Candide

catholic by birth; scientist by choice; sinner by merit. gaidhlig-speaking neuroscience student at oxford. likes to question everything! @di_macd

The Isle of the Foreigner

agreatbigbagofdicks:

candide94:

guess-he-had-nothing-to-say:

Freedom.  The concept has been hammered into me by my parents ever since I can remember, ‘Sian, you have an enormous amount of freedom.’  And isn’t it such a brilliant word?  It is the word that instantly rouses any individual, crowd or nation.  It is the word that to everyone conjures romanticised images of open roads, walls being torn asunder or a collection of people rising together.  Until now I’ve never really understood what freedom is and that I am in possession of it.  

 

I have been born and raised on a remote island –North Uist - in the Outer Hebrides, my little Alcatraz.  You can choose between a two or three hour ferry or a highly expensive plane to ‘civilisation’.  But even then, not really as if it is the city you crave, that’s another five or so hours away in a bus or car.  So yes, living here is isolated and escape isn’t easy.  Growing up I have always felt a sense of being trapped and that I was missing out on what’s going on ‘out there’.  My thoughts went as far as a ‘streets-paved-with-gold’ image, though in my case gold means interesting people and buzzing avant-garde life.  In addition, despite living every second of my life on this island, I am a foreigner.  My parents are English and Dutch so my accent is ill defined and from this I am regularly told that I am not Scottish; Never mind that I am a Catholic living in Presbyterian North Uist with my house situated next-door to the Free Church of Scotland.

 

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I think it’s interesting to compare what we both wrote on this same topic. Yours being from a ‘neocolonialist(!)’ and mine from an ‘indigenous(!)’ perspective. 

The Real Tìr nan Òg?

The ever-present sea-breeze on our backs, buffeting us forward – we clattered and stumbled over the half-made road. This mass of people, the largest I’d ever seen, marched on laughing, like a conquering army, across the brand-new causeway to Uist; from dear little Eriskay to what I thought of then as the big wide world. The flash of cameras followed us: the last community in the Western Isles to be linked to the rest of the western civilization. We watched the rocks tumbling with our past into the sea. And I, six-year old wannabe spaceman, took my own one small step to Uist, no longer a giant leap over the Sound. My brother and I, breaking free of Granaidh’s grip, running ahead of the crowd, inexorably into the future, running away from my island, running away from home…

               Eriskay, the Island of Youth, the island of my youth, was connected to Uist on November 27th 2000. This bare rock, home to just some six-score souls, most of them old, godly but grumpy, has been my playground, my paradise, my prison. I remember the day when I first realized the sheer tininess of this Hebridean pebble: Dad dragging me up to the top of the hill; a watchful crag from where I looked out to see nothing but sea. Perpetual, endless sea. Stretching – curving – beyond the borders of my world.

               And then I looked down upon Eriskay, and was surprised to find the people like dolls, their houses like toys, so small compared to that carpet of blue. I appreciated at last that these three square-miles of Lewisian Gneiss were our fastness, our only sanctuary from the sea’s storms – it was truly our island paradise. Yet even then I felt a creeping sense of entrapment, suffocation, that one day the baleful ocean might swallow us up, scarcely a pip. Though I felt big and grown-up, like an astronaut, like Edmund Hilary after he conquered Everest, I also knew that I was indeed a little boy.

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It seems to me that you both have different perspectives on island life based around your family. You both seem to have found your place here and I find that strange. Even though both my parents are from the islands, I’ve never felt connected here. You both mentioned feeling trapped at some point. I’ve felt like that almost as long as I can remember. 

Of course, I fondly remember being a child and feeling happy about the freedom to travel where I wanted. But that never lasted long. I always knew that there was a much larger world out there and I was a little scared that I would never get to see it. I’ve had a list of all the places I want to visit in my head since I could read a map.

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I think we all have to be careful about letting stereotypes dictate our opinions. I mean, yeah, its easy to see alcoholic old bodaich with their sheep and football as stupid. But what I think you have to appreciate is that many of the men I know (and respect) really aren’t comfortable chatting away to us in English - they don’t know what to say, so they talk about the weather. But if you engage with them, and ask in Gaidhlig about crofting, or local history, or place names, or songs, or their experience at sea, or fishing you’d be surprised at how knowledgeable and interesting these guys can be. This is why (despite my moaning) I do enjoy Historical Society. I mean, there’s one old bodach who took me and my brother up the hill to this boggy moor and started showing us all these old roundhouses. He was explaining how there had been battle between the Norse and the Celtic inhabitants in the early 900s, and he knew because of songs that had been passed down for 1000s of years. He could tell us what the rocks and archaelogical remains meant as good as any proffessional.

I hate to sound judgemental, but maybe if you did use Gaidhlig you’d learn a lot more… but its your choice. No one forces it on anyone. Think about it - the onus is always on the Gaidhlig speaker to speak English. They always defer to English…

SianD, you’re into travelling… has it ever occured to you that most of the men on Uist were in the merchant navy. They’ve travelled the world - when I was doing raffle for morroco, one guy spent half an hour telling me about his adventures in Morroco when his ship was at port for a week. He was just 16 - they’ve led exciting lives. This guy had been to Brazil, Agentina, Singapore, Zanzibar, The falklands, Hong Kong, New York … all over the world.

While I completely understand feelings of entrapment, I can’t help but feel we are all (including me) being rather patronizing and condescending to the folk we meet in Uist. It’s easy to dismiss them as an uncultred crofters. If you make the effort, and ask them about their lives, you’ll hear some of the best storytellers in the world. Storytelling was for them a valued skill. They’re often just a bit embarassed, I find… they’re modest men.

On another note, lots of the bodaich I know are amazingly well-read. There was usually little else to do when they off their shift, so they would read from the library. One guy (who died of liver poisoning the other year) was still borrowing Dostoevsky and Tolstoy and stuff from the Eriskay library, decades after he’d left the navy. Another guy I know is really into physics books, and is also a great photographer, plus he runs the histroical society.

Finally, on the gossip issue - we do a shitload of that too! Humans are social animals. Everyone likes a good gossip! 

(via thepubertaddamsfund)

That rocky little island is where I live. It’s called Eriskay. I was walking up one of the headlands today, and I remembered this old saying about there being but a bare foot of soil on Eriskay. That’s why the only agriculture that takes place is on lazy beds. You only had stick your spade in once and you’d hit rock - and ancient rock at that. Eriskay is made of Lewisian Gneiss - most of which dates to three BILLION years ago, during the Archaean. These were days when sulphur reducing bacteria dominated the planet. There were no multicellular organisms; there weren’t even any eukaryotes. This was a pre-Nucleic age. 

The Gneiss comes from Volcanic rock that has been buried and crushed over the aeons by the shifting continents, remelted, recrystalized and resculpted into a hard, granite-like rock. Mountain-building events thrust into the open, its white and black banded pattern glittering under Hebridean sunlight. 

These are the oldest rocks in Europe. It’s awe-inspiring to think that when I walk along the headland, each time my foot touches the rock, I’m touching something that is older than eukaryotic life itself, something that pre-dates the nucleus, something thats three quarters of the age of the earth, something thats one fifth the age of the universe. These facts that science teaches us are more beautiful and more profound than anything religion, or art or literature can tell us. They are the truth, and more wonderful for it…

Eriskay is a tiny little rock, waiting to be drowned under the sea. But at least I can console myself with the fact, in some shape or form, this rock has been around for the last 3 billion years, and will probably be here for another 3 billion more.

The Isle of the Foreigner

guess-he-had-nothing-to-say:

Freedom.  The concept has been hammered into me by my parents ever since I can remember, ‘Sian, you have an enormous amount of freedom.’  And isn’t it such a brilliant word?  It is the word that instantly rouses any individual, crowd or nation.  It is the word that to everyone conjures romanticised images of open roads, walls being torn asunder or a collection of people rising together.  Until now I’ve never really understood what freedom is and that I am in possession of it.  

 

I have been born and raised on a remote island –North Uist - in the Outer Hebrides, my little Alcatraz.  You can choose between a two or three hour ferry or a highly expensive plane to ‘civilisation’.  But even then, not really as if it is the city you crave, that’s another five or so hours away in a bus or car.  So yes, living here is isolated and escape isn’t easy.  Growing up I have always felt a sense of being trapped and that I was missing out on what’s going on ‘out there’.  My thoughts went as far as a ‘streets-paved-with-gold’ image, though in my case gold means interesting people and buzzing avant-garde life.  In addition, despite living every second of my life on this island, I am a foreigner.  My parents are English and Dutch so my accent is ill defined and from this I am regularly told that I am not Scottish; Never mind that I am a Catholic living in Presbyterian North Uist with my house situated next-door to the Free Church of Scotland.

 

Read More

I think it’s interesting to compare what we both wrote on this same topic. Yours being from a ‘neocolonialist(!)’ and mine from an ‘indigenous(!)’ perspective. 

The Real Tìr nan Òg?

The ever-present sea-breeze on our backs, buffeting us forward – we clattered and stumbled over the half-made road. This mass of people, the largest I’d ever seen, marched on laughing, like a conquering army, across the brand-new causeway to Uist; from dear little Eriskay to what I thought of then as the big wide world. The flash of cameras followed us: the last community in the Western Isles to be linked to the rest of the western civilization. We watched the rocks tumbling with our past into the sea. And I, six-year old wannabe spaceman, took my own one small step to Uist, no longer a giant leap over the Sound. My brother and I, breaking free of Granaidh’s grip, running ahead of the crowd, inexorably into the future, running away from my island, running away from home…

               Eriskay, the Island of Youth, the island of my youth, was connected to Uist on November 27th 2000. This bare rock, home to just some six-score souls, most of them old, godly but grumpy, has been my playground, my paradise, my prison. I remember the day when I first realized the sheer tininess of this Hebridean pebble: Dad dragging me up to the top of the hill; a watchful crag from where I looked out to see nothing but sea. Perpetual, endless sea. Stretching – curving – beyond the borders of my world.

               And then I looked down upon Eriskay, and was surprised to find the people like dolls, their houses like toys, so small compared to that carpet of blue. I appreciated at last that these three square-miles of Lewisian Gneiss were our fastness, our only sanctuary from the sea’s storms – it was truly our island paradise. Yet even then I felt a creeping sense of entrapment, suffocation, that one day the baleful ocean might swallow us up, scarcely a pip. Though I felt big and grown-up, like an astronaut, like Edmund Hilary after he conquered Everest, I also knew that I was indeed a little boy.

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Father Allan MacDonald of Eriskay

This was written for a historical society exhibition. It’s basically a short essay from which we took out good captions for photos etc. It’s far more breezy than my usual style, and lacking in any historical analysis. I had to write for an audience - namely, the religious and fact(as opposed to analysis)-loving average Eriskay person… 

(WARNING: You will notice I assume religious faith is a good thing. Again this is called ‘selling-out’ and is sometimes necessary when writing with someone else in mind)

Who was Father Allan, the man? Allan MacDonald - priest, poet, and folklorist - was born on the 25th October 1859 in the luxurious surroundings of Fort William Hotel. Despite having indeed been fortunate enough to obtain a room at the proverbial inn, from a young age his dream was to serve Christ as a member of the priesthood. At first, he studied at Blairs College, Aberdeenshire, and thence to Vallodolid in Spain where he undertook most of his training in the San Ambrosio College. 

Following ordination he was sent Oban as assistant priest. The people were fond of this young and popular priest yet, in 1884, he was transferred to Daliburgh parish which, at the time, was the poorest parish in the poorest diocese in all of Scotland. The people depended on him as an educated person to represent them in matters temporal as well as religious.  He laboured for ten happy but hardworking years in South Uist. However, A School in South Uist tells us it was always his desire to minister to and then die with “the simple fisher folk of Eriskay,” When, due to exhaustion, the Bishop relieved him of the burden of the St Peters, he crossed the sound to the island of Eriskay. An island he loved despite it being “bare of  barley!”

The impact he had on this little island at the edge of nowhere can hardly be exaggerated. But Fr Allan’s greatest legacy )of many) is - of course - the church, which stands imposingly alone atop the hill known as Cnoc na Sgrath.

Prior to Fr Allan’s arrival on the island, the people of Eriskay worshipped in a damp and smoky blackhouse, situated where the statue of Our Lady is now. The roof was full of holes and the visiting priest literally did have to walk on water in order to say mass. There were no seats, therefore the congregation all stood in cramped and crowded conditions. It was obvious to Fr Allan a new building was required, for how could he minister to his flock if the Chapel wasn’t even a worthy home for sheep?

Funds were needed and fast. This was mostly raised from subscriptions paid by Fr Allan’s rich friends plus, most importantly, the pious fisherman donated the takings from one catch a week to the appeal. On the designated day, the people gathered to pray for fruitful fishing, and it is claimed that these Church catches were far larger than the rest of the week’s. The faith of the Eriskay congregation was such that the construction of the church became a community endeavour, with sand being carried by the schoolchildren during their break and the men giving up their time to shift the large stones up the Rubha Ban.

The Church’s positioning on Cnoc na Sgrath was inspired in that it can be seen from all corners (of the populous part) of the island, as if it were a kind of beacon to the people, a physical focal point for the isle and also as a lighthouse shining to the sailors in the sound. Although some might argue it could just as easily be called a watchtower surveying the island!

As well as the Church, Fr Allan’s legacy to Eriskay includes the bringing of the telegraph line, which in turn led to telephone and electricity lines. He also led the people in the construction of a road out to Bun a’ Mhuilinn. This was the first road in Eriskay; “An Rathad Ard,” and it is still used today by walkers. With one road, people demanded more, a desire eventually manifesting itself in the causeway, built in 2000.  One could argue Fr Allan, in building the first road, sent us down the road of crossing the sound by causeway. I imagine he would be very pleased to see cars driving across the causeway, thinking of the days he spent by the fire at Taobh a’ Chaolais awaiting a boat to ferry him over to say mass.

Fr Allan was a community leader who loved his community. He loved their Gaidhlig language and his book, Gaelic Words And Expressions From South Uist, demonstrates the meticulous detail with which he recorded the fading Hebridean culture. His notebooks are a treasure trove of observations of the distinctive Eriskay way of life. As a priest he wanted his congregation to understand the message of God and, therefore, years before Vatican II, he decided to translate the mass into Gaidhlig. He composed many hymns which are still heard at mass to this day. 

As a collector of folklore Fr Allan was renowned throughout Scotland. However, being a generous man, when Anna Goodrich Freer visited him he quite happily gave her free-reign with his note-books. Years later she published his work under her own name. Fr Allan’s many friends were angered. Fr Allan was upset that people were arguing and, to the loss of Gaidhlig scholarship, he ceased collating folklore for fear of causing more controversy.

Fr Allan is easily the most celebrated person every to call themselves an Eirisgeach His impact is such that it would be remarkably difficult to find someone living on the island today who wasn’t aware who Fr Allan was, even if they were aware only that he built the Church. In his time, Fr Allan was regarded as a kind of father to the isle, ministering to all the needs of the people, be they spiritual, medical or social. But the nature of his work wore him out before his time. Fr Allan died of Acute Pneumonia in October 1905 when he was only 46 years old. In his short life he did more for the people of Eriskay than anyone ever had or will. Despite more than one hundred years having passed since his death, he lives on in St Michael’s his pride and joy, in the hymns sung and mass said every Sunday, and in the great Celtic Cross (erected by the people) which guards his grave. Finally, every summer the boats are blessed in Acarsaid Mhor, a tradition began by Fr Allan for which he received a special papal dispensation. The priest blesses the fishermen’s boats so they will have a safe year at sea, and Fr Allan, that lover of the “simple fisherfolk of Eriskay”, himself a great fisher of men, would be very proud to see that this unique tradition has continued for more than a century. A fitting legacy for a man who braved howling winds to cross the sound every Sunday to say mass.

Anonymous asked: Can you put up a pronunciation guide with the corresponding numbers for us Scots transplants? Thanks!

I don’t know how to use the proper pronounciation notation, so I’ll just use crude English equivalents. Here are the first ten ordinal numbers. I have to go to work right now, but I’ll do a proper post tonight, and try and explain Gaidhlig pronounciations and stuff.

1. aon = oon (sort of a cross between ew and oo)

2. dha = cross between hard th and d, followed by a long ‘a’ as in ‘ahhhh!’

3. tri = tree (the ‘r’ is harder than in English, you need to roll it)

4. ceithir = kay-ith

5. coig = koh-ick (an ‘o’ as in coal, and the ‘ck’ is halfway between ‘ck’ and ‘g’.

6. sia = shee-ah 

7. seachd = shehchd (the ‘chd’ is like the ‘ch’ in loch followed by a hard ‘g.’

8. ochd = as above, but with ‘o’ as in rock.

9. naoi = nuh-ee 

10. deich = jay-chy (‘ch’ as in loch followed by a ‘y’ as in yacht)

This is a thirteen year old version of me, beside my grandfather’s grave. I want to explain how important he is to me and to my relationship with Gàidhlig.
My name is Dòmhnall Iain Dòmhnallach and I was named for my grandfather, Dòmhnull Dòmhnullach – a poet, schoolteacher, politician, scholar, crofter, fisherman and general islander. Because of this, I was always fascinated by this man, who everyone on the island spoke about in an almost awed voice. He had died five years before I was born, drowned, fallen of a pier. As I grew up, and discovered a love of Gàidhlig and history and poety, can increasingly found myself compared to him. It fell to me to do things like translate his poems, or transcribe his papers, or speak on the radio. So when I was in thirteen, I wrote a big fat biography of him, pages and pages of impenetrable Gàidhlig, and handed it around the family, and that was that. But about two years ago, I did another big fat study of his poems, which nobody has read, and I never finished, but which made me realize he was in fact very significant as a baird-baile and as a religious poet of nature. I felt proud to call him my grandfather. 
But my interests have now completely drifted, and my Gàidhlig lies unused. To do anything Gàidhlig is ultimately futile, unless one talks to one’s mates or one’s kids in it. It’s sad, but I think I’ve made a lucky escape. One of the problems in minority languages is that the people whose work is the language often end up becoming all there is to the language. It would be a hard (yet strangely easy) future to let Gàidhlig become me, to obsess over the past, to dedicate my life to the language. But the language can only become truly living again if we embrace the example of men like my grandfather. He did Gàidhlig-related work – he wrote poems, novels and plays; he translated the Latin mass to Gàidhlig; he collected folklore – but he also had a life: he fished, worked in local politics, taught, ran a croft, went shooting. If you speak a minority language, you might feel a duty to dedicate yourself to preserving it. Don’t! The language belongs to you. You don’t belong to the language!

This is a thirteen year old version of me, beside my grandfather’s grave. I want to explain how important he is to me and to my relationship with Gàidhlig.

My name is Dòmhnall Iain Dòmhnallach and I was named for my grandfather, Dòmhnull Dòmhnullach – a poet, schoolteacher, politician, scholar, crofter, fisherman and general islander. Because of this, I was always fascinated by this man, who everyone on the island spoke about in an almost awed voice. He had died five years before I was born, drowned, fallen of a pier. As I grew up, and discovered a love of Gàidhlig and history and poety, can increasingly found myself compared to him. It fell to me to do things like translate his poems, or transcribe his papers, or speak on the radio. So when I was in thirteen, I wrote a big fat biography of him, pages and pages of impenetrable Gàidhlig, and handed it around the family, and that was that. But about two years ago, I did another big fat study of his poems, which nobody has read, and I never finished, but which made me realize he was in fact very significant as a baird-baile and as a religious poet of nature. I felt proud to call him my grandfather. 

But my interests have now completely drifted, and my Gàidhlig lies unused. To do anything Gàidhlig is ultimately futile, unless one talks to one’s mates or one’s kids in it. It’s sad, but I think I’ve made a lucky escape. One of the problems in minority languages is that the people whose work is the language often end up becoming all there is to the language. It would be a hard (yet strangely easy) future to let Gàidhlig become me, to obsess over the past, to dedicate my life to the language. But the language can only become truly living again if we embrace the example of men like my grandfather. He did Gàidhlig-related work – he wrote poems, novels and plays; he translated the Latin mass to Gàidhlig; he collected folklore – but he also had a life: he fished, worked in local politics, taught, ran a croft, went shooting. If you speak a minority language, you might feel a duty to dedicate yourself to preserving it. Don’t! The language belongs to you. You don’t belong to the language!

This is one of my favourite places in the world – the Old Graveyard, on Eriskay. It lies on an exposed headland jutting right into the Atlantic, and the land around is being continuously eroded away - you can see how the stone wall has protected the burial ground itself resulting in a raised hummock. We may call it the Old Graveyard, but underneath it lie four graveyards older still, and beneath them a Viking homestead. From the beach, where the land has been cut away, you can see a Viking midden, and you can simply walk up the sand face and filch shells from a Norseman’s rubbish tip.

Inside the graveyard is the grave of Father Allan MacDonald, who was called ‘The Lord of the Isles’ by the people of Eriskay – a priest, poet, scholar and humanitarian. As is traditional, his gravestone, a Celtic cross as high as man, faces west, out towards the sea. All the other gravestones face east, obeying another ancient tradition, whereby Gaels die facing the rising sun: the beginning, rather than end of the cycle. It is for this same reason that houses in the Catholic Hebrides are built with main doors facing east (as well as the more practical reason of being sheltered from gales!).

At the westernmost end of the burial ground, buffeted by the elements, lie three unmarked graves, sailors ‘known unto God’ who washed ashore on Eriskay during the War. It is humbling to note that of all the gravestones, only the three sailors and Father Allan are in any good condition. Someone , somewhere, is taking care of a hundred and fifty year old priest!

To this day, Father Allan is venerated in Eriskay as a cross between Jesus and baird-baile. It is said that upon Father Allan’s death, the islanders refused to use spades when digging his grave, and instead used their bare hands, in tribute to the hard work and devotion Father Allan had given to this island at the edge of nowhere. Father Allan built the Church, and the first road and nursed the people thru epidemic after epidemic. He worked so hard, he died an untimely death in his 40s – of exhaustion.

Frederick Rea writes in A School In South Uist how surprised, but moved, he was, after taking a trip to Eriskay with Father Allan, priest in Daliburgh at the time. Father Allan told the schoolmaster ‘I want to die here, among these poor fishermen and crofters. These are my people.’ He got his wish, and was buried here on Eriskay. But he will live on in the history books and in the hearts of the people here, long after anyone else from the island is forgotten about.

Father Allan was a simple generous man. I don’t share his Faith, but I do share his faith in humanity, and in the potential of all men. In his time he was – and still is – renowned as one of the most important scholars of Celtic to have ever lived. Yet he chose to work, not in a dusty university library, not in a glittering mainland cathedral, not in an Edinburgh publishing house, but on a little rock, perched precariously at the edge of the Atlantic.

I like to sit, sheltered from the wind behind the graveyard wall, where no one can see me. There is but one inch of soil covering Eriskay, a bare, barren battered, rock. But sitting there, above all those bones in the rock, I feel the rock in my bones. Eriskay is the Island of Youth, steadfast and strong.

Gaelic dialects 'dying out', Edinburgh academic warns

mypetrockbernard:

All local dialects of Gaelic will die out except two, according to research by a University of Edinburgh academic.  Dr Will Lamb suggests only the Gaelic of Lewis and South Uist will be strong enough to survive in the future.  He said one of the reasons was that these dialects were dominant in Gaelic medium education.  Dr Lamb said another form of the language - influenced by a mix of dialects and which he dubbed mid-Minch Gaelic - was also emerging.

According to his research, in Gaelic medium units throughout Scotland - including the islands - 21% of teachers use a non-dialectal Gaelic.  He found 25% of the teachers spoke the Lewis dialect and 17.5% spoke Gaelic from South Uist.  But only 9% of Scotland’s Gaelic medium teachers spoke Skye Gaelic, 8% North Uist and 7% Barra.

So, eh, aye, not too pleased about this. Very not too pleased. I was raging when I realised that because my secondary school gaelic teacher was Uisteach I was learning Uist gaelic, not Barra gaelic.

Then I went to uni and was surrounded by Leodhasaich lecturers, which was even more frustrating.

End result: I learnt to say gruag instead of falt. Which Domhnall always picks me up on. Thank god I knew about better than to say búrn instead of uisge.

In the Eriskay dialect, “gle mhath” means “quite good” and not “very good” as it does in the rest of Scotland. All through my school career, I’ve been getting needlessly offended at teachers who’ve written “gle mhath” underneath the A they gave me for the essay. It’s funny, I’ve just never been able to shake the gut feeling that ‘gle’ means quite, and not very, in spite of a BBC ALBA-based education!

Terrible shame if we lose all these quirky dialects. Once upon a time nouns changed their gender on the ferry between islands, and verbs gained new tense forms, and whole new words sprang out of the deep. But, ochan-i, no more.

My granaidh uses all these wonderful phrases like ‘seadh a leor’ and ‘luireag bheag’ and ‘mo chreach ‘s a thaining!’

Shame to see them die with her. 

(Source: aruithleisnamadadhallaidh)

This is where I live. The Island of Eriskay in the Western Isles of Scotland. Fr Allan MacDonald wrote (in Gaelic):

"Should I even have my choice
I’d prefer of all in Europe
A dwelling place beside the wave
In the lovely Isle of Youth.
It’s bare of foliage, bare of bent-grass,
Bare of barley sowing,
But beautiful for all its bareness
Is each sod of it to me.”

This is where I live. The Island of Eriskay in the Western Isles of Scotland. Fr Allan MacDonald wrote (in Gaelic):

"Should I even have my choice

I’d prefer of all in Europe

A dwelling place beside the wave

In the lovely Isle of Youth.

It’s bare of foliage, bare of bent-grass,

Bare of barley sowing,

But beautiful for all its bareness

Is each sod of it to me.”