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Carmina Gadelica
Hymns and Incantations with illustrative notes on Words, Rites and Customs, dying and obsolete, orally collected in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland and translated into English by Alexander Carmichael. (1928)

This work consists of old lore collected during the last forty-four years. It forms a small part of a large mass of oral literature written down from the recital of men and women throughout the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, from Arran to Caithness, from Perth to St. Kilda.

There is an excellent introduction including a number of wee stories.  The book then goes on to list the variety of Gaelic stories on the left hand page with the English translation on the right.


This work, of which only a limited edition was published in 1900, has long been difficult to get, and at a prohibitive price. The Collector of the Poems and many of those whom he has mentioned in the Introduction have passed to the other side. Important changes for the better have taken place in Highland agriculture and land tenure, and enlightened views on the value and use of Gaelic are now more prevalent. But much literature has been lost which can never be recalled or replaced, and the number of Gaelic speakers has greatly decreased. The present issue contains all the matter in the original volumes. Some misprints have been corrected, and a few unimportant alterations have been made. Deviations from ordinary Gaelic speaking and grammar reflect the language of the reciters.

Volume 1  |  Volume 2  |  Volume 3
Suggest you right click on the link and then "save target as" so you can save it to your local computer.

The Carmichael Watson collection in Edinburgh University Library, centred on the papers of the pioneering folklorist Alexander Carmichael (1832-1912), is the foremost collection of its kind in the country, a treasure-chest of stories, songs, customs, and beliefs from the Gaelic-speaking areas of Scotland. It offers us fundamental insights into the creation of Carmichael's greatest work Carmina Gadelica, an anthology of Hebridean charms, hymns, and songs, and a key text in the 'Celtic Twilight' movement.

The value of the collection goes far beyond literary studies. It offers exciting potential for interdisciplinary cooperation between local and scholarly communities, for collaborative research in history, theology, literary criticism, philology, place-names, archaeology, botany and environmental studies.

Through cataloguing, indexing, transcribing, translating, digitisation, and conservation, this project aims to open up and make accessible this important collection to the academic and broader community.

You can visit the Project web site here

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