‘S e Tiriodh an t-Eilean as Bòidhche fon Ghrèin

Composed by: Neil MacLaine, (Niall an Tàilleir)

Researched and performed by: Anna and Jamie MacDonald

This song was composed by Neil MacLaine, Niall an Tàilleir, from Caolas. He composed a significant body of work, some of which can be seen in the book, ‘The Tiree Bards’. He was a relation of John MacLean, Bàrd Thighearna Cholla (the Bard of the Laird of Coll). There is an attractive memorial stone on his grave in the little cemetery at Kirkapol erected by the Tiree Association. We learnt this song from our auntie Floraidh MacPhail who found it amongst family papers. 
 


 

Tiree is the most beautiful island under the sun,
Tiree is the island where I was brought up,
Tiree is the island dear to my heart
As I said goodbye to it yesterday morning.

Passing by Caolas thoughts came to mind
Which I couldn’t call out to the others;
The boat passed Port Loch an Àir
As I said goodbye to it on the Tuesday morning.

This island is twelve miles long,
It is more than three quarterlands across,
There are more than sixty sturdy skippers
Who steer boats to distant lands.

In the early May morning before the dew goes
The lark is in the sky singing her song,
The brindled, striped bee springs to each flower
And the scent of honey will be in the Hidden Fank at Dùn

Dear to me is every hollow, cliff and hill,
Every meadow and little bay which I once knew so well;
They remind me of the conversations of the carefree youths
Who would be gambolling with me across the slopes.

But the friends of my youth are no longer with me;
Some were exiled by force overseas,
Others are sailing on the high-masted ships
And others in the grave will never stir again.

My father and mother are in the churchyard together;
That’s the island most precious to me under the sun,
And if I get my wish and all goes as planned
That’s the place where I will be buried when my race is run.

Tiree is the most beautiful island under the sun,
Tiree is the island where I was brought up,
Tiree is the island dear to my heart
As I said goodbye to it yesterday morning.

 

Funders