born in Coll in 1880. His father was a fisherman and they lived in a thatched house. MacDougall attended the Ladies Highland Association school in Bòsta between the ages of 5 and 12. In 1900, at the age of twenty, MacDougall moved to Glasgow and joined the police. By the time he retired in 1931, he had become an Inspector. While in Glasgow, he became involved in a number of Gaelic organisations. He was a member of An Comunn Gaidhealach’s Ard-chomhairle; the convener, fear-gairme (MacCalmain 1954: 365) of Clann an Fhraoich; and a ‘Father’ in Comunn na h-Oigridh. He was often a judge at the National Mòd and he founded An Comunn Collach, the Coll Society in Glasgow. He was president of Comunn Gàidhlig Ghlaschu and of Cèilidh nan Gaidheal, and was an advisory member of Comunn Aiteachaidh na Gaidhealtachd, Comunn Beul-Aithris na h-Albann, and Aitreabh nan Gaidheal. He was also member of Comunn Clann Dùghaill, Comunn Litreachais na h-Alba, and Acadamaidh na Gàidhlige, which was founded before the First World War. A large part of Macdougall’s education was in the taigh-ceilidh, where he learnt the traditions and language of his forebears. He wrote extensively in Gaelic and in English. He often wrote to the Stornoway Gazette and he had a weekly column, in Gaelic and English, in the Weekly Scotsman. He was also published in the People’s Journal and the weekly Gaelic paper, Alba. He published articles in a number of Gaelic journals, including Guth na Bliadhna, An Deò-Gréine, An Sgeulaiche, and The Celtic Annual. He also contributed to the radio program and subsequent publication, Am Measg nam Bodach. He prepared a number of books for publication, including the second edition of Clàrsach na Coille (1928), Bàird Chill-Chomain (1936), and Cnoc Chusbaig (1937). MacDougall also won many literary prizes at the National Mòd. He won the premier Gaelic poetry prize three times, in 1912, 1921 and 1936. He would have won the Bardic Crown in 1935 too, had he not submitted his entry under a pseudonym, which was not permitted at the time. The prize was given to the second-placed competitor. MacDougall died on 27th March 1954, a day before his 74th birthday.

This text is an offprint of an article which MacDougall had published in Guth na Bliadhna in 1914. The offprint itself is undated. The subject of this essay is the history of Robert Bruce and Clann Dhùghaill. At the beginning of the article, MacDougall explains that he had thought about writing on this subject a few years previously and had finally decided to write the article after being introduced to a young woman who exclaimed that she would have nothing to do with Clan MacDougall as they had fought against Robert Bruce.
ContentsThe article begins with the death of Alexander III and looks back in time to Malcolm Canmore and his wife Margaret to explain the state of Scotland around the time of Robert Bruce. It then looks at some of the important figures of the time, including the Balliols, the Comyns, and Edward I, and at the ancestry of Robert Bruce and his attempts to gain the Scottish throne. The article then looks at the connection between Clan Dougall and the Comyns, describing how Bruce had killed the Red Comyn, which led the MacDougalls to attack at Glen Dochart, near Tyndrum. The attack is then described in full, including the MacDougalls’ seizure of the famous Bràisd Latharnach (‘Brooch of Lorne’) which Bruce left behind in order to escape. MacDougall maintained that at the time of the MacDougalls’ attack on him, Bruce had done nothing to benefit Scotland, and had in fact done one or two things that were not in Scotland’s best interest. The MacDougalls were justified in their action, and had been unjustly maligned by some.
LanguageThis text contains vocabulary relevant to the period of Scotland’s history recounted in the text, including the Gaelic names of a number of the important people of that time, e.g. eadar Righ Raibeart Brus is Cloinn Dùghaill (p. 177), do Mhenteith (an Tèadhach) féin (p. 178), Uilleam Uallas (p. 178), ris na Brusaich (p. 178), Mairghread, ban-righ Mhaol-Chaluim a’ Chinn-mhoir (p. 181), laimh ris na Cuimeanaich (p. 190), and Mort a’ Chuimeanaich (p. 192).

The vocabulary contained in the text relates also the disagreements, battles, and political difficulties of the time. For example, we find phrases such as mar luchd-brath is mar thraoidhtearan (p. 178), eadhon a’ dol an co-bhonn ri Sasunn gu a chall a dhèanamh (p. 178), cho déidheil air ìmpearachd fharsaing is a shuidh air righ-chathair Shasuinn riamh (p. 179), ard-ùghdaras is oighreachdan (p. 180), fo cheannsal (p. 180), ‘Chaidh cuilbh-steidh na rìoghachd ath-leagail, is ghabhadh a stigh atharrachadh réin, a sgoilt ri ùine Albainn na dà leth air chor is gu’m faodte a ràdh le firinn gu’n robh dà rìoghachd is dà shluagh, daimheil gu leor am fuil, ach tur eadar-dhealaichte an aignidhean is an cleachduinnean, taobh a stigh ar crìochan’ (p. 181), Ath-stéidheachadh na h-Alban (p. 181), an teaghlaichean mhorairean is riaghlairean inbheach eile (p. 182), ri Blàr Loudoin (p. 191), an impis dol am broillichean a chéile (p. 194), air achadh Chuil-fhodair (p. 195), ’nam fir-aire air an dùthaich (p. 196), ’na fhear-dìon mar a theirte ris (p. 196), air Acha Rois-linne (p. 196), ceist còir-sheilbhe a’ chrùin (p. 197), tighinn gu bualadh bhuillean (p. 201), de na stiorapan (p. 202), and anns a’ ghrad-ionnsaidh so (p. 202).

In at least two instances, MacDougall uses long strings of adjectives to emphasise his point: eadar a h-àrd-inbhich eudmhor, fhuilteach, riaghl-mhiannach féin (p. 180) and air an fheachd fheusagach, fhéitheach, ghlun-rùisgteach, fhèileach, bhreacanach (p. 201).

This text is written in a register and with a turn of phrase well-suited to the telling of such a narrative. For example, we find thug mo charaid dhuinn lamh-eòlas air a chéile (p. 177), Cha d’thubhairt mi a’ bheag aig an àm (p. 178), thàinig … an taobh a bha sinn (p. 177) and thug air … dol an taobh a chaidh iad (p. 178), gu’n do chuir … a sìos no a suas mi (p. 178), air cur a leth-taobh (p. 181), Albainn ùr air a dearg-sgeadachadh an trusgan nan Normanach (p. 181), Ach biodh sin mar a tha e, nach anabarrach an nì e (p. 195), fhuair e steud air a chruidheadh beul-ri-cùl (p. 198), an làrach nam bonn (p. 203), Cha lean mi a bheag ni’s meana air na thachair (p. 204), and air a’ cheann mu dheireadh thall bhris reul nan rath air Raibeart Brus (p. 204).
OrthographyThe author’s dialect may be reflected in a number of the words and phrases used in the text. For example, the frequent use of the word àiridh, e.g. feasgar àraidh (p. 177) and caraid àraidh (p. 177); and the use of gu instead of gus, e.g. a tha feumail dhuinn gu a breithneachadh (p. 179) and gu an saorsa a chosnadh (p. 179). Also of interest is his use of air aghaidh (e.g. p. 177), an luchd-leanmhainn (pp. 179-80), mar is bitheanta (p. 178), eadhon (p. 178), ceo-mhadainn na ceithre linn deug (p. 180), Albainn as the nominative case (e.g. p. 181), Taobh a stigh de shè seachduinean (p. 198), ag innseadh (p. 201), Thugadh lom-sgrìos air Moraireachd Bhuchain (p. 204), baile Ghlascho (p. 177), de an aona linn-deug (p. 181) and deireadh na h-aona linn deug (p. 180).

The orthography used in the text is that of the early twentieth century. Of interest is the author’s use of chuca rather than thuca (p. 179), both  (p. 190) and latha (p. 206), and deadh rather than deagh (p. 190). Elision is not marked to the same extent as in other texts from this period, e.g. we find ri am faicinn (p. 177) and le a bhith (p. 179).
EditionFirst edition. This text is an offprint of an article published in Guth na Bliadhna, 11 (1914).
Other Sources
Further ReadingMacCalmain, T. M., ‘Eachann MacDhughaill, beagan mu dheidhinn agus cunntas air na sgrìobh e an Gàidhlig’, Gairm, 8 (1954), 362-8, (reprinted in D. E. Meek, ed., Os cionn gleadhraich nan sràidean ([Edinburgh], 2010: Scottish Gaelic Texts Society), 276-81).
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