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“The Gaelic newspaper Mac-Talla and Gaelic networks in the Maritimes,"

Public lecture by Professor Michael D. Linkletter, St. Francis Xavier University,

Macphail Homestead, 2PM, Saturday, 20 August 2016.

The Sir Andrew Macphail Homestead Foundation (Urras Baile an Urramaich Anndra MhicPhàil) is delighted to announce a public lecture by Professor Michael Linkletter, Sister Saint Veronica Chair in Gaelic Studies and Head of the Celtic Department, St. Francis Xavier University on Saturday, 20 August 2016 at 2PM. The talk entitled, “The Gaelic newspaper Mac-Talla and Gaelic networks in the Maritimes,” explores the role of the popular newspaper, once a mainstay for information in many Prince Edward Island Gaelic-speaking households, in forging further communication and self-awareness between Scottish Gaelic speakers in Cape Breton Island, Eastern Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island and beyond. Mac-Talla, published in Cape Breton, 1892-1904, is noted for being one of the longest running periodicals in the Gaelic language. The editor, Jonathan MacKinnon (1869-1944) born near Whycocomagh, Cape Breton was a long-time friend and correspondent of Rev. Alexander Maclean Sinclair (1840-1924) born in Glen Bard (Gleann a' Bhàird), Nova Scotia and Presbyterian Minister at Belfast, Prince Edward Island (1888-1906), who contributed over 80 items to the paper. MacKinnon confided in Maclean Sinclair about an exchange he had had with important local tradition bearer Alexander “the Ridge” MacDonald (1823-1904) of Antigonish County, Nova Scotia in which MacDonald had complained to MacKinnon about altering a piece of poetry he had submitted to his paper. The interaction between these three men, as represented in Mac-Talla and in personal correspondence, illustrates the important networks, influences and counter-influences among members of the Gaelic community of the Maritimes in the nineteenth century.

Professor Michael Linkletter was born in Summerside, PEI and raised in the nearby community of Linkletter, PEI, with deep family roots stretching back to eighteenth-century Prince Edward Island. Michael received his PhD in Celtic Languages & Literatures from Harvard University in 2006. His PhD research centred on the life and work of nineteenth-century Gaelic scholar, Rev. Alexander Maclean Sinclair. Michael's research interests vary from medieval Irish and Welsh narrative tradition, to the historical development of Celtic Studies as an academic field, to the history, culture, and literature of the Scottish Gaels in Canada. In 2013, along with John A. MacPherson, he published Fògradh, Fàisneachd, Filidheachd: An t-Urr. Donnchadh Blàrach (1815-1893) ann am Mac-Talla / Parting, Prophecy, Poetry: Rev. Duncan B. Blair (1815-1893) in Mac-Talla (CBU Press 2013). Most recently Michael has been working on the topic of death and dying among Scottish settlers in the Maritimes and received a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Development Grant with Dr Laurie Stanley-Blackwell of the Dept of History at StFX towards this research. Michael is also a talented piper who played for many years in Summerside's Caledonian Pipe Band and later in the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts Pipe Band.

Admission to this lecture is by donation. All proceeds will go to supporting the Sir Andrew Macphail Homestead Foundation in its mission to provide pertinent programming concerning our Island’s unique forms of cultural expression and heritage. Tea, coffee and light refreshments will be served.


The lecture will serve as an extension of Eilean an Àigh: Gaelic Folkways Festival and Summer Institute, commencing onsite the following Friday evening, 26 August, at 7PM with the inaugural Bard Jane MacLeod Memorial Lecture (Òraid Chuimhneachaidh na Bana-bhàird Shìne Mhòir NicLeòid) sponsored by the Institute of Island Studies, UPEI that will be delivered by Dr. Lillis Ó Laoire of NUI Galway, entitled “Atlantic Songlines: Gaelic Singing in Contemporary Island Communities.” On Saturday, 27 August, Ó Laoire will be joined by instructors Mary Jane Lamond, Seumas Watson and Dr. Tiber Falzett for the Gaelic Folkways Summer Institute’s workshops and milling frolic onsite at the Homestead from 10AM-4PM followed by a concert and square dance at Orwell Hall on the site of the Orwell Corner Historic Village, 7:30-10:30PM.

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