View archival description

Collection GD10 - Folklore notebooks of Donald Macdonald, Eriskay

Identity area

Reference code

GB3002 GD10


Folklore notebooks of Donald Macdonald, Eriskay


  • 1934, 1980 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

5 notebooks; 1 manuscript note

Context area

Name of creator

Donald MacDonald (Dòmhnall MacDhòmhnaill) (8 May 1912-23 May 1989) (8 May 1912-23 May 1989)

Biographical history

Donald MacDonald was born in Eriskay on 8 May 1912, the eldest of fourteen children of Hector MacDonald, fisherman, from Eriskay (Eachann mac Dhòmhnaill 'ic Aonghais 'ic Eoghainn 'ic Eachainn 'ic Dhòmhnaill Chruinn, 1880-1960), and of his wife Kate MacKenzie from Uist (Ceit Maiseig, 1890-1982). He was educated at Eriskay School, Daliburgh Junior Secondary School, Lochaber High School and Glasgow University (MA in Latin and Gaelic, 1935), followed by a year’s teacher training at Jordanhill College. He then taught in Barra for 11 years, initially at Eoligarry (1936-37) and then for 10 years at Castlebay. In 1947 he returned to Eriskay as headmaster.

In 1949 he married Kate MacKinnon from Barra (Ceit Nìll 'Illeasbaig Nìll Eòin, b.1922). They had four children. He retired in 1977 and was awarded the Silver Jubilee Medal by the Queen. He died on 23 May 1989 and is buried in Eriskay.

MacDonald won the Bardic Crown at the National Mòd in Inverness in 1949 for the poem 'An Ròn'. One of his most popular poems is 'Òran na Politician'.

In summer 1933, while a student, he had collected traditional stories in Eriskay for Trinity College, Dublin. He carried out similar work in Uist in 1934 for An Comunn Gàidhealach, some of the results of which were published in An Comunn’s journal 'An Gaidheal' from 1940.

The stories in these notebooks were collected from Effie Currie. According to the articles in 'An Gaidheal’ she was from Leth Mheadhanach (South Boisdale), and was known as Oighrig Ruadh or Oighrig Eòghainn.

Archival history

There is an accompanying note deposited with the notebooks from Calum Macleod of An Comunn Gàidhealach explaining that the five notebooks had been given by An Comunn Gàidhealach to the Very Rev. Dr T.M Murchison of Glasgow to check on some parts of them. He had handed them back to ACG’s Glasgow office in December 1980. Rev. Murchison believed that all the tales from the notebooks had been published in ‘An Gaidheal’ during the Rev. Malcolm MacLeod’s editorship. They were then at some point transferred to Stornoway Library.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Stornoway Library

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Folklore notebooks 1934; manuscript note 1980

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Arranged within series. Within series, records are arranged chronologically.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access


Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English
  • Scottish Gaelic

Script of material

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Paper volumes

Finding aids

A digital and manual item level catalogue is available within the searchroom of Tasglann nan Eilean Siar

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Notes area

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion




Rights area

Accession area