The annual Ceòlas Symposium got off to an excellent start this year with a photo exhibition in Gerinish Hall.
The exhibition threw up a few surprises – who would have thought walking into a small community event that you would see a photo of a local soldier meeting President Bush as well as Prince Charles?!
The large quantities of photos donated and the turnout at the opening is testament to the dedication of the people of Iochdar and the surrounding area to ensuring that the past is not forgotten.
The Gaelic Mass in Ardkenneth was, as usual, very well attended. This was followed by a demonstration at Iochdar School showcasing the equestrian farming equipment which would have been used for crofting in the past. This was led by Willie Cameron.
For the evening quiz, groups of four competed to prove who had the most local knowledge. The event was great fun, despite the evening almost ending in true Iochdar style when a dispute arose over the correct answer to a question!
On Monday, Dr Cathlin MacAuley from the School of Scottish Studies gave a very interesting lecture on Bernard Kissling’s photos which were taken in Iochdar and the surrounding area in the 1950s. Recording from the Iochdar area were also played.
The film of a waulking song was well received with BBC Broadcaster Morag MacDonald saying that it had been filmed in her old bedroom and Florence Morrison saying that she remembered being there as her Mother had been taking part.
Fiona Ballantyne’s talk on the Church of Scotland which had been researched by her mother Morag MacLeod was followed by a Church Service in the ‘Eaglais Bheag’. The service participants were piped to the church by Alana MacInnes.
Ceòlas would like to thank Mr Ian Smith for leading the service and John Angus MacKillop for the powerful psalm singing.
Simon MacQuarrie gave a talk on the Gairm nan Gàidheal (Call of the Gael) Project and asked that anyone with any stories or memorabilia from the First World War contact him. The information will be collated into an exhibition opening next year.
The Cross Country Walk and the Machair Walk were both great successes. Fr Michael MacDonald also gave a very interesting talk on St Michaels, Ardkenneth which included amusing anecdotes about the various priests as well as detailed information on old crofting law and how that affected the parishioners.
The Piping Concert was a great success with many young local pipers taking to the stage. John Angus Smith travelled up from London to give an excellent recital in the second half of the concert.
The concert and CD Launch of ‘Gaoth an Iar’ with Gillebride MacMillan was well attended and an enjoyable night was had by all.
Ceòlas would like to thank all of the performers, lecturers, Mary Wilson for catering for the symposium, George and all of the volunteers behind the scenes as well as everyone who attended the events. See you all next year!