A ship that found shelter in Ireland: Bìrlinn Chlann Raghnaill

Peadar Ó Muircheartaigh


This article examines the earliest history of the Scottish Gaelic poem Bìrlinn Chlann Raghnaill by Alasdair Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair. The copy of the poem now preserved among the papers of Charles O’Conor (1710–1791) in the Royal Irish Academy is examined treated of in order to elucidate the earliest textual history of the poem. It is demonstrated that the Royal Irish Academy copy of the poem came to O’Conor from the Scottish Gaelic scholar James McLagan (1728–1805) at some point after February 1771, and that McLagan collected the poem on a journey to the Hebrides in the summer of 1770. This clarifies that the McLagan version of Birlinn Chlann Raghnaill predates, by six years, its publication by the poet’s son.

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© Comhar Teoranta, 2020.
ISSN: 2009-8626