Traditional Ancestry

Sinnsear Seanachuimhneach


Beautiful Gaelic melodies such as this one by Julie Fowlis must have been sung about many a Clan Donald maiden whose love was on the high seas.  A great deal about Gaelic (or Celtic) culture may be learned from just this one traditional song.  The translation reveals that it was usually sung by a man who sings his admiration of a woman yearning for her love who is at sea.  The lyrics go on about her tearful prayer her love would be protected at sea before the last verse in which the singer reveals himself as her love who has returned from the sea!

Upon reading the English translation my first reaction was that the sailor was lucky she didn’t know how inconsiderate he had been waiting to reveal himself.  Then I tried to see it from the sailor’s point of view.  What would be of most worth to a sailor away at sea?  Knowing his love was faithfully waiting for his safe return.  This becomes much more than just a beautiful melody if you picture the comfort a sailor would have from singing this song while at sea.  The sailor is still fortunate.

Tha Mo Ghaol Air Àird A’ Chuain à “Cróga”

“My love is on the high seas” from the new Pixar movie  “Brave”

Gàidhlig Lyrics: /                                         / English Translation:

Feasgar ciùin an tùs a’ Chèitein                 On a quiet evening at the beginning of May

Nuair bha ‘n ialtag anns na speuran           When the bat was in the skies

Chualaim rìbhinn òg ‘s i deurach             I heard a tearful young maiden

‘Seinn fo sgàil nan geugan uain’                Singing beneath the shadow of the green branches

Bha a’ ghrian ‘sa chuan gu sìoladh            The sun was setting in the sea

‘S reult cha d’ èirich anns an iarmailt        And no stars yet graced the sky

Nuair a sheinn an òigh gu cianail              When the young girl sang sorrowfully

“Tha mo ghaol air àird a’ chuain”             “My love is on the high seas”

Thòisich dealt na h-oidhch’ ri tùirling           The night’s dew began to fall

‘S lùb am braon gu caoin na flùrain         Each bloom yielding softly to the droplets

Shèid a’ ghaoth ‘na h-oiteig chùbhraidh  The wind blew in a fragrant breeze

Beatha ‘s ùrachd do gach cluan               Bringing life and renewal to each field

Ghleus an nighneag fonn a h-òrain         The girl tunefully sang her song

Sèimh is ciùin mar dhriùchd an Òg-mhìos  Quiet and peaceful like the June dew

‘S bha an t-sèisd seo ‘g èirigh ‘n còmhnaidh And this chorus constantly repeated

“Tha mo ghaol air àird a’ chuain”           “My love is on the high seas”

Chiar an latha is dheàrrs’ na reultan        Day darkened and the stars shone

Sheòl an rè measg neul nan speuran       Setting their course amongst the clouds

Shuidh an òigh, bha ‘bròn ‘ga lèireadh    The maiden sat, burdened by her sadness

‘S cha robh dèigh air tàmh no suain        Her singing could not have been more soothing

Theann mi faisg air reult nan òg-bhean  I moved closer to the young woman

Sheinn mu ‘gaol air chuan ‘bha seòladh   Singing of her love sailing on the sea

O bu bhinn a caoidhrean brònach            Oh sweet was her sad lament

“Tha mo ghaol air àird a’ chuain”           “My love is on the high seas”

Rinn an ceòl le deòin mo thàladh            The music enticed me

Dlùth do rìbinn donn nam blàth-shul      Nearer to the brown-haired maiden of the warm eyes

‘S i ag ùrnaigh ris an Àrd-Rìgh               And she prayed to the King of Heaven

“Dìon mo ghràdh ‘th’ air àird a’ chuain” “Protect my love on the high seas”

Bha a cridh’ le gaol gu sgàineadh           Her heart was breaking with love

Nuair a ghlac mi fhèin air làimh i         When I took her by the hand

“Siab do dheòir, do ghaol tha sàbhailt ” Wipe your eyes, your love is safe

Thill mi slàn bhàrr àird a’ chuain           ” I have returned to you from the high seas”


Several ancient Irish Annals that verify the Celtic ancestry of Somerled are now available at the Internet site for the School of Celtic Studies Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.


Documentation Clan Donald is Celtic

Excerpts from the Annals of the Four Masters

Clan Donald Ancestors in The Annals of Ulster