A serious business, but not without some lighter moments, as Alec relates…
Alec was recorded for the project “An fheadhainn tha laighe sàmhach“, run by Comann Eachdraidh Uibhist a Tuath with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The August issue of Am Pàipear carries a Gaelic article by Gordon Wells entitled “Uibhist ioma-chànanach agus pròiseactan SMO” (“Multilingual Uist and SMO projects). It suggests that other communities coming to terms with multicultural or multilingual growth may find some useful points of comparison with the longstanding Hebridean experience of bilingualism.
It also highlights how Sabhal Mòr Ostaig (SMO), Scotland’s Gaelic college, has been working with European partners over a number of years on development work, particularly for language learners, that is rooted in the everyday experiences and accounts of the residents of Uist (and other Hebridean Islands) through projects such as Guthan nan Eilean. You can read the article here.
Here, retired headteacher Willie Macdonald reads out extracts from the emotionally intense poetry of the North Uist bard Dòmhnall Ruadh Chorùna, and discusses them in Gaelic and English. The conversation moves on to focus on the impact on families, including Willie’s own, of the losses suffered in the First World War, and the land raids undertaken by returning soldiers hardened by conflict, and willing to face imprisonment in pursuit of their claims to decent crofting land.
Willie was recorded by Mary Morrison and Laura Donkers for the project “An fheadhainn tha laighe sàmhach“, run by Comunn Eachdraidh Uibhist a Tuath. You can find the book of Dòmhnall Ruadh’s poetry, with full parallel English translations, via this link to the Gaelic Books Council.
As part of the “An fheadhainn tha laighe sàmhach” project Mary Morrison and Laura Donkers recorded the Reverend John Smith of North Uist as he describes the 1923 dedication of the North Uist war memorial.
This is followed by two of his own compositions. The first, in Gaelic, starts with the striking and memorable line “Cha charaid, ach nàmhaid, cogadh”, and was written in response to losses in his own family. His second poem, in English, reflects on the courageous sacrifices that were made by many, and finishes as strongly as the first one started: “We will remember them”.
Following the presentation on Island Voices by Gordon Wells, Caoimhín Ó Donnaíle went on to demonstrate how to create Clilstore units.
You can read a step-by-step guide in this Clilstore guidebook, produced as part of the TOOLS project.
You can get this guidebook in various other project languages and e-book formats suitable for iPads etc via this link. And on Page 34 you will find a table of links to YouTube video guides for teachers and learners.
Chaidh taisbeanadh a thoirt seachad air Guthan nan Eilean agus Clilstore aig Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu air a’ mhìos sa chaidh. ‘S e Gordon Wells agus Caoimhín Ó Donnaíle a bha ga lìbhrigeadh, agus iad airson sealltainn do thidsearan ann an Glaschu na stuthan-ionnsachaidh agus na h-innealan air a bheil Sabhal Mòr Ostaig air a bhith ag obair cuide ri colaistean eile san Roinn Eòrpa.
Seo an taisbeanadh a thug Gordon seachad air na pròiseactan Eòrpach agus Guthan nan Eilean, le ceanglaichean beò ann le eisimpleirean.
Am Pàipear, the local community newspaper, invites all in Uist to attend this debate – and to hear and contribute “island voices” on both sides…
Incidentally, the Am Pàipear website is currently offline for maintenance – which means that their Guthan/Voices page is also out of action at the moment. Their Facebook page remains active, however. And coincidentally, the online stream of An Radio is also currently in abeyance as the station shifts premises. Despite such temporary glitches, there are in the meantime still plenty of Island Voices to be heard on this site!