The seventh Sir Iain Noble Memorial Lecture was delivered by Murdo Beaton of the Isle of Skye, on Thursday 11 October at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig where he gave a moving lecture entitled, “Ann an làrach coise nan Gaisgeach” (In the Footsteps of Heroes).
Urras an Eilein, in which Murdo is involved, organised four trips to France to visit the graveyards of the First World War and to hold remembrance services, in Gaelic, on the sites where the Gaels had been. They also visited St Valery-en-Caux where the Highland regiments were captured in May 1940, and which left many as prisoners of war in Germany and Poland for five years.
Sabhal Mòr Ostaig Principal, Dr Gillian Rothach said: “We are very honoured to work with Urras an Eilein and Fearann Eilean Iarmain to commemorate Sir Iain’s Gaelic legacy.
It is a particular honour that the lecture this year was given by Murdo Beaton, who knew Sir Iain so well and who worked with him and with others, over the years, to establish and develop the Trust, to benefit Gaelic in Skye.”
In his lecture, Murdo gave us a powerful account of the recent commemorations in France, given in Gaelic, by a group of Skye men and women, of the individuals from our island communities who sacrificed their lives for their families, communities and country. We are proud that, with this lecture in Sir Iain’s memory, we have been able to remember our island heroes and heroines, and their part in bringing about the end of the First World War”.
Speaking personally about the subject matter of the lecture, Murdo said: “The poignancy of the memorial services and the stark realisation of the terrible events we were commemorating will remain with those who were on the tours for the rest of their lives. The sadness of these events cannot be put into words.”
As part of the evening’s proceedings, the second “Skye’s Young Gaelic Person of the Year” award was presented and this year went to Alasdair MacDonald of Kilmoluag.
On receiving the award he commented: “I didn’t expect to receive this award at all. I’m delighted that I was nominated and it’s great to have an award such as this, which encourages young Gaelic speakers to be proud of their language.”
The evening came to a close with a tune on the pipes, played by Dr Angus MacDonald, Glen Uig, which he composed after having visited France with Urras an Eilein.
The annual lecture was started by Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and Urras an Eilein (Skye Gaelic Trust) – two organisations which Sir Iain helped to establish and with which he enjoyed enduring ties during his lifetime – to honour the work and achievements of Sir Iain, especially with regard to the College, the island and the Gaelic language.