Os Mo Chionn Sheinn an Uiseag .... A Souvenir of Great Yarmouth

A Souvenir of Great Yarmouth

Written by Eric John MacDonald 

Os Mo Chionn Sheinn an Uiseag ("the lark above me singing"), and the English version, A Souvenir of Great Yarmouth, tell the life story of Mairi, now in her 70s and resident in a care unit, as she looks back to her younger days as one of the 'Herring Girls'.   

Herring fishing was the bedrock of the economy for many coastal towns from Lerwick in the North to Great Yarmouth in the South. From the mid 19th century until its decline and eventual collapse in the years after the 2nd World War. Fortunes were made by a lucky few whilst thousands of others made the bare minimum of a living working in the industry. Women like Mairi, employed as gutters and packers, followed the fishing fleet around the country, season after season until the boom became a bust and they were no longer needed. A familiar story?
Based on extensive interviews with the last surviving Herring Girls, the play incorporates traditional songs and visual imagery into the telling of a life story.Mairi has regrets but no trace of self-pity; rather she has an air of defiance, dignity and indomitable good humour as she looks back on a life well lived. 

The play has been performed in Gaelic at venues throughout the islands including Stornoway, Shawbost, Carloway, Ness and Eriskay, and was broadcast on Radio Nan Gaidheal on New Years Eve 2011.  See the full list of past performances click here.

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Inspiration for Os Mo Chionn Sheinn an Uiseag

Pictures courtesy of Stornoway Historical Society, Comann Eachdraidh Uig, Comann Eachdraidh na Pairc. Copyright reserved; please contact us for info.


Written by Alasdair a’ Bhocsair Campbell

RehearsalIn a Saturday morning courtoom, two Leodhasachs relate their eventful account of a trip to Skye. But the court officials have other things on their mind. 

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