Mary MacPherson, 'Màiri Mhòr nan Òran', 1821-1898
Makars' Court in Edinburgh's Old Town commemorates some of the most notable writers from over 600 years of Scottish literature. Their names and words are inscribed on flagstones on the ground and walls of this impressive courtyard.
So far only three Gaelic writers have been included - none of them women. We wish to honour one of the foremost Gaelic poets of the 19th century: Mary MacPherson / Màiri Nic a-Phearsain, or as she is best known, Màiri Mhòr nan Òran, Big Mary of the Songs. Màiri Mhòr was remarkable in many ways: a proud Skye woman, a strong Gaelic-speaking Highland woman, a powerful female voice for her language, her people and her culture, and an eloquent ‘makar’ of Gaelic song-poetry.
Màiri Mhòr nan Òran is eminently worthy of a place in the illustrious literary company of Makars' Court. Thanks to the efforts of Ionad Gàidhlig Dhùn Èideann, a new charitable organisation which is working to develop a Gaelic centre in Edinburgh, the official permissions and approvals have now been received and we can move forward to have Màiri Mhòr honoured with a place in Makars' Court.
This crowdfunder has been set up to raise the money required to pay for a flagstone inscribed with Màiri Mhòr’s name and a quotation from her song ‘Eilean a’ Cheò’, which praises the Isle of Skye and its people.
The text will read
Cuimhnichibh gur sluagh sibh / Is cumaibh suas ur còir
(Remember that you are a people / And stand up for your rights)
Having Màiri Mhòr commemorated in Makars' Court will honour this remarkable woman and the rich legacy of her songs; it will honour her home island of Skye that was such an inspirational force in her life; and it will honour the Gaelic language that she cared for passionately.
It will cost around £3000 to inscribe and install the stone. We intend to arrange an installation ceremony in autumn 2022. Any funds received over the costs of the stone will be applied to the costs of the ceremony and the work of Ionad Gàidhlig Dhùn Èideann in promoting Gaelic in Edinburgh.
Tha sinn an dòchas gum bi mòran agaibh deònach taic a thoirt don oidhirp seo le bhith gar cuideachadh leis a’ mhaoineachadh-sluaigh seo. Cuidichidh gach tabhartas, beag no mòr, sinn ann a bhith a’ ruigsinn a’ chinn-ùidhe. Mar sin, le dùil, agus ann an spiorad dòchasach Màiri Mhòr nan Òran, mòran taing dhuibh uile.