Donald Currie’s address to the New York Gaelic Society (c.1892)

There were a surprising number of organizations created and organized by Scottish Gaels in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in the United States, mostly all in large cities. Probably the most active center of activity for Scottish heritage societies in general was New York city (see more details in section 5.2 of this article).

One of the active members of this group was a man named Domhnall MacMhuirich (or “Donald Currie” in English). He gave an address in Gaelic to the organization in late 1892 (as far as I can tell) in which he addresses the landmarks of Highland history and the purpose of the group in maintaining the essentials of Gaelic language, culture and identity. Some extracts, and my translation, follow:

Is cianail ri aithris an t-atharrachadh eagalach a thàinig air gach gleann fasgach, dosrach, an Tìr nam Beann on latha thàinig Prionnsa Teàrlach air tìr am Muideart […] Bho latha Chul-Lodair cha d’fhuair na Gàidheil fois fo chumhachd lagh agus feachd Shasann, ach a-measg gach deuchainn is cruaidh-chàs a dh’fhuiling iad cha do thréig iad an duinealas, agus cha do reic iad an gràdh no ’n spéis a thug iad do phearsa Prionnsa air na bha d’òr an Sasainn. Chaidh am fògradh á tìr an gaoil gu dùthchannan céin […]

Cho fad ’s a bhios  òrain Ghàidhlig is Bheurla ’gan seinn agus innealan ciùil ’gan gleusadh, bidh Bliadhna Theàrlaich beò an inntinn nan Gàidheal. […]

Nach muladach dà-rìreabh na glinn bhòidheach ’s srathan còmhnard an-diugh a bhith dol fàs fo chaoraich ’s fo fhéidh far am b’ àbhaist an sùgradh is an cridhealas a bha daonnan umhail do gach deuchainn is trioblaid a chaidh a sparradh orra le luchd lagha na tìre. […]

Tha mi toilichte cluinntinn gum bheil fìor Ghàidheil a-measg a’ chomainn seo tha déidheil air litreachas, cànain, is ceòl ar n-athraichean, agus seann chleachdainnean Gàidhealtachd na h-Alba chumail beò agus ged tha sinn fada air falbh bho thìr nan àrd bheann, bitheamaid duineal, grunndail, cairdeil agus bàigheil ri càch a chéile.

It is depressing to discuss the terrible changes that have come upon every leafy, sheltering glen in the Highlands since the day that Prince Charles landed in Moidart. Since the day of the battle of Culloden, the Gaels had no peace from the power of the law and military troops of England, but amongst all of the trials and tribulations that they endured, they never relinquished their bravery, and they never sold their love or devotion for the person of Prince Charles for all of the gold of England. They were expelled from their beloved homeland to foreign countries […]

The Year of Prince Charles [1745] will live on in the memory of every Gael for as long as Gaelic and English songs are sung and musical instruments are played. […]

It is truly depressing how the beautiful glens and smooth straths are today being depopulated for sheep and deer, where there was once the human joy and bliss that overcame every trial and tribulation that was forced on them by government politicians. […]

I am happy to hear that there are true Gaels in this society who are passionate about keeping the literature, language, and music of our ancestors, and the ancient traditions of the Scottish Highlands, alive, and although we are far away from the Highlands, let us be brave, well-grounded, friendly and caring to one another.

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2 thoughts on “Donald Currie’s address to the New York Gaelic Society (c.1892)

  1. Taing mhòr a Mhicheil! Glè inntinneach! Càit’ is urrainn dhomh a lorg an corr dhen òraid seo?

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