Gaelic verse from Aberdeenshire
It is the objective of this thesis firstly to establish the extent of Gaelic vernacular verse to have survived in Aberdeenshire and, secondly, to determine the nature of that verse and, where possible, its origins, age and authorship. It is also hoped that this study will enable us to investigate the cultural identity of Highland Aberdeenshire and to what extent, if any, it differed from the rest of the Gaidhealtachd. The thesis begins with a social and linguistic history of the area being studied to understand the environment in which the verse was being composed and also to establish the forces which led to the decline of the Gaelic language there. In the three chapters which follow, the verse is then divided according to parish, beginning with the easternmost parish which is the parish of Kildrummy, in the district of Strathdon, and ending with the westernmost parish, i.e. the parish of Crathie and Braemar. In each chapter an attempt is made to establish the origins of the verse which is studied in depth. The verse contained in each chapter is edited and translated. However, when editing, I have tried to remain as close to the original script as possible, to allow the reader to appreciate the type of language used by the bard, and to also give a taste of the original text. Where the verse is accompanied by a tale or tradition I have included this also, since originally all songs would have been accompanied by such tales, and since such tales usually serve some purpose by explaining the background of the song. With regard to sources, I have chosen to refer to Rev. Robert MacGregor's Collection as the Invercauld MS (since it is held at Invercauld House), while referring to the version of the MS formerly owned by his nephew, Joseph MacGregor (as featured in TGSI and the Northern Chronicle) as the MacGregor MS, in order to differentiate between the two. The final chapter examines the evidence contained in the verse of the Gaelic dialect of Aberdeenshire, including lexicon, phonology and morphophonology. Of particular interest here is the collection made by Francis Diack, who recorded much of the verse in his own phonetic spelling, in which he occasionally uses IPA. Also included are two appendices, one of which contains the story of the flight of the Earl of Mar after the battle of Inverlochy, transcribed from Mr. Ronald Campbell, the last native Gaelic speaker in Glen Roy. The other appendix contains information regarding the main sources for Aberdeenshire Gaelic verse.