Please Sign In | Register
Google pluspinterestShare on Stumble UponShare on RedditFacebookShare on Tumblr
TITLE
'Knee Deep in Claret'
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_CAILEAN_MACLEAN
DATE OF RECORDING
2008
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Cailean Maclean
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1270
KEYWORDS
audio
literary landscapes

Get Adobe Flash player

This audio extract is from 'Knee Deep in Claret: A Celebration of Wine in Scotland', by Billy Kay and Cailean Maclean, published in 1983. The title is from a line in one of Robert Burns's ballads, 'The Whistle'. The extract is read here by David McClymont (English) and Norman MacDonald (Gaelic).


'Knee Deep in Claret' - Cailean Maclean and Billy Kay.

'To judge form the numerous allusions to it in literature the use of wine by Gaels reached something of a plateau during the 17th century. Being the nearest source of wine, and because of the continuing political and commercial links between France and Scotland, French wine had become very popular in the Gaidhealtachd. 'Moladh na landaigh' (In Praise of Islay) written by Iain MacPhaideir during the century supports this early preference.

'S'n uair a shuideamaid mu'n bhord
Cha b'e 'm buideal beag ar leòir
Ach togsaid do'n fhion dhearg ar coir
A tighinn a stòr na Frainge

(When we sit about the table
A small flask is not sufficient
Rather a hogshead of red wine
From the French store.)

But French wine did not have the monopoly. It was with Spanish wine and brandy that Iain MacPhaideir drank the health of his love, despite adding, somewhat apologetically, his fear of the consequences.

Dh'olainn, a ghaoil, do dheoch-slainte
a dh'fhion no bhrandaidh na Spainnte
Ged a dh'fhagadh e mi tinn

(My love I would drink your health
On Spanish wine or brandy
Though it may leave me poorly.)

Mairi Nighean Alasdair recalls a love song in which a Spanish ship was seen breaking up on the shore, its cargo of hogsheads being smashed by the waves and the wine tainting the sea water.

Gaelic mythology reckons the Celts to be a pure-blooded race of Spanish origin which migrated northwards. With pure-blooded being given as 'wine blooded' in Gaelic (Fion-fhuil) we can only wonder whether all the wine imagery in literature actually concerns the product of the Spanish vine or whether it is a re-affirmation of the origin of the species! Most of the wine came from France so it may be that the bards were confusing their geography for poetic and historic effect.'

Cailean Maclean was born and brought up in the Outer Hebrides but now lives in the Isle of Skye. Graduating with an MA from Aberdeen University, he worked initially as a geography teacher but then moved into Community Education. In 1985 he became a producer with Radio nan Gàidheal based at their studio in Portree, Isle of Skye. After seven years with Radio nan Gàidheal Cailean decided to go freelance and since then he has combined broadcasting on radio and television with writing, publishing and photography.

Cailean set up Maclean Press with Roger Miket and over a period of years published a couple of dozen titles. He co-wrote 'Knee Deep in Claret' with Billy Kay and has published several books of photographs. Cailean is also partner in Macmeanmna, a Skye-based record company specialising in Gaelic and traditional music whose catalogue includes fifty titles.

For guidance on the use of images and other content, please see the Terms and Conditions page.
High Life Highland is a company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland No. SC407011 and is a registered Scottish charity No. SC042593
Powered by Capture

'Knee Deep in Claret'

2000s

audio; literary landscapes

Am Baile

Literary Landscapes: Cailean Maclean

This audio extract is from 'Knee Deep in Claret: A Celebration of Wine in Scotland', by Billy Kay and Cailean Maclean, published in 1983. The title is from a line in one of Robert Burns's ballads, 'The Whistle'. The extract is read here by David McClymont (English) and Norman MacDonald (Gaelic).<br /> <br /> <br /> 'Knee Deep in Claret' - Cailean Maclean and Billy Kay.<br /> <br /> 'To judge form the numerous allusions to it in literature the use of wine by Gaels reached something of a plateau during the 17th century. Being the nearest source of wine, and because of the continuing political and commercial links between France and Scotland, French wine had become very popular in the Gaidhealtachd. 'Moladh na landaigh' (In Praise of Islay) written by Iain MacPhaideir during the century supports this early preference.<br /> <br /> 'S'n uair a shuideamaid mu'n bhord<br /> Cha b'e 'm buideal beag ar leòir<br /> Ach togsaid do'n fhion dhearg ar coir<br /> A tighinn a stòr na Frainge<br /> <br /> (When we sit about the table<br /> A small flask is not sufficient<br /> Rather a hogshead of red wine<br /> From the French store.)<br /> <br /> But French wine did not have the monopoly. It was with Spanish wine and brandy that Iain MacPhaideir drank the health of his love, despite adding, somewhat apologetically, his fear of the consequences.<br /> <br /> Dh'olainn, a ghaoil, do dheoch-slainte<br /> a dh'fhion no bhrandaidh na Spainnte<br /> Ged a dh'fhagadh e mi tinn<br /> <br /> (My love I would drink your health<br /> On Spanish wine or brandy<br /> Though it may leave me poorly.)<br /> <br /> Mairi Nighean Alasdair recalls a love song in which a Spanish ship was seen breaking up on the shore, its cargo of hogsheads being smashed by the waves and the wine tainting the sea water.<br /> <br /> Gaelic mythology reckons the Celts to be a pure-blooded race of Spanish origin which migrated northwards. With pure-blooded being given as 'wine blooded' in Gaelic (Fion-fhuil) we can only wonder whether all the wine imagery in literature actually concerns the product of the Spanish vine or whether it is a re-affirmation of the origin of the species! Most of the wine came from France so it may be that the bards were confusing their geography for poetic and historic effect.'<br /> <br /> Cailean Maclean was born and brought up in the Outer Hebrides but now lives in the Isle of Skye. Graduating with an MA from Aberdeen University, he worked initially as a geography teacher but then moved into Community Education. In 1985 he became a producer with Radio nan Gàidheal based at their studio in Portree, Isle of Skye. After seven years with Radio nan Gàidheal Cailean decided to go freelance and since then he has combined broadcasting on radio and television with writing, publishing and photography.<br /> <br /> Cailean set up Maclean Press with Roger Miket and over a period of years published a couple of dozen titles. He co-wrote 'Knee Deep in Claret' with Billy Kay and has published several books of photographs. Cailean is also partner in Macmeanmna, a Skye-based record company specialising in Gaelic and traditional music whose catalogue includes fifty titles.