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A Seascape of Gaelic Song

START: 07 August 2017
END: 11 August 2017
COST: £250

Photo above courtesy of Euphoria Photography

Photos courtesy of Margaret Stewart

***This course is now fully booked.  Please contact us if you would like to be added to our waiting list.***

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig are delighted to welcome back the renowned singer and folklorist Margaret Stewart to their Short Course Programme for 2017.

Margaret brings a nautical flavour to this new history through song short course, exploring our rich legacy of Gaelic sea-themed songs, alongside aspects of West Coast maritime history and customs.

The course may include some of the following subjects and themes:-

  • Coastal Toponymy
  • Gaelic / Norse boating and boat building terminology
  • Gathering the Fruits of the Sea for bait and table
  • The Fishing Industry on Scotland’s West Coast
  • Sea Creatures in Song and Myth
  • Smugglers, Pirates, Fishermen, Sailors & Emigrants in song and story.
  • The West Highland Galley in Early Praise Poetry
  • Rowing Songs
  • Sailing Songs
  • Smuggling Songs
  • Fishermen’s Songs
  • Songs of the Fisher Girls
  • Divided by the Seas – Emigration & Separation
  • Love of the Sea  verses   The Land, Relationships & Family Life
  • Drowning Laments

The course will include a field trip outwith the college campus and participants are expected to be comfortable walking about 1 mile with ease, so please ensure that you bring a waterproof jacket, a small backpack and comfortable walking shoes. 

This course is suitable for fluent speakers and those who have little or no Gaelic but who have a desire to learn the language in the context of its relationship to Gaelic Song & Traditions. Class tuition will be given in English & Gaelic and both languages will also be used on excursion.


Margaret Stewart was born and raised in the village of Upper Coll on the Isle of Lewis, where song and poetry surrounded her as a child.  This fostered her great love of Gaelic song and  she later went on to win the coveted Gold Medal at the Royal National Mod in Airdrie in 1993.  Since then her reputation as a singer has spread far and wide.

Margaret is also widely respected as a mentor and teacher, with singers, young and old, benefitting from her knowledge of history and song at annual events such as Ceòlas in South Uist, the Willie Clancy Summer School in Ireland, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow and here at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig where she has been a visiting lecturer on the BA Gaelic & Traditional Music for a number of years.  Margaret has also put her knowledge of music and song to good use on the Tobar an Dualchais/Kist o’ Riches project, where she was employed as one of the team of experts tasked with digitising and cataloguing the sound archives of the School of Scottish Studies and Canna Collection. She has undertaken much collaborative work with other singers and musicians, and her two seminal albums, (Fhuair mi Pòg and Colla Mo Rùn) with piper Allan Macdonald from Glenuig, are widely acclaimed, as is her solo album, Togaidh mi mo Sheòlta.

As well as being awarded the title “Gaelic Singer of the Year” in 2008, Margaret was Gaelic Musician in Residence at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in 2012, researching Gaelic songs and traditions on such subjects as War & Conflict, Highland Hospitality & Conviviality, Emigration & Clearances and the Jacobite Era.

For more information on Margaret Stewart please click here.


Margaret will also be tutoring:

‘Aspects of Highland Material Culture’

17 – 21 April 2017






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