A Gaelic Poem on the Massacre of Glencoe

There are few events in the history of the Scottish Highlands more notorious than the Massacre of Glencoe, which happened on this day (February 13) in 1692. Although the incident has been the subject of numerous scholarly studies based on anglophone sources, Gaelic sources have not  received adequate attention. The most significant Gaelic commentaries about the…

Origins of Dance in the Scottish Highlands

Step-dancing has become strongly associated with Gaelic tradition in Nova Scotia, but where did it come from? Is it really an old and conservative tradition that preserves how Gaels were dancing when they emigrated from Scotland (or even earlier), or was it borrowed from the Irish in North America? Where did the dance forms now…

The Origins of the Strathspey: A Rebuttal

By the 16th century Lowland texts reflect the notion that the Highlands were a repository of older Scottish customs and traditions, and Macpherson’s Ossian (1760) only popularized and reinforced this idea. Music and song collectors of the 18th and 19th centuries, responding to the perceived crisis of Scottish identity and tradition in an assimilationist and…