Remembering the Ross: Celebrations and Ceilidhs

romhc Thursday, 29 November 2018

A smaller number came to our recent "Remembering the Ross" gathering on November 28th at Creich Hall (possibly weather-related), led by Jan Sutch Pickard. Maimie Brunton,  Euphie Wood and Effie Cruden were yet again a fascinating source of remembrances and stories.

The theme was celebrations and ceilidhs (we had hoped to have one of the plays written by Maimie when a teacher, but they are in such a safe place that they haven’t turned up yet!). The ‘mystery object’ was a pipe rack (recognised by several people including Terry Hegarty who made one in woodwork). This was the cue for a story about Mary MacDonald, one of the poets of the Ross, who wrote a long poem about the addiction of local men (including her husband) to tobacco.

We were sitting round a roaring fire and also also lit a candle in a sturdy practical candle holder donated to the Historical Centre from the croft at Harbour.

Memories were shared about impromptu celidhs as folk visited each others’ houses, but also parties organised by the school in Bunessan Hall. More formal events would often include recitations. Euphie remembered a prayer ‘Matthew Mark, Luke and John, bless the bed I lie upon...’  Cathy Adam, who grew up in Tiroran, went away for her working life and retired to live just outside Bunessan, left the Historical Centre a collection of poetry books (‘She loved poetry’) and members of the group read some which could well have been ceilidh or concert recitations, learned by heart:

‘Nobody knows but mother’ from Select Readings and Recitations.
‘Memories of Mull’ from Angus Macintyre’s Ceilidh Collection.
And three poems from Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses.

There were also lively stories told by Maimie about going to Sunday School from Carsaig, in a wheelbarrow, and a previous generation poaching down at Lochbuie and Croggan.

We began and ended with music: from a CD of a ceilidh at the Argyll Arms, and from the new CD Aran Sean is Og, with Alasdair Whyte, Robert Robertson, Ross Wilson, Alasdair Turner and Fergus Munro, recorded at An Tobar and available from there (highly recommended).

Throughout the afternoon we were regaled with tea and cake by the ‘Library ladies’. Thank you for the welcome given to our own little fireside ceilidh!

Jan Sutch Pickard


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The Ross of Mull is an extraordinary microcosm of all that draws visitors to the Hebridean Islands. The scenery, as you travel along the single-track road from the ferry at Craignure is breath-taking. You experience in the many walks in the area a true sense of wilderness; the secret bays with their beaches of silvery sand, the abundance of wildlife and the innumerable marks on the landscape of the lives of past generations and communities long gone. The Ross of Mull is a compelling place for anyone fascinated by history and the ancient way of life of the Gaelic people.

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