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Story entitled 'Leabhar Dearg Clann Muirich', 24 January or February 1865

Identifier: Coll-97/CW113/12

Scope and Contents

Story entitled 'Leabhar Dearg Clann Muirich' collected from Seonaid Nic Muirich [Janet Currie], age 64, Staoinebreac, Uist a chinne Deas [Staoinebrig/Stoneybridge, Uibhist a Deas/South Uist]. The story tells how in a time of great violence the Iarla Leanna [Earl of Lennox] escaped to the mountains with his son. Feeling compelled to return to his people who he knew were in danger, he left his son in the mountains telling him to go whichever way God told him to go. Muireach, the Earl's son fell asleep and was told three times in a dream that he would find his fortune in the rushes. When he awoke he looked in the bushes and found An Leabhar Dearg [The Red Book], a red, vellum book, as clean as if it had been kept in a kist. After he read the book a spirit told him where he was to go so he went straightaway to Uibhist a chinne Tuath [Uibhist a Tuath/North Uist], where he settling and on marrying had a son, who was Niall Mòr MacMhuirich. The story makes an aside to tell of how God granted Niall Mòr three wishes per day and he only used them once when he was on Canna [Canaigh, Earra Ghàidheal/Argyllshire] and the ship was confined to port because there was no suitable breeze to take them home. First, he asked for a breeze simply to take them home, then on cajoling from his son he asked for a strong wind. As they set off the weather became stormy, Niall Mòr refused to use his third wish and the crew only just landed and escaped as the boat broke in two. The aside finished, the story continues to tell how, An Leabhar Dearg told how the world and its people were created and that Muireach travelled throughout Scotland and Ireland relating history and genealogy. Niall Mòr was approached by a stranger, then a ship's master and then his kinsman about the book. He gave it to the latter and it was never seen again. The story concludes with a verse illustrating the right of the MacMhuirich clan to hold Baile-bhaird in Staolaigearrai [Baile a' Bhàird, Stadhlaigearraidh/Stilligarry, Uibhist a Deas/South Uist]. The last of the MacMhuirich line is entitled to give the rights to anyone they choose for nineteen years. The text has been scored through in ink and written transversely is 'Transcribed into Book I page 167 Creagorry 1875'. [Creag Goraidh, Beinn na Faoghla/Benbecula]. Two annotations have been made to the text in pencil.


  • Creation: 24 January or February 1865

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This material is unrestricted.


From the Series: 86 folios ; 20.3 x 16.5 cm

Physical Location


Physical Location

folio 44v, line 1 to folio 47v, line 17

Related Materials

Coll-97/CW112/18 - another copy of the same item.


Gillies, WIlliam, 'Alexander Carmichael and Clann Mhuirich', Scottish Gaelic Studies, vol. 20 (2000), pp. 1-66.
Newton, Michael, Bho Cluaidh gu Calasraid: from the Clyde to Callander (Glasgow, 2010).

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

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