Màiri Mhòr nan Òran

Just a wee post to highlight this amazing woman – she was a brilliant Gaelic poet who used her talent to speak out against the injustices being done to her fellow Gaels:

“…Màiri was born Mary MacDonald in 1821 and left Skye for Inverness in 1847 to marry Isaac Macpherson. When he died in 1871, she was left with four children to care for alone. It was during a short imprisonment in 1872 on a charge of theft that she first turned to poetry, protesting her innocence and expressing her anger through Gaelic verse.

Shortly after her release, Mary moved to Glasgow where she trained as a nurse and worked until 1882. While living there, she regularly attended Highland Society ceilidhs and met leading advocates of Highland land reform. She became well known in these circles for her poetry and songs. When she returned to Skye, she was Bard of the Land League agitation of the 1880s. Her personal sense of injustice and empathy with the sufferings of her people gave a unique force to her poetry…”

💪🏻 Read the full Am Baile record for the incredible Màiri Mhòr nan Òran here – if you search her name on the site you can also view the collection of photos they have of her 📸

🎧 Listen to John MacDonald sing one of Màiri’s songs about wanting to return to Skye & the suffering caused by the Highland Clearances here

📚 Màiri & another one of her famous compositions – Òran Beinn Lì, about the Battle of the Braes – are featured in this free online course on Clans & Gaelic culture from University of Glasgow through Future Learn

📸 Featured Photo credit: Me, Boreraig – cleared township on the Isle of Skye

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