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Behind the scenes at the Scottish Poetry Library

The Thursday Post: Our Gaelic Weekend

Kathleen MacInnes
Kathleen MacInnes

Fàilte! The Scottish Poetry Library is delighted to announce a weekend of Gaelic events on 13 and 14 May to tie in with the Edinburgh Local Mòd, which is taking place at Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pàirce (Parkside Primary School) next to Pilrig Park. At the Mòd, we’ll be offering Gaelic poetry workshops for children led by Aonghas MacNeacail. Aonghas will be helping kids to compose their own ‘brosnachadh’ (an incitement to battle) which will be recited before a ‘box wars’, which is the grand finale to Saturday’s events in Pilrig Park. It’ll be quite something to see, kids in in cardboard armour declaiming bloodcurdling oaths in Gaelic.

After the excitement of Saturday, Sunday 14 promises to be more relaxed. Anyone who attended the Mòd on the Saturday, adult or child, will find something to enjoy on the Sunday. We’re honoured that the multi-talented Sophie Stephenson from Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic college on Skye, will be on hand at 11.30am to run a Gaelic language taster session, which is suitable for all ages. We’re pleased to say this event is FREE, although tickets should be reserved online here.

Next up, it’s a trip to the movies. We’ll be screening Simon Miller’s 2007 film Seachd – The Inaccessible Pinnacle in the Screening Room of the University of Edinburgh, 50 George Square, at 2pm. The film is about a young man visiting a dying grandfather in search of the truth about the death of his parents. The film weaves together Gaelic folklore and a very personal story that climaxes on the Isle of Skye’s ‘Inaccessible Peak’, the only Munro whose peak has to be reached by rock-climbing. The film stars the poet Aonghas Pàdraig Caimbeul (whose poem ‘Aig Cladh Hallain/At Hallan Cemetery’ was recently featured in our online anthology Best Scottish Poems 2016). Seachd will be accompanied by a short film, Aisling Sheòrais MhicDhòmhnaill / George MacDonald's Dream, made by the poet MacGillivray.

Tickets for Seachd – The Inaccessible Pinnacle can be ordered online here.

We’ll round off Sunday with a performance at 7pm in the SPL by Kathleen MacInnes (who both acts in and sings on the soundtrack of Seachd). MacInnes has a captivating voice with which she performs an extraordinary repertoire of traditional Gaelic songs. Accompanying Kathleen will be Irish harpist Laoise Kelly who has three critically acclaimed solo albums and Uillean piper Tiarnán Ó Duinnchinn who has been regularly touring and performing across the world since 1995.

The Guardian said of MacInnes, ‘Anyone with the misconception that Gaelic song is all twee and interminably mournful should spend a minute or several listening to Kathleen MacInnes. The South Uist singer has a voice like peat smoke and good whisky, as robust, sassy and soulful as it is supple and expressive.’

Tickets for Kathleen MacInnes’s concert can be ordered online here.

Category: events