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Mary’s story: Beannachadh Bliadhna Uir Friday, 8 January 2010

Posted by carryapoem in Stories.
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(The Blessing of the New Year) – oral version of Mòr Bean Nill (67) in Volume I ‘Carmina Gaedlica’, collected by Alexander Carmichael, pp158 – 9.

I found this poem because of a detective hunt! Mòr Bean Nill was a nurse in my father’s home in Argyll and taught it to the brothers. Members of the family have retained the custom of saying it whilst circling the house to greet the New Year. I have recently tracked it down together with a tattered old photo taken at Frobost, when she was 101, on a family visit. My father was a silent man, who said little about his past, but some connections are very  intense. I have returned to Uist and am trying to retrieve the Gaelic language. I wish I’d had more time earlier in my life to reconnect to this wonderful language, with its poetic culture and sense of respect for time and place.

Mary Morrison is in her seventies and almost retired. She is about to start a research degree at the Edinburgh School of Celtic and Scottish Studies in an attempt to learn more about migration and sense of identity within first and second generation of Uist migrants.