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The Supernatural in Gaelic Song & Story with Margaret Stewart

START: 29 July 2019
END: 02 August 2019
COST: £260
Picture of Calanais Standing Stones

picture of mermaid

picture of stream


Sabhal Mòr Ostaig are delighted to welcome back the renowned Gaelic singer and folklorist Margaret Stewart to the 2019 Short Course Programme with her new course based on one of her own interesting and thought-provoking song-based research projects ‘The Supernatural in Gaelic Song & Story’.

In Gaelic Scotland we have a rich heritage of song, music and lore which reflect a strong belief in the supernatural or otherworld.  These reflect how our people used their imagination and how they dealt with thoughts of the afterlife, inexplicable occurrences, unsolved mysteries or disappearances, peculiar shapes and sounds in the landscape or during darkness and so on.

These beliefs manifest the diverse traditions which have contributed to our culture over the centuries, particularly the tales, songs, lore and place-names, relating to the supernatural or otherworld, which we retain from our Pictish, Celtic and Norse ancestry.

During the five-day course Margaret will explore some of the following themes in song and story:

  • encounters with the fairy folk,
  • changelings,
  • special powers bestowed by the fairies,
  • spells and curses,
  • ghosts,
  • fairy lovers,
  • monsters,
  • mermaids,
  • healing wells,
  • water monsters,
  • superhuman feats,
  • cautionary tales

She will also touch on some material culture referring to the supernatural, such as place names, specific locations and artefacts.  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.



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.

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 visit


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