Sea-memorates in the manuscripts of Alexander Carmichael

  • Donald Stewart (Speaker)

Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk


This paper examines sea-memorates - anecdotes and reminscences connected with the sea - recorded by the Hebridean folklorist Alexander Carmichael (1832-1912), especially those he wrote down during his time in the Outer Hebrides between 1864 and 1882. I shall focus both on both 'worldly' events, such as fishing for the cearban or basking shark; and on otherworldly occurrences, especially encounters with supernatural creatures such as crodh mara (sea-cattle) and mermaids. Firstly, the paper points up how supernatural sea creatures have their analogues on land; secondly, it stresses that, when shorn of their 'paranormal' elements, such anecdotes can provide valuable historical evidence for islanders' practices regarding the sea in the second half of the nineteenth century.
PeriodApr 2011
Held atUniversity of Ulster, United Kingdom