Book launch for Kinloch Historical Society

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A SPECIAL evening to mark the launch of Kinloch Historical Society’s new book was held at Balallan School recently.

Sgire a Bhradain is a collection of Barachd and poetry and was described by Chair of the Society, Annie MacDonald, as ‘a snapshot of the post one hundred years of the oral tradition which incorporates the rich lives of the people who lived, loved and worked the land, many sharing their emotions which are as relevant today as they were when some of these compositions were written.’

The book is dedicated to the memory of John Murdo Macdonald, for his unceasing commitment, strength, devotion stewardship, time and effort to the Kinoch Historical Society.

Annie said: “John Murdo was influential in getting this project started and his untimely death robbed him of the opportunity to see the book in its final printed version.

John Murdo was a founder member and Chairman of the Kinloch Historical Society from 1996 to 2006. John Murdo was a well loved gentleman in Laxay, a family man, a very successful businessman, a member of many organisations and was a highly respected member of the community.”

She added: “John Murdo was married to the late Catherine (Katag) Mackay from Achmore, who was the love of his life. They had four children: Margaret, Murdo, Hector Iain and Iain Alex, all of whom have their own families and it is good to see the Macdonald families in attendance to support this event, which John Murdo would have been proud to see.

“John Murdo was instrumental in and a driving force behind many of Kinloch Historical Society projects including the new building for the Society. His final project was this Bardachd book which he also contributed to, and this is a fine testimony to his hard work. He was a historian and a dedicated Gaidhlig speaker who relished and loved his mother tongue and his wish was to maintain the Gaidhlig language and culture music and heritage. He was a very successful bard with many of his lines produced on tapes and CD’s, a popular example being Suas an Fheamain. He always attended our meetings to ensure that we maintained and continued to progress our societies aims and objectives.

The Society will always be grateful for his unstinting dedication.”

Details about the authors and contributions are deliberately in English in the book as it the Society hopes the book will be a source of reference for non-Gaelic speakers.

Most of the original compositions have never been published before and were written by someone with a connection to places or events in Kinloch.

The Kinloch Historical Society are grateful to Maggie Smith for collating this work and are grateful to the assistance given by Annie Macsween and Shona Nicolson, Shoreprint, for their assistance. The Historical Society is also grateful to Hebrides Haulage for their support. The Society is also thankful for the contributions given so willingly by many including the photographs by Sandra Mackay, Norman Mackenzie, Donnie Macleod and many members of the local community who so willingly shared their family photographs to be included in this book. I would like a special mention to the Comunn Eachdraidh committee who also worked tirelessly to ensure this book was published, and also to the local community, without your help this book would not have come to fruition. Thank you.

The Society also acknowledge the financial assistance received from Sgioba na Gaidhlig at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

At the celebration William Angus Matheson read “Blàr Monte Cassino”, following on John A Maciver sang “Lacasaigh”, “Amhran an Dinghy” and “Ag ionndrainn mo Sheanar”. Donalasdair Smith then read “Lilidh” a poem written by his uncle Angus Smith. Margaret Smith, daughter of John Murdo Macdonald, read two of John Murdo’s compositions, “Speedwell” said to be his first composition and “Amhran an Teip Reacòrdair” which is included in “Sgire a’ Bhradain”.

Annie Macdonald then thanked all the contributors and requested that Alasdair Macdonald say grace prior to enjoying tea, coffee and beautiful home baking.

“Sgire a’ Bhradain” is on sale for £15.00 from: Lochs Services, Cameron Terrace; An Comunn Gaidhleachd, Stornoway; Baltic Bookshop, Stornoway; Erisort Book Shop, Stornoway; An Lanntair, Stornoway, Macaskills Home Store; Home Improvement Centre, Stornoway and The Crofters and Balallan Shop, Hebrides Haulage, Stornoway and Glasgow.

If anyone wishes to purchase a book they may get in touch with Joan Macinnes Secretary of Kinloch Historical Society, on 830 368 or Annie Macdonald Chair Kinloch Historical Society on 07717 816 453.