Comann Eachdraichd Uig

A h-Uile Latha Chì’s Nach Fhaic

Memories of the shieling and the village he left behind – written by Donald Maclennan, Dòmhnall Mhurchaidh Dhòmhnaill a Sguthair, 24 Valtos, who emigrated to America.

A h-uile latha chì ‘s nach fhaic
‘S a h-uile latha chì sinn
Deoch-slàinte mo chaileag nì mi òl
A h-uile latha chì sinn

Ag cuallach bhò air cùl nam beann
Gu cridheil, bàidheil, sunndach
Bha Sìne, ‘s Seonag ‘s Oighrig ann
‘S mo Mhàiri laghach bhòidheach.

Bu shona bha mi là ‘s dh’oidhche
Nam shìneadh ri gach nìghneag
Le Anna bheag ‘s Màiri Bàb
An airidh bheag na Trianaid.

An nochd bu mhiann leam a bhith ann
Air gleann Scanadail a’ còmhnaidh
Ag èisteachd òrain ‘s puirt air beul
Cairistiona, nighean Iain Dhòmhnaill.

Donald Maciver and An Ataireachd Àrd

Donald MaciverDonald Maciver was born in Crowlista in 1857, son of John Maciver, the Gaelic schoolmaster and missionary, and they lived in Ness and then South Lochs.  Donald also became a teacher, at Lemreway (see the school log), Breasclete and latterly Bayble.

The family had come from Carnish, just across the sands, which had been cleared in the early 1850s.  Donald would spend a lot of time in Crowlista with his maiden aunts, Mary, Ann and Effie, who were very enterprising.  Effie used to take a passage to Glasgow, with tweeds and eggs to trade for goods which she sold on her return to Uig.

Donald composed An Ataireach Àrd when he was visiting in Uig accompanied by his uncle Dòmhnall Bàn Crosd, who had had left Carnish in 1851 for Canada.  While they were walking around Carnish, long cleared of all inhabitants, the uncle remarked, “Chan eil nìth an seo man a bha e, ach ataireachd na mara.”

On being asked later about his inspiration, Donald said, “An Ataireachd Bhuan, or the everlasting blustering of the sea on the sands of Uig.  Hero, Donald Ban, an uncle on a visit from Canada.  Scene, Carnish Bay, which he left in 1851.  This finest pugilist in the Island of Lewis in his day shed tears this Sunday afternoon in Carnish.”  The song won first prize in the 1908 Mod.

An ataireachd bhuan,
Cluinn fuaim na h-ataireachd àrd,
Tha torann a’ chuain
Mar chualas leam-s’ e nam phàist,
Gun mhùthadh gun truas
A’ sluaisreadh gainneimh na tràghad
An ataireachd bhuan,
Cluinn fuaim na h-ataireachd àrd.

Gach làd le a stuadh,
Cho luaisgeach, faramach, bàn
Na chabhaig gu cruaidh
‘S e gruamach, dosrach, gun sgàth,
Ach strìochdaidh a luaths
Aig bruaich na h-uidhe bh’ aig càch,
Mar chaochail an sluagh
Bha uair sa bhaile-sa tàmh.

An Saighdear Chaluim Bhain

Donald Matheson, an Saighdear Chaluim Bhain, was a son of Malcolm Matheson (Calum Bàn) of Valtos and Crowlista.  (Calum Bàn has some interesting ancestors who can be found by following the lines back via Hebridean Connections.)  Donald was born in the 1740s and joined the army, serving at the siege of Louisbourg in 1758, and later with the 78th Seaforth Highlanders in India and Ireland. He returned to Uig where he married Chirsty Macdonald and had a large family.

One of their children, also Donald, joined the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1815 and was offered land in Manitoba, but came back to Lewis in 1821.  He married Helen Maciver of Carnish and lived in Timsgarry until they emigrated to Nova Scotia; three of their children were born in Lewis and nine more in Canada.  After Donald Sr. died in 1831, his widow Chirsty joined the rest of the family across the sea.

The following song, An Saighdear Chaluim Bhain, is said to have been written for Donald Sr during his time as a soldier in Ireland, though whether by Chirsty is unknown.

Hi horaibhe hoirinn hoirinn
Hi horaibhe hoirinn ail
Hi horaibhe, och is eileadh
Leamsa b’eibhinn d’fhaicinn slan.

Chuir iad thu air tìr an Eirinn
‘S aotram bha do cheum air sràid
Chuir iad umad dèise an t-saighdear
Bu fhèin an diaman a-measg chàich.

Seòldairean na Bàgh

Taigh Eachainn, 10 Geshader

Verses about the boys from the Bays, by Donald Macleod (Dòmhnall Eachainn) of 10 Geshader, who was born in 1874 and spent his working life in Glasgow.  This hasn’t seen the light of day for some time; thanks to the family for providing it.

Bho Ghiosladh gu Gràsabhaig
‘S h-uile h-ait ‘s na cuiltean sin
‘S na seòldairean a’dol gu sàl
An uair theid each don cùlaisdean.

An teid thu leum do Bhearnaraidh
Gheibh sinn bùntata ‘s crùbag ann
An teid thu leum do Bhearnaraidh
‘S mo lamh gu dean sinn sùgradh ann.

Donnachadh Gioslaidh ‘s Iain Màsach
Am Brace is da shuil ùr aige
‘S Seonnaidh Gorabhaig sa mhàthair
Dol air sgàth na h-ùmhlach leotha

Òran Màiri Dhall (Och nan och, tha mi fo mhulad)

Màiri, born 1841, was a daughter of Murdo Maciver and Mary nee Morrison, of Pabbay, 11 Kneep and later 25 Valtos.  She emigrated to the United States and while there suffered greatly with homesickness and composed the song Och nan och, tha mi fo mhulad.  According to tradition she lost her sight with the associated weeping but it is more likely that her blindness was caused by some substance used in her daily work in a laundry.   Màiri did eventually return home to Uig.  Her grandfather Norman Morrison was also blind, a consequence of his service in Egypt with the Ross-shire Buffs (78th).

Does anyone know more verses than these nine?

Nuair a rinn mi airson fàgail
Fhuair mi beannachd mo chàirdean
Ghabh mi ’n t-aiseag air a’ bhàt’
Gu ruig’ sàil nam beann mòr.

Och nan och, tha mi fo mhulad
Dhomhsa tha mo chòmhradh duilich
’S cruaidh an càs ach ’s fheudar fhulang
’S mi fuireach ann an coille mhòir.

Nuair a thàinig mi air fòrladh
A dh’Amearagaidh a chòmhnaidh
Chunnaic mi a’ sin luchd eòlais
Anns gach dòigh sa robh iad ann

Bean Aonghais Bhig, or How Angus Beag Got his Wife

Brenish

 

As told by Rev Donald Macaulay.  English text follows the Gaelic.  Photo of Brenish by Chris Murray.

 

Bha an cogadh a dol bliadhnaichean agus am màrbhadh eadar Clann ‘ic Leòid, Clann Choinnich agus na Moireasdanaich agus an deidh dha Clann Choinnich an t-eilean fhaiginn mu dheireadh dhaibh b’fhèin agus thàinig siothladh de shìth anns an eilean an uairsin.  Ach cha tugadh fìr Ùig gèill do chlann Choinnich idir gu h-àraidh am fear a bh’air an ceann – Dòmhnall Cam.  Cha b’e Sìthphort a bh’ann ach MacCoinnich eile – bha Sìthphort airson sìth anns an eilean.  Bha Oighreachd mhòr aige air a’mfor-thìr agus ‘s e a’siamarlan a bh’airge air a mhor-thìr duine uasal eile ris an canadh iad Alasdair MacCoinnich, Achilty de theaghlach uasal.  ‘S e daoine de’n seòrsa sin gle thric a bha nan siamarlan, gu h’araidh anns na h-oighreachdan mòra.  Bha Sìthphort agus clan Amhlaigh air a bhith cogadh cho fada agus mu dheireadh thainig e gun cho-dhùnadh nach dèanadh iad rèit a chaoidh.  Thug e a nall Alasdair MacCoinnich gus an tigeadh e gu Dòmhnall Cam airon Cùmhnant sìth a dhèanamh ris.

 

‘S e an cumhnant a bha e a’dol a dhèanamh ri Dòmhnall Cam gum faigheadh a h-uile duine a bh’ann an Ùig an talamh mar a bha iad roimhe sea bho Mhacleòid agus nach cuireadh duine dragh orra a chaoidh fhad’s a dheanamh iad síth ri Clann Choinnich.  A thilleadh air a sin, gu’n toireadh Achilty a nighean aige do mhac Dòmhnaill Chaim airson a pòsadh.  ‘S i seo Anna.

 

Lochcroistean

Norman Macleod, Am Bàrd Bochd, taught at Lochcroistean school from 1936 to 1943, and was a noted bard who composed the following about Lochcroistean and some of the people he knew there.  The last four verses constitute his song about the people of Geshader.

Lochcroistean School was in use until the new Uig school opened at Timsgarry in 1972.  The building housed the Comann Eachdraidh museum for many years and is now a cafe and visitors’ centre.

Lochcroistean from Ollashal

Air sgiathan m’ inntinn siùbhlaibh mi

Do ghleann tha àillidh ciùin,

Is tillidh trian de m’ òige rium

Is triallaidh trian de m’aois

An dìomhair smuain thèid mi air chuairt

Le aoibhneas cuimhne blàth

Do ghleann a dh’fhàg a dhealbh nam chrìdh’

Lochroistean anns na Bàigh.

Tha ìocshlaintean s an t-sàmhchair ann

Is slàinte ruit a ghlinn;

Tha tàladh sìor is bàrdachd

Ann am piurbraich bhreac na uillt;

‘S nuair thilleas mais’ is dìomhaireachd

a shamhraidh cheòlmhor eun

Bidh coilich fraoich ri dùrdail

Is ri tùchan air gach sliabh.