Ag Ionndrainn – en

Na h-Eileanan Siar

15 June 2016

Composed by: Mary MacDonald
Researched & performed by: Isabelle Bain

This song was composed by Mary MacDonald who was born in Sulishader, Point on 24th July 1907, the third in a family of nine. Her father was James MacGregor (Seumas Eachainn) of Cnoc an t-Solais in Back and her mother was Christina Murray of Bayble in Point. She married Alan MacDonald of North Tolsta in June 1942 and they settled down and raised a family in Gress; three daughters and a son. She died at the age of 100 in April 2008, while her husband predeceased her in 1985. I don’t know when she composed this song but her family gave me the words when they asked me to sing it at her 100th birthday party.


My thoughts often stray
To the days of my youth,
To the home on the slope of Cnoc Chailein
Where I was brought up as a youngster;
I still like to remember
The company I had when young,
We desired nothing more than
Laughter, dancing and music.

When we would go out to the moor
With the cattle, calves and stock
Bare-footed across the moorland
Finding nests with the brood of every bird;
Among heather, hillocks and rushes
Hearing the sound of the waves on the beach;
Those days have gone,
There is no sign of what was once there

In the home on the slope of Cnoc Chailein.
Where there they had long resided,
The family was friendly and cheery
Around the warm fire;
When I visit Shader
And look at the Bràigh
The tears run from my eyes
As I know I will not see them again.

If I had my mother’s gift for poetry
The verses would be better than those here composed
About my childhood days
Among my relations in that home over there;
There are those I will never meet again,
That is what moved me to compose this poem:
Missing my father and mother
Who would welcome me when I used to come home.

I leave my blessing forever
With the silent bones in the grave;
Much advice I was given as a youngster
Which I will never forget;
We who they left behind
Are now walking this wilderness
Until the end of our days
When we will follow in their footsteps.

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