Our annual Bardic Supper was held in the Westburn Church halls, Nelson Street, Greenock on February 18th.
We were delighted to welcome back Frances Dunlop, who has entertained us in the past with her lively descriptions of the lives of Màiri Mhòr nan Òran and Donnachadh Bàn Mac an t-Saoir.
On this occasion, Frances gave an illustrated talk on Màiri nighean Alasdair Ruaidh. Màiri was born at Rodel in Harris, a daughter of “Red” Alasdair Macleod, and through him connected with the chiefs of the Macleods. Most of her life was spent at Dunvegan on Skye, home of the clan chief, but at one point she was exiled to Mull by her chief, some say for being too profuse in her praise of one of his relatives (in “Luinneag MhicLeòid”) !
She was later recalled to Dunvegan and died there in 1674.
Màiri was one of the new school of poetry that emerged in the 17th century, replacing the classical Gaelic bards, and her bàrdachd was full of imagery. Amongst her better-known works are
“Marbhrann do Iain Garbh” and “Mairead nan Cuiread”.
Bha Suipear Bàrdail againn ann an Talla Eaglais Westburn, Sràid Nelson, Grianaig air 18mh Gearran. Bha sinn ro thoilichte fàilte a chuir air ais air Frances Dunlop, a bh’ air innse dhuinn cho siubhlach roimhe mu bheathannan Màiri Mhòr nan Òran agus Donnchadh Bàn Mac an t-Saoir.
An turas sa, thug Frances seachad òraid le taisbeanadh air Màiri nighnean Alasdair Ruaidh. Buinidh Màiri do Ròghadal sna Hearadh, nighean Alasdair Ruaidh MacLeòid agus troimhe bha i ceangailte ri cinn-chinnidh na Leòdaich. Chuir i seachad a’ mhòr chuid de a beatha an Dùn Bheagain san Eilean Sgitheanach, fear an robh an ceann-cinnidh a fuireach, ach chaidh a fògradh air sgàth, ann am beachd cuid, bha i a’ molach fear de a chàirdean cus anns an dàn Luinneag MhìcLeòid.
Nas fhaide air adhart chaidh iarraidh oirre tilleadh a Dhùn Bheagain far an do bhàsaich i ann an 1674.
Bha Màiri am measg dòigh bhàrdachd ùr a nochd san 17mh linn, a chaidh an àite na bàird Gàidhlig clasaigeach agus bha a bàrdachd làn ìomhaigheachd. Tha “Marbhrann do Iain Garbh” agus “Mairead nan Cuiread”.