Annual Gaelic Service at St Kiaran’s Campbeltown


The annual Gaelic Service took place on Sunday 25th August. The church was full with lots of locally-based visitors as well as some from further afield – England, Ireland, the USA and Peru. Although the congregation had an opportunity to join in in the final hymn in Gaelic, all the vocal items were performed by  Ailie Renton, Iona Renton and joining them this year for the first time  – Finlay Wilson. It is a measure of the skill and musicality of the singers that they were able to undertake all of this. Ailie is 9, Finlay is 10 and Iona is 13. Iona played a selection of Gaelic Airs for 15 minutes before the start of the service. Although the service began at 10.30 one person arrived at 9.30 to be sure of a good seat! Finlay, who had attended last year as an observer wanted to be involved this year so he opened the service with the solo Thainig an là (This is the day). Ailie sang – Thoir dhomh aoibh na mo chrìdh’ (Give me joy in my heart) and was accompanied on the organ by her big sister, Iona. After that, Ailie and Iona sang in duet – Mar a thogras fiadh an sruthan (As the deer pants for the water). New this year and for the first time, all three singers took a verse each of the well-known Runrig song composed by the MacDonald brothers from Skye – An ubhal as airde (The highest apple) and then joined in three part harmony for the chorus, quite a feat for the young people. “An ubhal as airde” makes various reference to the biblical story of the Garden of Eden and the tree of knowledge. Iona also gave a moving rendering of Ar n-Athair (Our Father). The guest readers – Calum Ross, Calum Macaulay and Morag Patton – represented the Islands of Skye, Lewis and North Uist respectively. From our own congregation, Jane Mayo led intercessions based on ones Frances Arthur had used in previous services.  Tea, coffee and biscuits were enjoyed by the assembled company at the end of the service.

David O McEwan

Ailie, Iona and Finlay