Souvenir of Great Yarmouth

Souvenir of Great Yarmouth

In 2012 playwright Eric J MacDonald of Uig, Isle of Lewis, wrote the monologue, A Souvenir of Great Yarmouth. The theme is the life of the young Isle of Lewis women, who used to gut, salt and pack herring barrels in Stornoway, Wick, Shetland, Great Yarmouth, Fraserburgh, Lowestoft and other fishing ports. The character Mary, looks back on aspects of her working life, memories of community then and observations on her life today.

As part of volunteer group Cabraich Community Arts, I performed Souvenir of Great Yarmouth in English, also Os Mo Chionn Sheinn an Uiseag the Gaelic version in rotation, for a period of eighteen months. Visiting community groups in the Isle of Lewis, Skye, Glasgow also Maritime Festivals at Kinlochbervie and Great Yarmouth.

Audience members at all the performances, having family links to the fishing, connected with the herring girl theme. Surprisingly they brought family artefacts relating to the fishing:  plates, clocks, skirts, bits of herring net and their family stories. I so wish I had had a researcher accompanying me to record all those stories.

The attached is A Souvenir of Great Yarmouth a radio version, produced for Isles Fm by Tony Henk. Thanks to other contributors: Margaret MacLeman Back for songs, Ann MacDonald Back for readings and Dol MacDonald Laxdale for the melodeon tunes.

The research for the play: interviewing women in their 90s, who had been at the fishing in the 1930s, was carried out by Eric J MacDonald, Joni Buchannan and Magaidh Smith.

Thanks to the playwright Eric J MacDonald, who brought cultural memories of fishing communities to the fore. This further sharing on line will help keep the women’s working lives on record and accessible as an audio file. My apologies, the Gaelic version Os Mo Chionn Sheinn an Uiseag, has had a glitch and is to follow.

The character Mary, looks back on aspects of her working life, memories of community then, also observations on her life today. (35 m)

 

 

 

Sabaist Mhor Wick

Sabaist Mhor Wick

I just love beul aithris stories, from Isle of Lewis Gaelic oral tradition. It is rare to have the opportunity to perform them for an audience nowadays.

Therfore, I have recorded five stories, because of the richness of the language which was handed down to me in the telling. All five stories are now uploaded to Soundcloud. Most importantly, they will be available to anyone wishing to learn local stories.

The five stories narrated by me Magaidh Smith. An Sean Fhiadh (Lochs Harris)and Sabaist Mhor Wick (Lochs District). Fir Mhealista (Uig) , S Daor a Cheannaich mi Fiadhachd (Uig/ Harris and Ishbal Nighean Dhomhnaill Ban (Uig).

This one is Sabaist Mhor Wick. The legendary week of fighting during the herring fishing season. This is thought to have been one hundred and fifty years ago. The military were called in to quell the unrest, resulting in arrests and imprisonment. There were Lochs men among those involved and this five minute story tells of their escapades. Each district of Lewis is likely to have similar stories.

 

Ishbal Nighean Dhomhnaill Ban

Ishbal Nighean Dhomhnaill Ban

I just love beul aithris stories, from Isle of Lewis Gaelic oral tradition. It is rare to have the opportunity to perform them for an audience nowadays. Therfore, I have recorded five stories because of the richness of the language which was handed down to me in the telling. All five are uploaded to Soundcloud now. Most importantly they will be available to anyone wishing to learn local stories.

The five stories narrated by me Magaidh Smith. An Sean Fhiadh (Lochs Harris)and Sabaist Mhor Wick (Lochs District). Fir Mhealista (Uig) , S Daor a Cheannaich mi Fiadhachd (Uig/ Harris and Ishbal Nighean Dhomhnaill Ban (Uig).

This five minute recording is about Ishbal Nighean Dhomhnaill Ban an Struim Uig, It tells of her love for Calum MacAulay a Harrisman. I got the story originally from DHM a relative of Ishbal, with additions later from his brother Fionnlagh.

 

 

Tour guide Hebrides 2019

Tour guide Hebrides 2019

Magaidh Smith is a native Gaelic speaking tour guide in the Hebrides. Welcoming individuals and groups to the Isle of Lewis in 2019. I don’t get to dance at the Gearrannan Thatched House Village every day, much as I would love to.

http://www.gearrannan.com/

As a tour guide in the Hebrides I feel the natural environment offers many unique experiences to visitors. Besides the landscape is also related to our indigenous culture and traditions.

Here in the Hebrides you will see a constantly changing and exquisite quality of light. Spend hours photographing the glorious unspoiled beaches. Watch the golden eagles and sea eagles in the big big sky.

Ponder on the many ancient monuments in the island landscape. Most Importantly as a tour guide in the Hebrides I promote the Gaelic language and customs are all part of the package. If you are a Peter May fan you can visit all the places mentioned in his Lewis and Harris trilogy.

As a islander and tour guide in the Hebrides I look forward to welcoming you. The Isle of Lewis and Harris is an amazing place to visit. Bidh ceud mile failte oirbh and life will never be the same again.

One of my favourite places is The Gearrannan Blackhouse Village http://www.gearrannan.com,where time stands still since the last inhabitants left in 1970s.

Dementia Friendly Community

Dementia Friendly Community

Dementia Friendly Community in the Hebrides. Toil Inntinn The Will of the Mind is a 2018 bi-lingual publication by Magaidh Smith. Working as Gaelic and Culture Activities co-ordinator on the Arora project, An Lanntair. Part one is a selection of my blogs, describing group activities and incredible conversations.  Part two is research, an array of culturally relevant conversations about memory. Continue reading “Dementia Friendly Community”

Prisoners of War 51st Division St Valery

Prisoners of War 51st Division St Valery

St Valery Memories 2018 is 44 page publication with research on Prisoners of War captured in the 51 St Division, at St Valery-en-Caux in 1940. It  includes diary accounts by the Prisoners of War  from the Isle of Lewis, during their 4 years in captivity. Continue reading “Prisoners of War 51st Division St Valery”

Psalms in Boats Isle of Lewis Tradfest 2017

Psalms in Boats Isle of Lewis Tradfest 2017

The Psalmboat project is a multi-arts volunteer community project centred on Loch Erisort, Lochs, Isle of Lewis. The Psalmboat community is sharing stories of travel by sea to church services in the past, and in the present we are singing psalms in boats and on land. Continue reading “Psalms in Boats Isle of Lewis Tradfest 2017”