THURSDAY 1ST SEPTEMBER: Cuimhneachan - Remembrance
Chair: Murdo Beaton
2.00pm • £4.00
Seo a’ chiad chruinneachadh de bhàrdachd Ghàidhlig on Chiad Chogadh Mhòr - leabhar anns an cluinnear guthan nan saighdearan agus nan seòladairean a chaidh a shabaid agus guthan nam màthraichean, nam peathraichean agus nam ban a bha a’ feitheamh riutha.
Eadar dàin bheothail a’ moladh ar dùthcha aig toiseach a’ chogaidh agus bàrdachd mun sgrios mhòr dheireannach air Latha na Bliadhn’ Ùire 1919, nuair a chailleadh còrr is 200 duine air an Iolaire, tha sealladh drùidhteach an seo air a’ chogadh agus mar a dh’fhiosraich na Gàidheil e.
Tha a’ bhàrdachd anns a’ Ghàidhlig le eadar-theangachadh sa Bheurla.
In this first ever anthology on Gaelic verse from the First World War the voices of the soldiers and sailors who fought the war and the voices of the mothers, sisters, and wives who waited for them are given prominence.
From spirited patriotic verse composed at the beginning of the war to the final tragedy of New Year’s Day 1919 and the loss of over 200 returning servicemen on the Iolaire, this is a poignant view of the war as experienced by Gaelic speakers. The sessions will feature a close look at one of the Skye poems in the company of the book’s editor Jo MacDonald.
The session will be in Gaelic with English translation.
Cuimhneachan / Remembrance, a poignant anthology of Gaelic poetry – much of it written by service personnel in action abroad or by their families back home – helped mark the BBC’s centenary of World War One.
Including a foreword by Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, it was officially launched to acclaim from a packed theatre at the Edinburgh Book festival on Saturday, 15 August, 2015 and features a collection of more than 100 poems from BBC Radio nan Gaidheal’s World War One project.
Many of the poems were written by the soldiers and sailors who fought in the war or their parents, siblings and wives who waited for them at home - and bringing the works together for the first time will form a lasting tribute to Gaels who fought in the Great War.
From spirited, patriotic verse composed at the beginning of the war to the Iolaire tragedy of New Year’s Day 1919 with the loss of over 200 returning servicemen, this is a poignant view of the war as experienced by the people of the Gaelic-speaking areas.
The poems are all in Gaelic with English translation, while there are notes on authors who came from many areas, proof of how the Great War affected communities, not only in Scotland but in North America and Australia.
BBC Head of Gaelic Services, Margaret Mary Murray, said she was delighted that work sourced as part of Radio nan Gaidheal’s World War One legacy, would now be available together for the first time and remain for future generations.
“It is hard for us to imagine what it was like for those who went to fight in the First World War and also for those who remained at home, waiting. These poems offer a unique insight into their most intimate thoughts and feelings and circumstances through the duration of the war,” she said.
Gaelic broadcaster Cathy MacDonald says the impact of the Great War is still being felt 100 years later. “The impact of World War One made its mark on poets later in the 20th Century such as Sorley MacLean, Iain Crichton Smith and Runrig’s Calum and Rory MacDonald – but it’s very clear that it is still capable of doing so now.”
The project came about in 2014 as BBC Radio nan Gaidheal embarked on its centenary coverage and discovered a wealth of material from the time. Many of the poems were sourced from books, magazines and newspapers of the time, or from local historical societies and listeners, while some poems had been kept carefully by families throughout the last century..
Prince Charles writes: “This remarkable bilingual publication contains one hundred poems, representing one for each year between 1914 and 2014, and I can only congratulate all those involved in bringing together such a varied and poignant collection of poems to provide us with an invaluable legacy in First World War reminiscences for future generations.
“It is very appropriate that the original poems were written in Gaelic – the mother tongue of most of those from the Highlands and Islands who served on land, sea and in the air, and in whose honour this book serves as yet another reminder of the great sacrifices made by those never-to-be-forgotten heroes," he writes.
Professor Roibeard Ó Maolalaigh, Vice Principal and Head of the College of Arts at Glasgow University, also commends the anthology as “an extraordinary memorial and creative response to the great terror, utter devastation and deep sadness caused by the Great War.
"It brims with the full range of human emotion that will keep in our minds and hearts the lasting impact which the First World War had on the lives of the Gaels and the Highlands and Islands,” he said.
Cuimhneachan / Remembrance is published by Acair and supported by the Gaelic Books Council.