At Kintyre’s cultural crossroads: William MacMhurchaidh and his heroic ballads

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

The Kintyre scribe and scholar William MacMurchy (died c. 1778) left a number of manuscripts now in the care of the National Library of Scotland. These demonstrate the breadth of his literary interests as well as his own considerable skill as a poet and offer an insight into the Gaelic culture of Kintyre in the middle decades of the eighteenth century. MacMurchy was competent in both the Irish hand and contemporary Roman script, further demonstrating the cultural richness of the environment in which his manuscripts came into being. Among the material contained in the manuscripts are a number of heroic ballads which are significant in a number of ways: one manuscript pre-dates Macpherson’s ‘Ossian’, and the corpus is connected to Kintyre, a district whose geographical location enabled influences from Gaelic Ireland and Gaelic Scotland to mingle. The ballads are well worth considering as texts in their own right and in conjunction with the other material contained in the manuscript, as well as in the context of the wider Gaelic and Irish ballad tradition of the mid-eighteenth century.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFíanaigheacht Workshop
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 29 Mar 2018


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