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23 Nov 2018

Canna celebrates National Gaelic Awards win

This video was created by the Daily Record and shown at the National Gaelic Awards.
The St Columba Symposium event, which was organised on the Isle of Canna this summer by Fiona MacKenzie, Canna House Manager and Archivist, won Event of the Year at this year’s National Gaelic Awards held in Glasgow on 14 November.
Fiona Mackenzie receiving the award
Fiona Mackenzie receiving the award

The ‘Ceangal Cholm Chille’ (St Columba’s) Symposium took place on the Isle of Canna on 9 June 2018 – St Columba’s Day.

The 60 symposium participants, who included Gaelic speakers, Gaelige speakers and English speakers, were piped off the Loch Nevis ferry by piper Angus Binnie before proceeding to the Shearing Shed for refreshments. Throughout the day Gaelic and Gaelige were used at every opportunity.

The participants at the Canna Symposium
The participants at the Canna Symposium

The day’s proceedings began in the St Columba Chapel with a Gaelic hymn, before Rob Dunbar, Professor of Celtic at University of Edinburgh, gave a lecture on ‘The Campbells, Canna and Columba: Literary and Historical Connections’. Derek Alexander, the Trust’s Head of Archaeological Services, then talked about ‘Chapels, crosses and curses: the early Christian archaeology of Canna’. A plenary paper was delivered by Dr Rebecca Rennell, Archaeology Institute, University of the Highlands and Islands, entitled ‘O’er the perilous path of the sea – prehistoric island connections between Eire and Alba: A contextual, island-approach to assessing Canna’s archaeological research potential’. This was followed by Mary Ann Kennedy, Watercolour Music, Ardgour, who gave another plenary paper on ‘Aon Teanga – Càirdeas Às Ùr Eadar Cànan nan Trì Dùthchannan Gàidhlig: One Tongue – Re-uniting the Language of the Three Gaelic Nations’.

The most significant announcement of the day was from Professor Rob Dunbar, who presented unrefuted and tangible evidence that Canna was indeed the ‘summer home’ of St Columba. This means that Canna is as important historically and archaeologically as Iona and the potential for further research is considerable.

The Celtic cross on Canna
The Celtic cross on Canna

After lunch, there was an exhibition of Canna Collection films, a blessing by Professor Hugh Cheape and a ranger-led guided walk to the Celtic cross at A’Chill, the site of the Columban Monastery. A Columban blessing was given here by Bishop Brian MacGee, Bishop of Argyll, followed by the island community singing Laoidh Chaluim Cille, led by Fiona Mackenzie, Canna House Manager and Archivist.

A reception and prize giving was held in Canna House Garden, where the Colm Cille Bursaries were handed out by Professor Hugh Cheape to the two recipients – Fionnan MacGhabhann (UCD) and Mairead Morgan (UHI). Participants were then led back to the ferry for the evening departures.

Those participants who stayed attended an excellent ceilidh in the evening in the Shearing Shed.

The Event of the Year award
The Event of the Year award

The event was covered on BBC Alba’s An La on two separate evenings and also received national press coverage.

We’re delighted to have won this prestigious award and would like to thank the Board of the Campbell Discretionary Fund and Bord na Gàidhlig for the financial assistance which made this project possible.

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