EnglishAfter studying and then teaching at the University of Glasgow Niall O’Gallagher went to work as a journalist. Niall O’Gallagher’s first book of poems, Beatha Ùr (Clàr), was published in 2013. It featured love poems in European forms, often set in Glasgow. Reviewing the collection in the Herald, Aonghas MacNeacail wrote, ‘Gaelic poetry welcomes an exciting new (this time essentially urban) voice’. Completed with the help of a New Writers Award from the Scottish Book Trust / Gaelic Books Council, Beatha Ùr continued Gaelic poetry’s long-running engagement with Scotland’s largest city. The book also suggested an interest in strict forms drawn from both the Gaelic and wider European tradition.
His second collection, Suain nan Trì Latha (2016), made this explicit in a series of poems, many addressed to the poet’s infant son, echoing classical Gaelic love lyrics. Anna Frater described the attempt to write dàin dìreach, with their strict syllable counts and intricate rhyming, on modern themes as ‘nuadh-bhàrdachd san t-seann nòs’ (‘new poetry in the old style’) while bilingual poet Deborah Moffatt recommended his work to the readers of the Poets’ Republic, telling Marcas Mac an Tuairneir ‘[he] writes about modern life in a classical style; an extraordinary feat’. Welsh poet Llŷr Gwyn Lewis, himself a writer of modern cynghanedd, described Niall O’Gallagher as a ‘brilliant…contemporary practitioner’ of classical Celtic verse.
Although he has translated the Gaelic poetry of Christopher Whyte into English and Scots, and the Irish poetry of Biddy Jenkinson into Scottish Gaelic, Niall O’Gallagher has declined to translate his own poetry, preferring to rely on others, like Deborah Moffatt and Peter Mackay, to produce English versions of his poems. His work has been translated to Irish by Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhríde and the poem ‘Beatha Ùr’ set to music by Doimnic Mac Giolla Bhríde. In a polemical essay in the Gaelic journal STEALL entitled ‘Sealg Dealain-dè’ (‘Butterfly Hunting’), he wrote, ‘For me, self-translation would amount to self-censorship…Gaelic became a language not subject to any authority, in which it was possible to say anything.’
In July 2019 Niall O’Gallagher was named Bàrd Baile Ghlaschu, the city of Glasgow’s first Gaelic laureate.
The following year saw the publication of his third collection, Fo Bhlàth (2020). Fuaimean Gràidh: Dàin Taghta / The Sounds of Love: Selected Poems, with English translations by Peter Mackay, Deborah Moffatt and others, was published in 2023. In the same year he was awarded the Bardic Crown at the National Mod.
Updated July 2023
Bho 1999 gu 2007, bha Niall Ó Gallchóir na oileanach agus an uair sin na neach-teagaisg aig Oilthigh Ghlaschu. Bhon uair sin tha e air bith-beò a chosnadh mar neach-naidheachd. An 2009, choisinn e Duais nan Sgrìobhadairean Ùra bho Chomhairle nan Leabhraichean / Urras Leabhraichean na h-Alba, agus an 2011 bha e na phàirt de Cuairt nam Bàrd, cuairt nam bàrd Gàidhealaich a dh’Èirinn. Tha e a’ fuireach an Glaschu.
An 2013, dh’fhoillsich Clàr a’ chiad chruinneachadh aige, Beatha Ùr, anns an robh dàin ghaoil ann an cruthan Eòrpach, tric stèidhichte an Glaschu. Thuirt Aonghas MacNeacail mu dheidhinn anns an Herald: ‘Gaelic poetry welcomes an exciting, new – this time essentially urban – voice’. An 2016, nochd Suain nan Trì Latha, anns a bheil cruth Gàidhlig chlasaigeach nan dàn dìreach air a chleachdadh, le riaghailtean teann mu lidean agus chòmhardadh, ann an sreath-dhàn faid leabhair stèidhichte air aon latha, agus tric mar theachdaireachd athair dha mhac òg.