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Notebook belonging to Alexander Carmichael, 12 September 1890 to 1895

Identifier: Coll-97/CW1

Scope and Contents

Notebook belonging to Alexander Carmichael but also used by John Ewen MacRury. The front cover bears a sticker which reads 'Gaelic Notes 1894-5. (Collection of traditions, tales, etc. by Alexander Carmichael (?). Many pages cancelled, indicating publication.) [Carmichael Watson Collection]'. The flyleaf reads 'Gaelic Notes, 1894-5' and the rear flyleaf contains a jotting which reads 'Wishing Guidhe'. The beginning of the notebook contains field notes made by Carmichael in Uibhist a Deas/South Uist and in Bràigh Loch Abar/Brae Lochaber in September and October 1890 mainly for charms and prayers. The notebook is then used by John Ewen MacRury, crofter, Cnoc na Monadh/Torlum, Beinn na Faoghla/Benbecula in late 1894, early 1895 to record customs, stories, superstitions, vocabulary and sayings. It is unclear whether MacRury is writing these items down as lore that he recalls or lore collected from others as there are no named informants. The longest items are a story about a blanket made for Bonnie Prince Charlie; the story 'A Sealladh mu dheireadh a Roca-Barraidh' [The Last Sighting of Rocabarraigh]; a story about crodh-mara or sea-cattle; a story entitled 'Cailleach Bheag an fhasaich' [The Little Carlin of the Wilderness] and 'A Chliarsheanachain' [Seanchan's Company/Lot]. He records many customs and vocabulary relating to butterflies, serpents, cattle, seaweed and the weather. In an number of instances Carmichael has amended or annotated his text and the majority of the notebook is scored through as if it has been transcribed elsewhere. A good deal of the contents can be found in Carmina Gadelica.


  • Creation: 12 September 1890 to 1895

Language of Materials

Gaelic, English

Conditions Governing Access

This material is unrestricted.


114 folios ; 14 x 20 cm

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired by the University of Edinburgh in 1949.

Existence and Location of Copies

Microfilm: Mic.Dup.1146/6

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
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