Cuairt Chaluim Chille St Columba Travels To Kilmartin Opening 2024, Déaglán Ó Doibhlin And Aoibheann Ó Doibhlin Credit CHARTS

Cuairt Chaluim Chille Mhàrtainn // St Columba travels to Kilmartin

This weekend, Cuairt Chaluim Chille travelled from Islay to Kilmartin Glen and the newly refurbished museum. The opening was a great chance to bring together people who have had a positive effect on our Gaelic work here at CHARTS over the last 18 months since our Oifigear Cultair Ghàidhlig began in post.

Our MC was Seumas Domhnallach (James MacDonald Reid), one of Scotland's greatest living storytellers who would grace any event in any place with his vast knowledge of Gaelic lore, which includes an incredible command of traditional tale, song, bagpiping, dance and clothing, as well as the humility to deliver this lore to enwrapped audiences with all the quiet precision of the elderly Gaels from whom he learned himself in the Scottish Highlands of the 1960s and 70s. Seumas delighted our audience with tunes from his set of mini-Highland pipes and stories on everything from clan warfare to man-eating cows!

Our friends Aoibheann Devlin and Déaglan Ó Doibhlin from the Emerald Isle had first encountered Àdhamh on his excursion across the Straits of Moyle in the autumn of 2022 to investigate the possibility of bringing the Columba exhibition over the water. At a clarsach recital in An Cárn Gaelic centre in the foothills of the Sperrins Mountains, Àdhamh had found himself transfixed by Aoibheann's playing of a beautiful iron-strung replica of the Downhill Harp and vowed that he would find a way to invite Aoibheann and the harp to Argyll. Joined by husband Déaglan, who shared much lore from across the way, the connection came full circle with the duo arriving in Kilmartin and the harp finally heard by the gathered host in the museum's foyer, followed by Déaglan's brand new Irish Gaelic verse in honour of Columba and from the perspective of arriving in Argyll for the first time.

The opening was attended by over 30 people, four of whom were elders from the Mid-Argyll region who had grown up around local Gaelic dialect and recognised much of the language they heard in the stories, songs and anecdotes from those on the bill.  Àdhamh told some tales from Kilmartin, translated humorously into English by daughter Caoimhe, which found reference in lore that Déaglan had come across in Ireland as well as in other parts of the Highlands according to Seumas' variations on some of the themes. Àdhamh was also joined by Caoimhe's sister Saorsa, who helped to compose the tune of a revived song she sung with her dad about the Arichonan Clearance.

It was a fantastic evening with a marvellous buffet provided by the Kilmartin kitchen staff, who, along with their colleagues on the night, made CHARTS and our audience very welcome indeed.


Visit the bilingual exhibition (English and Irish Gaelic) on the life of St Columba at Kilmartin Museum until the 23 of April.