Scottish Proverbs

Jan 31, 2016 by

Scottish Proverbs

Scottish proverbs often seem simplistic at first glance.

Behind the humble words, however, lies a wealth of wisdom and Celtic “can-do” attitude.

Here are a few of my favorite Gaelic Scottish proverbs:

Scottish proverbs

 

In other words, whatever is worth having will take effort to obtain.

There are many examples of how this Scottish proverb applies in life:

finding your soul mate, providing for yourself and your family, achieving Scotland’s freedom from English rule, to name just a few.

Scottish proverbs in Gaelic

This Scottish proverb speaks to the need to always be prepared

Invasion from England and Vikings was a constant threat to Scots for many hundreds of years.  Putting aside the sword for the plough could spell disaster for the clan. Generations later, the wisdom behind the words still rings true, and not just in military situations.

Scottish proverbs for love and romance

This Gaelic phrase is the Scottish proverb equivalent of saying that the course of true love never runs smooth

The illustration is from a 1906 childrens’ book of English history.  It depicts the sad parting of Flora MacDonald and Bonnie Prince Charlie, as he was fleeing the English after Culloden. The romance between Flora and Charles has been greatly embellished over time, and may never have happened at all.

Actual partings of loved ones, however, was a harsh reality for many Scottish Highlanders and Islanders over the centuries.  Whether their men left in search of jobs to earn desperately needed money, or were forcibly removed to an English prison, Scottish women knew well the heartache of separation.

For a fictionalized version of romantic Scottish misery, check out Outlander, the book, by Diana Gabaldon, or the cable series Outlander, based on Gabaldon’s books.

Of course, we all know that this Scottish proverb holds true in the modern world.  As the first proverb above implies, however, sometimes the reward is worth the risk.

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Happy Valentine’s Day, Sassenach!

Feb 13, 2014 by

I’m sure Sam Heughan is too busy filming the last episodes of Outlander, Season One, to send his legions of fans a Valentine card, so I thought I’d help out.

You are really getting TWO Valentine’s Day gifts with this meme:  a sweet card and yummy Scottish eye candy!

indexsamvalentine

 

~Want to hear Sam say Sassenach ? Of course you do!

 


 

~How does Sam say mo nighean donn (Scots Gaelic for “my brown haired lass”)?

 

 

 

~Ye need not be scairt of me,” he said softly. “Nor of anyone here, so long as I’m with ye.” – chapter 4, Outlander :

 

 

 

Still not sure why so many people are in love with a fictional guy named Jamie?   Read this informative and FUNNY blog post from the ladies at That’s Normal:

The Best of Jamie Fraser: the ultimate book boyfriend

 

AND see some of my previous posts on Outlander  HERE and  HERE and  HERE.

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Imbolc and the Feast of Saint Brigid

Feb 1, 2014 by

February 1st is celebrated by Christians as the feast day of Saint Brigid of Kildare (Irish: Naomh Bríd; c. 451–525), one of the patron saints of Ireland.  Her name is spelled in various ways, including Brigit, Bridget, Bridgit, Bríd, and Bride, and she is sometimes called “Mary of the Gaels” in Ireland.   The Irish refer to the day as St Brighid’s Day or Lá Fhéile Bríde ( Irish Gaelic), but the pagan origins of the feast lie in the ancient Gaelic festival of Imbolc or Imbolg (pronounced i-MOLK or i-MOLG ), an event that was connected to the goddess Brighid, the daughter of the Dagda and one of the Tuatha Dé Danann.   Today, pagans and Christians still observe this special day at the beginning of February, a feast marking the midway point between winter and spring.

St. Bride by John McKirdy Duncan; 1913; National Galleries of Scotland (Scotland); tempera on canvas.

St. Bride by John McKirdy Duncan; 1913; National Galleries of Scotland (Scotland); tempera on canvas.

The goddess Brigid is considered the patroness of poetry, fertility, smithing, medicine, arts and crafts, cattle and other livestock, and spring.   Along with these attributes, she also is associated with fire and light, and is frequently depicted holding a flame or candle.   Arrows, bells, thresholds and doorways are also included in Brigid symbolism.  After Ireland was Christianized, many people refused to give up their ancient reverence for the goddess, despite pressure from church authorities.   Eventually, a sort of combined festival emerged, with elements from both the pagan and Christian influences.  Brighid’s crosses (usually handwoven of rushes) and a doll-like figure of Brighid, called a Brídeóg, would be carried from house-to-house.   To receive her blessings, people would make a bed for Brighid and leave her food and drink, while items of clothing would be left outside for her to bless.   Holy wells were visited at Imbolc and it was seen as an opportune time for divination.

I have several Saint Brigid’s crosses in my home, some made long ago that have been handed down.   To learn how to make a simple Brigid’s cross, try this video:

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Here’s Looking At You, Sam

Jan 28, 2014 by

 For many Outlander fans, scanning social media for news and photos from the Scottish production set has become a daily event.    After all, it’s winter here in the western hemisphere, cold weather and snow are keeping many of us housebound, and the debut of Jamie and Clare’s onscreen love affair seems too far away to even contemplate.  At the risk of being labeled a “middle-age housewife” breathily caught up in Outlander’s Harlequin Romance-esque plotby Variety (read the reporter’s snarky review HERE), I must say I look forward to these goodies from Starz.  

 

Of all the fictional fantasies, in all the books, in all the world...

Of all the fictional fantasies, in all the books, in all the world…

Starz must have heard my middle-aged cries in the wilderness because they just released a new version of the Outlander trailer, with the audio equivalent of a fun-size candy bar at the end.   Even better, there’s a new Scots Gaelic Outlander lesson in pronouncing mo nighean donn , a term of endearment used by Jamie for Claire, meaning “my brown-haired lass.”  Now, THIS is something I can sink my teeth into, like a bar of rich, dark chocolate, the kind that has those little bits of orange zest inside.

Sam Heughan,  this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

 

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Scotland’s Red Haired Robin Hood

Dec 28, 2013 by

On December 28, 1734, the famous 18th century Scottish outlaw, Rob Roy MacGregor, died at his home in Inverlochlarig Beg, on the Braes of Balquhidder, Scotland.  Raibeart Ruadh MacGriogair, as Roy is known in Scots Gaelic, Ruadh being the Scots word for “red-haired”, was truly a legend in his own time, and is often called the Scottish Robin Hood.

 

Robert Roy MacGregor

Robert Roy MacGregor

Rob Roy was born at Glengyle, at the head of Loch Katrine, in 1671 and married Mary Helen MacGregor of Comar in 1693. Like many of his clansmen, Roy was a strong supporter of the Jacobite cause. At the age of 18, he fought alongside his father in the failed Jacobite uprising of 1689 led by Viscount Dundee, and was badly wounded at the Battle of Glen Shiel in 1719, in which a British army of Scots and English defeated a Jacobite and Spanish expedition that aimed to restore the Stuart monarchy.

He spent most of his later life waging a feud against James Graham, 1st Duke of Montrose, who succeeded in entangling Roy in debt that ruined him. After defaulting on a loan for cattle, Roy was branded an outlaw, his lands were seized, his family evicted and his house was burned down. His blood feud with Montrose continued until 1722, when Roy was forced to surrender and then imprisoned. He was finally pardoned in 1727. There is an alternative argument that the MacGregor lands were not seized for non-payment of debts, but rather for Roy’s participation in the Jacobite Uprising of 1715. Under this version of events, Montrose then bought the MacGregor lands in 1720 from Crown agents. There may be some credence to this view because Rob Roy and the whole of the Clan Gregor were specifically excluded from the benefits of the Indemnity Act 1717,  which pardoned all others who took part in the Jacobite rising of 1715.

Beginning with the publication of The Highland Rogue in 1723, allegedly written by Daniel De Foe, the legend of Rob Roy has been spread through numerous stories, poems, books and films. Sir Walter Scott’s Rob Roy, published on Hogmanay in 1817, was a huge success with the public, becoming the equivalent of a New York Times bestseller.  Berlioz composed an overture based on Scott’s story of Rob Roy, Wordsworth wrote a poem about Roy and a whisky cocktail was created in Roy’s honor in 1894:

Of course, no hero is truly legend unless he has a Disney movie about his life, and the Mouse obliged in 1953 with the film Rob Roy: The Highland Rogue.  

The film most associated with Rob Roy, however, is the 1995 film starring Liam Neeson as Roy and Jessica Lange as his wife, Mary:

 

Tim Roth plays the evil Archibald Cunningham, Montrose’s henchman, who gets his comeuppance from Roy in what is widely considered to be one of the greatest sword fights ever filmed:

 

A skillful and fitting end to a Montrose enemy that would have made the real Rob Roy MacGregor proud.

 

Sources:

Oxford DNB.com

Wikipedia.com

 

 

 

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Ancient Irish Maxims and Football Game Sundays

Nov 23, 2013 by

Hosting the big game at your house Sunday?

A Rightful Leader Provides Ale Every Sunday--ancient Irish maxim

A Rightful Leader Provides Ale Every Sunday–ancient Irish maxim

“A rightful Celtic leader provides ale every Sunday–especially football Sundays. “


~ancient WESCelt maxim

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