Macdonald of Sleat Poetry Prize awarded

The winner of this year’s Macdonald of Sleat Gaelic poetry prize is Torquil Macleod from Lochs, Isle of Lewis. Torquil was presented with his prize at a gathering at the Museum of the Isles on Saturday 29 September.

The competition, which is run in collaboration with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Scotland’s Gaelic College, was instituted by Sir Ian Macdonald of Sleat in memory of his daughter, Deborah, who passed away at an early age.

The theme of the competition each year relates to trees and this year an invitation was extended to anyone who writes poetry, or has an interest in doing so, to compose a poem on the subject, roots.  The Wild Rose was the title of the poem composed by Torquil and selected by the judges, Professor Meg Bateman and Màiri Sìne Campbell.

Torquil Macleod commented on his poem:  “Winning this competition has given me confidence and great happiness.  I had written the poem while visiting Steimrebhagh, where my mother was from.” Speaking on behalf of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Professor Bateman said: “His poem ‘An Ròs Fiadhaich’ (The Wild Rose) is put together skilfully like a traditional song while he uses the notion of the root as an image for something that gives new growth and comfort. The poem evokes strong feelings for the ruined township of the poet’s ancestors in Lewis. Though there is no-one today to welcome the visitor, a wild rose surprises the poet with its beauty. Though the people were scattered throughout the world, the poet’s roots in the township allow him still to feel their presence.  It is good that this competition is encouraging people to write and we thank everyone who took part.”

Pictured at Saturday’s ceremony are, from left: Professor Meg Bateman, Torquil Macleod, Professor Norman N. Gillies (who presented the prize), Professor Boyd Robertson and Museum Manager, Sue Geale.

Gaelic translation

Duais Bàrdachd MhicDhòmhnaill Shlèite

B’ e Torcuil MacLeòid a bhuannaich farpais bàrdachd MhicDhòmhnaill Shlèite am-bliadhna.  ‘S ann à sgìre nan Loch ann an Leòdhas a tha Torcuil, ach e an-diugh a’ fuireach ann an Steòrnabhagh.

Chaidh an fharpais, a tha air a ruith le Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, a stèidheachadh leis an Ridire Iain MacDhòmhnaill Shlèite mar chuimhneachan air an nighinn aige, Deborah, a dh’eug aig aois glè òg.

’S e cuspair co-cheangailte ri craobhan a tha aig an fharpais gach bliadhna agus b’ e cuspair na bliadhna seo, Freumhan no Freumhaichean. ’S e An Ròs Fiadhaich a thug Torcuil air an dàn, a chaidh a thagh leis na britheamhan, an t-Oll. Meg Bateman agus Màiri Sìne Chaimbeul.

Thuirt Torcuil: “Thug a bhith buannachadh an fharpais seo misneachd agus toileachas mòr dhomh.  Bha mi air a’ bhàrdachd a sgrìobhadh is mi air turas ann an Steimreabhagh, far na thogadh mo mhàthair.”

Chaidh an duais a thoirt do Thorcuil aig cruinneachadh aig Caisteal Armadail Disathairne 29mh Sultain. Thuirt Sir Iain : “Tha mi air leth moiteil an duais seo a thoirt seachad mar Chathraiche Bhòrd nan Urrasairean air Urras Oighreachd Chlann Dòmhnaill.  Tha an t-Urras gu mòr airson taic a chumail ri agus a bhith brosnachadh dualchas na Gàidhlig, an dà chuid tron taigh-tasgaidh agus tro na prògraman ciùil is cultarail againn.  Meal-a-naidheachd air buannaiche na bliadhna sa agus ‘s math gu bheil an fharpais a’ dol bho neart gu neart.”

A’ bruidhinn às leth an t-Sabhail Mhòir, thuirt an t-Oll. Bateman:  “Tha ‘An Ròs Fiadhaich’ air a chur ri chèile gu sgileil, coltach ri òran le meadaireachd thraidiseanta agus e a’ cleachdadh an fhreumha mar ìomhaigh air rudeigin aosta às an tig ùr-fhàs agus sòlas. Dùsgaidh an dàn faireachdainn làidir mu bhaile fàsail ann an Leòdhas às an robh sinnsireachd a’ bhàird.  Tha ròs brèagha a’ fàs ann a chuireas bòidhchead air an àite agus fàilte air an aoigh, ged nach eil duine a’ fuireach tuilleadh ann. Mar an ròs, tha freumhan a’ bhàird stèidhichte sa bhaile agus fairichidh e gu bheil ceangal aige fhathast ris a’ choimhearsnachd a bha ann ged a chaidh na daoine sgapadh air feadh an t-saoghail. Tha e math gu bheil a’ cho-fharpais a’ brosnachadh dhaoine ri sgrìobhadh agus tha sinn airson taing a thoirt do gach duine a ghabh pàirt innte.”