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Story entitled 'Rocabarraidh', 26 April 1872

Identifier: Coll-97/CW154/3

Scope and Contents

Story entitled 'Rocabarraidh' collected from Donnachadh Macgilliallain (Donnachadh Ban) [Duncan Bàn MacLellan], mason, Carnan, Iocar, Uist a Chinnideas [Iochdar, Uibhist a Deas/South Uist]. The story tells of a very successful fisherman from Barra [Barraigh] who had three sons. The other fishermen were always surprised by his success and decided to follow him. In his old age he told his sons that he wanted to return to his home and for his sons to return with him. They declined as they did not know which island he came from originally, but they agreed to take him home and to go fishing for one more day together. The neighbouring fishermen decided to follow to see if they could find the secret of the old man's fishing success. The old man asks each of his sons in turn what he can see and each of them say they can see nothing until one of them sees the waves breaking in a strange manner which the old man recognises as whales. He tells them that it is 'La cheann na blianna' [La Cheann na Bliadhna] which is when the whales come. They cut their nets, threw items overboard to make the vessel lighter and moved away as quickly as they could but the men in the other fishing boats are all drowned. Having made it to shore the old man tells his sons to remember La Cheann na Bliadhna and Iolla-nam-Muca-Mara' [the whale wave]. the next day they set out to take the old man home and he tells them that the island he belongs to 'Rocabarrai' is under the sea. Barra folk who have lost their way in the fog have found the resources rich island and on their return home have told others about it but have never been able to find it again. The old man persuades his sons to put him into the sea where three waves meet thus finding his home on Rocabarrai and his sons return to Barra.


  • Creation: 26 April 1872

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This material is unrestricted.


From the Series: 91 folios ; 31.5cm x 21.5cm

Physical Location


Physical Location

folio 27v, line 1 to folio 30r, line 5

Related Materials


Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

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