Rev Murdo Smith poetry launch

The book launch takes place this Saturday at Leurbost Community Centre, 2pm
The book launch takes place this Saturday at Leurbost Community Centre, 2pm

A new collection from an old bard is the latest publication from Gaelic publisher Clo-Fuigheagan.

Published in association with Comann Eachdraidh Ceann a Tuath nan Loch, ‘Bannaimh Nach Gann – The Gaelic Poetry of Rev Murdo Smith 1878-1936’ will be launched at Leurbost Community Centre on Saturday, June 7th, at 2pm; all are invited.

The Rev Murdo Smith is recognised now, through settings of his poems as songs, as one of the most popular and important Gaelic Bards. The words of the bard are often heard today in the popular love song Te Bhan, Te Bhan, Te Bhuidhe Bhan, An Seann Dachaigh and Fogradh ar Gaidheal.

However, until now there has been no collection of his poetry available.

‘Bannaimh Nach Gann’ therefore is the Gaelic secular writing of the Reverend, from 31 Leurbost, and includes nature poetry, humorous compositions and elegies, each offering an extensive social history of the time.

The collection was written when travel was by boat, families were evicted to make way for grazing for sheep and emigration to Canada was encouraged.

As well as the Gaelic poetry of Rev Murdo Smith, the book also presents introductory articles in English and Gaelic as well as a Foreword written by Murdo Macleod (Murdie Siarach) who ranks Rev Murdo Smith ‘amongst the very best in Gaeldom’.

Murdie expands in his Foreword: “The village of Leurbost in the Isle of Lewis produced two of Gaeldom’s top bards – Murdo Macleod (Murchadh a’ Cheistear No 40) and Rev Murdo Smith (Murchadh Dhomhnaill Mhurchaidh No 31).

“Some of their songs both secular and spiritual are still among the most popular in what remains of their real (as opposed to the modern synthetic) world of Gaelic.

“While the collected works of Murchadh a’ Cheistear have been long published, the absence of a complete volume of the Bardic output of Rev Murdo Smith has been a serious omission – his works are prodigious and prolific,” he goes on.

“As a bard, Rev Murdo Smith ranks among the very best in Gaeldom and doubtlessly feeds the Gaelic matured taste. Equally important is the fact that his work give us a voluble window through which we can get glimpses of the era in which he lived.”

‘Bannaimh Nach Gann’ is the second publication from Clo-Fuigheagan which was established in 2011 with funding from Bord Na Gaidhlig and aims to make high-quality, highly accessible Gaelic books available to Gaelic readers of all levels.

The publisher has an emphasis on Gaelic poetry, but also welcome enquiries from musicians and songwriters wishing to use the poetry published in composing new Gaelic songs.

For more information, please visit on-line at and for all enquiries please contact Peter Urpeth at