Queens Park
Pàirc na Banrigh

Chaidh Gàrradh Ròs Bàrdachd na h-Alba fhosgladh ann an 2003 gus aoigheachd Ghlaschu le Co-chruinneachadh an Ròis Fhiadhaich a’ bhliadhna sin, agus bàrdachd a chomharrachadh ann an Albais, Beurla agus Gàidhlig.  Tha iomradh ga dhèanamh air triùir bhàird Ghàidhlig: Alasdair Mac Maighstir Alasdair (c.1698–1770), Donnchadh Bàn Mac an t-Saoir (1724-1812), agus Somhairle MacGill-Eain (1911-1996).

The Scottish Poetry Rose Garden was opened in 2003 to mark Glasgow’s hosting of the World Rose Convention that year, and celebrates poetry in Scots, English, and Gaelic. Three Gaelic poets are featured: Alasdair mac Maighstir Alasdair (c. 1698–1770), Donnchad Ban Mac an t-Saoir (1724-1812), and Somhairle MacGill-Eain (1911-1996).

Monument to Alasdair mac Maighstir Alasdair, Scottish Poetry Rose Garden, Queens Park.

Alasdair Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair    

Coltach ri athair roimhe, bha Alasdair Mac Maighstir Alasdair na oileanach aig Oilthigh Ghlaschu. Thill e gu Loch Abar a dhùthchais mar neach-teagaisg far na dh’ullaich e ‘Galick and English Vocabulary’ (1741), a’ chiad leabhar neo-eaglaiseach a chaidh a chlò-bhualadh ann an Gàidhlig na h-Alba. Bha e a’ tarraing air traidisean ach a’ sireadh ri Gàidhlig a chur ann an co-theacsa Eòrpach, uaireannan a’ tarraing air a chuid foghlam ann an Glaschu anns na Clasaigean Greugach is Laideann. Tha e a’ toirt iomradh air Glaschu anns an òran òil aige, ‘Òran Rìoghail a’ Bhotail’, far a bheil e a’ togail air an t-seat ainmeil de 28 clag air Stìopall an Tolbooth a chaidh a stàlachadh ann an 1735. Mar a tha an sgrìobhaiche-beatha aige, Raghnall MacIlleDhuibh, ag innse, chuir am bard a dhà de na h-òrain aige ri fonn ‘Tweedside’ agus ‘The Lass o’ Patie’s Mill’ a bha air an cluich leis na clagan gach Diciadain agus Diardaoin fa leth.

Alexander MacDonald

Like his father before him, Alasdair mac Maighstir Alasdair was a student at the University of Glasgow. He returned to his native Lochaber as a teacher where he prepared his Galick and English Vocabulary (1741), the first secular book to be printed in Scottish Gaelic. He drew on tradition but sought to place Gaelic in a European context, sometimes drawing on his Glasgow education in the Greek and Latin Classics. He references Glasgow in his drinking song  Òran Rìoghail a’ Bhotail’ where he mentions the famous set of 28 bells of the Tolbooth Steeple which were installed in 1735. As his biographer Ronnie Black has pointed out, the poet set two of his songs to the tunes ‘Tweedside’ and ‘The Lass o’ Patie’s Mill’ which were played by the chimes on Wednesdays and Thursdays respectively.

‘Oran na Fineachan Gaidhealach’ or song of the highland clans, possibly written in Mac Mhaighistir Alasdair’s hand. GUL, Special collections, MS Gen 9. This image reproduced by kind permission of Glasgow University Library, Special Collections.

Na cho-ogha do Fhlòraidh NicDhòmhnaill, bha Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair na Sheumasach daingeann fad a bheatha. Bha e na thaoitear Gàidhlig don Phrionnsa Theàrlach agus bha e   a’ sabaid tro iomairt an ’45, a’ gabhail a-steach Blàr Chùil Lodair. Ann an 1751, dh’fhoillsich e leabhar de dhàin fon tiotal: Ais-Eiridh na Sean Chánoin Albannaich (‘The Resurrection of the Ancient Scottish Language’) a dhaingnich a chliù mar am bàrd Gàidhlig a b’ ainmeile de na   h-uile san 18mh linn. Ged a tha an tiotal ag ràdh gun deach an leabhar connspaideach seo a chlò-bhualadh ann an Dùn Èideann, ann an da-rìribh tha àireamh de thuairmsean ga nochdadh mar obair clò-bhualadair ann an Glaschu, Seumas Orr, Gàidheal à Eilean Bhòid, a bhuineadh do theaghlach a bha cliùiteach ann an clò-bhualadh is reic leabhraichean san 18mh linn.

Tha sgrìobhainn de sgrìobhaidhean Alasdair na làimh fhèin, ann an Oilthigh Ghlaschu.

First cousin to Flora Macdonald, Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair was a staunch Jacobite throughout his life. He acted as Gaelic tutor to Bonnie Prince Charlie and fought throughout the ’45 campaign, including at the Battle of Culloden. In 1751 he published a volume of poems entitled: Ais-Eiridh na Sean Chánoin Albannaich (‘The Resurrection of the Ancient Scottish Language’) which confirmed his reputation as the greatest of all 18th century Gaelic poets. Although the title page claims this controversial book was printed in Edinburgh, in fact, a number of clues point to it being the work of Glasgow printer James Orr, a Gael from Bute, whose family dominated Gaelic publishing and book-selling in the 18th century.

The University of Glasgow holds a manuscript of Alasdair’s writings in his own hand.

Donnchadh Bàn Mac an t-Saoir                     

Tha Donnchadh Bàn Mac an t-Saoir (1724-1812) cliùiteach airson a chuid bàrdachd mu nàdar, gu h-àraid Moladh Beinn Dòbhrain. Ged a bha a cheanglaichean sa chiad àite ri sgìre Ghleann Urchaidh agus ri Dùn Èideann far an robbh e na chonnstabal ann an geàrd a’ bhaile, bha e eòlach ann an Glaschu cuideachd agus b’ e ùghdar ‘Oran Alistair’, an t-òran Gàidhlig as sine a th’ ann mu Ghlaschu. Tha cuspair an òrain mu dheidhinn a charaid Alasadair Caimbeul, aithnichte mar Alasdair nan Stòp, aig an robh taigh-seinnse ann am Back Wynd (co-shìnte ri Sràid an Rìgh).

Duncan Ban Macintyre

Duncan Ban MacIntyre (1724-1812) is renowned for his nature poetry, most famously his song Moladh Beinn Dòbhrain (‘In Praise of Ben Doran’). Although associated primarily with his native Glenorchy and Edinburgh, where he was a constable in the city guard, he was no stranger to Glasgow and was the author of the oldest surviving Gaelic poem on a purely Glasgow topic: ‘Oran Alistair’. The subject is his friend Alexander Campbell, known as Alasdair nan Stòp (‘Alasdair of the stoups’), who kept a tavern in Back Wynd (parallel to King Street).

Alistair nan stop ann an sraid a chuil,

Sin an duine coir air am bheil mo run.

 

Scoma leat an sile, bannsa leat an stop,

Cha ‘n e sin bu dochadh ach am botal mor….

 

… Nuair a theid mi Ghlascha staitneach leam bhi gól

Ann an tigh mo charraid Alistair nan stóp

Alastair nan Stòp, living in Back Wynd

That’s the worthy man for whom I have esteem

 

You disdain the gill, you prefer the stoup,

Nor is that your favourite, but the quart-sized bottle …

 

… When I go to Glasgow I love to have a drink

in the house of my friend Alastair nan Stòp.

Bha meas mòr air bàrdachd Dhonnchaidh am measg nan Gàidheal ann an Glaschu, agus am measg nan 1,480 a tha air an liosta de luchd-gabhail an dàrna eagran aige de Òrain Ghaidhealach (1790), tha 71 luchd-còmhnaidh à baile Ghlaschu. Tha an liosta a’ gabhail a-steach measgachadh de bhoireannaich is fhireannaich bho dhiofar cheàrnaidhean is ìrean beatha agus a’ toirt seachad in-shealladh iongantach air beatha ann an saoghal Gàidhlig Ghlaschu aig deireadh an 18mh linn.

Donnchadh’s poetry was very popular among the Gaels of Glasgow, the list of 1,480 subscribers to the second edition of his collection of poems Orain Ghaidhealach (1790) includes 71 inhabitants of the city. The list includes women and men from diverse ranks and walks of life, and gives a fascinating insight into the Glasgow Gaelic scene at the end of the 18th century.

Monument to Sorley MacLean quoting lines from his poem about John MacLean, Scottish Poetry Rose Garden, 2001.

Somhairle MacGill-Eain agus Iain Mòr MacGill-Eain

Bha Somhairle MacGill-Eain mar aon de na bàird a bu chudromaiche ann an Alba san 20mh linn, agus thathar a’ coimhead air mar ‘Athair Ath-bheòthachaidh na Gàidhlig’. Tha e cothromach gu bheil an dàn a tha air a thaghadh airson ion-sgrìobhaidh sa ghàrradh, Clann Ghill-Eain, a’ cuimhneachadh fear à Glaschu. ’S e Iain MacGill-Eain (1879-1923) cuspair an dàin, an ‘Red Clydesider’ ainmeil, a dh’fhàs suas ann an teaghlach le Gàidhlig ann am Pollokshaws. B’ e crèadhadair à Muile a bha na athair agus bha a mhàthair agus a sheanmhair air coiseachd a Phàislig às a’ Chorpaich aig àm na goirt air a’ Ghàidhealtachd ann an 1840. Thug MacGill-Eain a-mach trèanadh mar thidsear ann an colaiste trèanaidh na h-Eaglais Shaoir aig an Trianaid, a’ ceumnachadh bhon Oilthigh às dèidh sin. Chaill e obair mar thidsear mar thoradh air a bhith ag iomairt an aghaidh armailteachd sa Chiad Chogadh Mhòr, agus às dèidh sin chaidh e gu mòr an sàs ann an poilitigs, a’ teagasg foghlam do dh’àireamhan mòra de luchd-obrach ann an Sgoil Sir Iain Maxwell (a thurchair a bhith na dachaigh don chiad aonad Ghàidhlig sa bhaile ann an 1985). Bha e ag amas air Poblachd Sòisealta Albannach a chur air bhonn, stèidhichte air na chomharraich e gu sònraichte mar ‘Comannachas Ceilteach’. Thug am measgachadh aige de nàiseantachd agus sòisealtas reabhlaideach buaidh chudromach air Somhairle MacGill-Eain, a dh’aidich gun robh e air  ‘Calbhanachas a thoirt suas do Shòisealtas’ aig aois 12 bliadhna ann an 1923, a’ bhliadhna a bhàsaich Iain MacGill-Eain. Thug e iomradh air a’ ghasgeach aige ann an dàn poilitigeach eile, Am Botal Briste. Chaidh Iain MacGill-Eain fhastadh mar chonsal Boilseabhach ann an Alba agus stèidhich e consalachd aig 12 Sràid Portland a Deas. Bha meas mòr air san USSR far an deach cuimhne a chur air ann an ainm sràide ann an Leningrad – Maklin Prospekt – agus chaidh stampa a sgaoileadh mar chomharra air ceud bliadhna bho rugadh e.

Sorley Maclean and John Maclean

Sorley Maclean was one of 20th century Scotland’s most significant poets and is considered the ‘father of the Gaelic Renaissance’. It is fitting that the poem chosen for inscription in the garden, Clann Ghill-Eain, commemorates a Glaswegian.

John Maclean stamp issued in the USSR to mark the centenary of his birth.

Its subject is John Maclean (1879-1923), the famous ‘Red Clydesider’, who grew up in a Gaelic-speaking household in Pollokshaws. His father was a potter from Mull and his mother and grandmother had walked to Paisley from their native Corpach, during the Highland famine of 1840. MacLean trained as a teacher at the Free Kirk training college at Trinity, and later graduated from the University. He lost his job as a teacher due to his anti-militarism campaigning in World War I, and thereafter devoted himself to politics, teaching worker education classes to huge numbers in Sir John Maxwell School (which coincidentally became the home of the city’s first Gaelic unit in 1985). His goal was a Scottish Socialist Republic founded on what he identified as a specifically ‘Celtic communism’. His blend of nationalism and revolutionary socialism had a significant influence on Sorley Maclean who claimed to have ‘relinquished Calvinism for Socialism’ at the age of 12 in 1923, the year of John Maclean’s death. He mentioned his hero again in another political poem, Am Botal Briste, ‘The Broken Bottle’. John Maclean was appointed Bolshevik consul in Scotland and established a consulate at 12 South Portland Street. He was much admired in the USSR where he was commemorated in the name of a Leningrad street – Maklin Prospekt – and a stamp issued to mark the centenary of his birth.

Clann Ghill-Eain

Chan e iadsan a bhàsaich

an àrdan Inbhir Chèitein

dh-aindeoin gaisge is uabhair

ceann uachdrach ar sgeula;

ach esan bha ‘n Glaschu,

ursann-chatha nam feumach,

Iain mòr MacGill-Eain,

ceann is fèitheam ar sgeula

The Clan MacLean

Not they who died

in the hauteur of Inverkeithing [i.e. the battle of Inverkeithing in 1651 in which Clan MacLean played a famously heroic role]

in spite of valour and pride

the high head of our story;

but he who was in Glasgow

the battle-post of the poor,

great John Maclean,

the top and hem of our story.