Tag Archives: @Gaelic language

…PART FOUR of ‘the magic of a return visit to Mull in the Scottish Hebrides’…

…they say ‘nostalgia ain’t what it used to be’… my Docklands Govan-spun response to that is ‘borrox!’… these past few days’ blog posts of meandering back through the mists (and sum’time fog) of fifty years ago has been a wunnerful throwback, captured in a glorious week spent in Tobermory on the idyllic Isle of Mull in the Scottish Hebrides... yeez doubt it’s beauty?… just look at this photo taken from the bedroom window of my hotel, The Western Isles Hotel…

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…the island (thankfully) has thus far avoided the invasion of the mega-star hotel chains, relying instead on the WURLD-famous Scottish hospitality in its smaller hotel offerings and numerous Bed and Breakfast outlets… have a typical Scottish breakfast then try claiming yeez are hungry within ten hours afterward…  won’t happen… the hotel I referred to above, the Western Isles Hotel, is a majestically imposing building sitting above the town… as a young, apprentice, trainee future Master of the Financial Universe back then, like my peers, I spent the non-banking hours doing part-time work around the various hotels and bars in Tobermory… at times my skill set was added to as a cocktail barman, and silver-service waiter in the very dining room where others ployed me with the daily breakfasts of champions during my stay this time … here’s the hotel from the outside…

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…downtown Tobermory, next to the pier, another establishment sits where one day they may put up the ‘heritage plaque’ that ‘Master Gallacher did part time WURK here too’, the Mishnish Hotel

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…an oasis and honeypot attraction for sailing people for years and years… under new management from the family of dance band leader Bobby MacLeod (with whose band Master Gallacher sang from time to time), new ownership has revamped the hotel, but wisely retaining the essence of the Mishnish as was, as is… and coincidentally, the new owners are also Macleods (no relation)… here they are, Meg and Les with yours truly at the fireplace (how many places do yeez know that still have one of those!)…

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…ach, indeed, Mabel, nostalgia’s here to stay… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…PART THREE of ‘the magic of a return visit to Mull in the Scottish Hebrides’…

…yesterday, the blog post series on the magic of my recent week on the Isle of Mull centred on the children’s competitions and ceilidh concerts at the Gaelic Mod Festival in Tobermory… today, the ‘all-growed-ups’ step forward… although the Hebrides have to be reached by ferry from far-flung parts, that doesn’t prevent competitors travelling from all over Scotland to participate in local events such as the one in Mull… as with the initial day’s singing and language competition for the kids, the second day culminated in a ceilidh (concert) where the winners contribute by airing their prize pieces to a knowledgeable and highly appreciative audience… now, I mentioned yesterday, as a revisiting ‘adopted son of Mull’ I was honoured by being asked to deliver all the prizes… one lovely lady, Caitlin Smith from Inverness, with a voice and tone as clear as crystal, and who sang beautifully during the competition, well enough to win her trophy, is pictured here…

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…she approached me later, after the ceilidh, to tell me that sum’thing clicked in her head when she heard my name… and she remembered where she had seen it before… she had won another prize some time ago, and among the list of names as previous winners was ‘Seumas Gallacher 1969’… 1969! fully 47 years ago, long before the young lady was born… she said she was ‘thrilled to meet me’... you have no idea what a moment that was for me!… during the ceilidh, the good people allowed me to sing a song called ‘Mo Mhathair (My Mother), it’s an extremely special song to me as it was one of the songs I sang in the same hall, 52 years before, when I won my first ever prize as a learner in Gaelic… stuff yer ears now, coz, here it is…

…I’m still getting goosebumps playing that song back over and over… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…PART TWO of ‘the magic of a return visit to Mull in the Scottish Hebrides’…

…from the mouths of babes, those sum’time charming ‘angels with dirty faces‘, can come the sweetest music… on this ol’ Jurassic’s recent journey back to the Isle of Mull in the Scottish Hebrides, I was privileged to be asked to present the prizes at the local Mod in Tobermorythe Mod is the competitive annual Gaelic festival of music, poetry, and bagpiping, held in provincial centres around Scotland, culminating in the National Mod at a different location each year… (for people in the UK to understand a bit more, it’s the Scottish equivalent of the Welsh Eisteddfod)... as a young man in my mid to late teens, I spent six years on the island working in a bank there, and as a Gaelic language learner, winning singing prizes in various places each year… many years ago, I donated a trophy in my name, dedicated for learners, the Gallacher Prize, (original eh, Mabel?) and for the first time ever, after decades, I was allowed to present that at the Tobermory Mod... a real ‘bucket list’ item… what a buzz!…the children ranged from pre-schoolers to 12 year -olds… what a joy to hear the wee-est of the them deliver ‘Baa-baa-black sheep’ in Gaelic… the clip here shows them on stage, totally uninhibited… in typical nursery-school abandon, one kid waving to his Mammy, one looking at the stage curtains, another with her finger in her nose… some of them actually singing together, others filling in bits and sounds when they felt like it… pure magic!…

 

…in the first evening of the two days of the Festival, the children’s ceilidh (concert) featured many of the winners from the day’s events… one of my (many) favorites is the song here by three delightful developing soprano voices… the video doesn’t do it proper justice, but yeez’ll get a sense of it anyway…

…then came the pleasure of distributing the prizes to the day’s winners (I did so also for the adults the next day, but that’s for another blog post )… in my eyes and to my ears, they are ALL champions… indeed,  one choir came up to receive their prize from me en masse… what a laugh… here’s the ‘smash and grab’ presentation as they all wanted to be holding it…

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…European Champions League winners  have NUTHIN on these kids!… there’s so much energy being devoted at grass roots levels around Scotland to ensure the Gaelic language and heritage remains alive and well… these children and those who teach them, are testament to the ongoing success of that effort… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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