Celebrate Indigenous Languages in Wigtown

1 October 2019

As part of our drive to host events in all of Scotland’s indigenous languages we are very much looking forward to the launch of the first comprehensive anthology of Gaelic literature, spanning the Middle Ages to the 21st century.

It is filled with masterpieces of the ancient language.

Sunday’s launch of An Ubhal as Àirde: The Highest Apple will see co-editor Wilson McLeod, professor of Gaelic at the University of Edinburgh, describe how he and Michael Newton went about selecting the more than 200 original texts that are included.

The book sets the original Gaelic texts beside English translations to maximise accessibility. The language has changed greatly down the centuries and some of the earlier works would be as challenging to modern Gaelic speakers as the original of Beowulf is for readers of English. Each chapter also has different kinds of texts that how the status and perception of Scottish Gaelic have changed.

Professor McLeod hopes that the book will have broad appeal in part because it embraces a wide variety of work and covers such a broad timespan.

It includes:

  • Hallaig – Sorley MacLean
  • 'M' anam do sgar riom a-réir' - Muireadhach Albanach Ó Dálaigh
  • 'Alastair à Gleanna Garadh' - Sìleas na Ceapaich
  • 'Birlinn Chlann Raghnaill' - Alasdair mac Mhaighstir Alasdair
  • 'Moladh Beinn Dorain' - Donnchadh Bàn Mac an t-Saoir
  • 'Eilean a' Cheò' - Màiri Mhòr nan Òran
  • 'Anns a' Bhalbh Mhadainn' - Ruaraidh MacThòmais
  • 'Deireadh an Fhoghair' - Tormod Caimbeul.

And while creating the anthology has taken a number of years Prof. McLeod says it has been a rewarding experience: “We have had to contact many authors and families and talk to many other people for this book and what has been amazing is the support and enthusiasm they have shown.

“The result is a brick of a book, about 800 pages, but we hope that it’s something that will be valued by the Gaelic community and a wider readership of people who are interested in Scotland, its literature and culture.”