JOHN MURRAY: Reading the Gaelic Landscape

Leughadh Aghaidh na Tìre

How many people have loo232ked at a map of the Highlands and been intrigued and yet felt excluded by the profusion and strangeness of the place names recorded?  What do these names mean and what do they tell us about the land and the history that is locked-up in it?

In opening up this vast linguistic resource, John Murray’s Reading the Gaelic Landscape reveals depths, dimensions and perspectives on place and the relationship our ancestors had with the land.

In his illustrated talk he takes a unique and comprehensive approach, as he expands and categorises current place-name vocabulary with commentaries on Gaelic ecology, culture and landscape,  grouped according to whether they describe plants, animals, physical or man-made features.

Specific themes explored include how Gaelic poets like Sorley MacLean and Duncan Bàn MacIntyre used Highland landscape symbolically in their work. The lyrical tradition of the shieling and Fingalian legend is connected in this way as well.  Place names are also used to speculate about species extinctions and the history of the mythical Caledonian Forest.

Chaired by former Proiseact nan Ealan Director and current Chair of UNESCO in Scotland, Malcolm Maclean





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