Comunn Eachdraidh Eige archive, Michael Butler collection


eigg, the story of an island, camille dressler, 2017

Location: Small Isles
gaelic language and placenames, gaelic culture

The Fair Maid of Grulin

The people who were cleared from Grulin on the Isle of Eigg to Canada had precious little to take with them, but they had songs and tunes which were handed down to the next generations in Judique or Mabou.

One of these songs was the Fair Maid of Grulin. She lived in the lower Grulin, looking beyond Rum towards Canna on the far side of the Sgurr. A Canna fisher lad had visited the Fair Maid at the summer shieling and they resolved to get married. With another couple as their witnesses, they had walked accross Beinn Tighe into Cleadale where Maighstir Anthony had married them.

Coming back full of good cheer, they met the maid's mother, blind with rage. Throwing her shoes at the two couples, she cursed them with infertility. This was long before Whitsunday 1853, when eighteen families received their notice to quit the little mosaic of ancient fields scattered among the huge erratic boulders broken off the Sgurr. Six month later, they were on a ship bound for Nova Scotia. Singing of "the lovely Maid in Grulin below the Sgurr" (S'ann Grulin fon Sguirr) would remind them of home.

More information on visiting the area can be found here.