Historic Interviews Stories and Songs from Islay

Sue Visser, known to many from the Genealogy List, sent me a link to a fabulous website packed with stories, songs, music, poetry and factual information, both in English, Scots and Gaelic. The site is called Tobar an Dualchais and it contains over 26,000 oral recordings made in Scotland and further afield, from the 1930s onwards. I've visited the site a couple of times and it's incredible what you can find there. Sue gave me a tip to go to the main page, click "Advance Search" and put "Islay" in the search box and use English and Scots. I have linked to only a few of the very interesting items and it gives you an idea what is available on that site. Perfect for a rainy Sunday afternoon!

Song: Lights of Lochindaal
The song praises all of the islands round Scotland's coast but prizes Loch Indaal above everywhere else. Belle Stewart, a teacher, was born in Islay and her family were blacksmiths at Pennycraig near Bowmore.

Interview: Dance classes in Islay
The contributor tells how her mother and aunt attended dancing classes in the school in Ballygrant. Dancing masters called Diamond and Burns came to the schoolhouse during the winter. The dances they taught included Petronella, Haymaker's Jig, Ninepins and the Jig o' Tar. They also taught good manners. Dancers had to keep time, and were not allowed in without a partner. Continue reading...

Song: O Islay, Dear Islay, Bright Gem of the Ocean
This song praises the beauty of Islay. The bard often thinks of the island and of his early days there. He wants to be buried there.

Story: Eachdraidh ÃŒle
History of the Battle of Gruinart Sands, incorporating the MacDonalds, the MacLeans, the Dubh Sìth (who killed MacLean), and others. Mention of the Campbells, St Columba, Major Wise, John Francis Campbell, and Neil MacAlpine, compiler of a Gaelic dictionary.

Factual information: Place names in Islay
The contributor discusses place names in Islay, including the various theories surrounding the origins of the island's name. She relates a story her mother's uncle told her connected with Balinaby.

Tag: history song music poetry stories