An Dàn CD Lyrics

T6: Dàn Ùr do Fhlòraidh NicNìll (A New Song for Flora MacNeil)

Catriona Montgomery: Mary Ann Kennedy

“But were it not for the storm, Flora, would we ever see a primrose?
Indeed, most carefully should we pick life’s delicate flowers.”

My mother’s cousin Catriona remembers being in Downpatrick once, with the great Gaelic singer and tradition bearer Flora MacNeil, as part of the regular exchanges between Scottish and Irish Gaelic poets and musicians. Catriona watched Flora as she started picking and storing the local primroses. She explained to Catriona that she would transplant them around her house in Barra. Then, during stormy weather, with her nose pressed up against the window, beaten by heavy rain or hail, Flora would look forward to what would eventually follow - going out, picking primroses and sniffing them to raise her spirits.

In effect, Flora herself was the inspiration of the poem, published in Rè na h-Oidhche in 1994. Its beautiful,  elegiac qualities were heard again at Flora's Requiem Mass in 2016, read by Flora’s grand-daughter, Sileas. According to Flora’s family, “The primrose was our mum's favourite flower and they are plentiful on Barra in spring. This poem from her dear friend Catriona is a fitting and moving tribute". 

From one family of language and song to another, with love.

T6: Dàn Ùr do Fhlòraidh NicNìll

Caitrìona NicGumaraid: Màiri Anna NicUalraig

“Ach mura b’ e an gailleann, a Fhlòraidh, am faiceadh sinn sòbhrach rir maireann?
Ach gu cinnteach ’s ann gu faiceallach a bu chòir dhuinn bhith buain nam flùr meata nar beatha.”

Bha gu leòr de mhuinntir na h-Èireann an làthair san eaglais an Glaschu an latha sin – comhtharra air a’ mheas mhòr a bh’ aca oirre air taobh eile Sruth na Maoile. Bha Peadar Ó Riada is buill de Chór Chúil Aodha air moch-èirigh a dhèanamh son siubhal à earradheas Èirinn a bhi ann, ach a-mhàin gun deach dàil a chur orra sa phort-adhair. Sinne a bha fortanach gu leòr a bhi a-measg an fheadhainn mu dheireadh a’ fàgail na h-eaglaise, chuala sinn iad gu h-àrd mu thimchioll an òrgain – ged a ràinig iad air dheireadh, sheinn iad gu h-aona-ghuthach, làn-chridheach, a’ cheart cho math

 

Nuair a bhiodh an dìl ann,
bu tric do shùil air an uinneig,
do chridhe a’ plosgartaich daonnan
a’ faicinn siabadh na mara,
a’ chlach-mheallain gu dian ann –
b’ e siud do chiad chuimhne.

Ach nuair a bhuaineadh tu sòbhrach
readh a pògadh ’s a’ snòtach as t-earrach.
Nach snaidhte ri chèile
bròn is sòlas nar beatha.

Nuair a bhiodh an dìl ann,
bu tric do shùil air an uinneig,
do chridhe a’ plosgartaich daonnan
a’ faicinn siabadh na mara,
a’ chlach-mheallain gu dian ann –
b’ e siud do chiad chuimhne air Barraigh.

Ach mura b’ e an gailleann, a Fhlòraidh,
am faiceadh sinn sòbhrach rir maireann:
Ach gu cinnteach ’s ann
gu faiceallach a bu chòir dhuinn
bhith buain nam flùr meata nar beatha.


When there was deluge
your eye would often be at the window,
your heart palpitating
as you watched the raging sea,
the hailstones battering …
that was your first memory of Barra.

But when you picked a primrose
it would be sniffed and kissed in spring.
Are not joy and sorrow
strangely intertwined in our lives?

When there was deluge
your eye would often be at the window,
your heart palpitating
as you watched the raging sea,
the hailstones battering …
that was your first memory of Barra.

But were it not for the storm, Flora,
would we ever see a primrose?
Indeed, most carefully

should we pick life’s delicate flowers