This workshop was designed in response to the feedback from community language instructors and to better assist those who are interested in developing lesson plans based on Gaelic song. The session was delivered by key members of the Language in Lyrics team: Dr. Heather Sparling, Màiri Britton, and Mary Jane Lamond.

  • Lesson objective: Participants will be able to search for Gaelic songs to be used in their teaching by using a variety of resources at the end of the session

Case Study One: “Ged a Sheòl Mi air M’ Aineol” through the Beaton Institute

  1. Search via Unity in Diversity Webpage (Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University)
  • Great resource for songs popular in Cape Breton
  • Ged a Sheòl Mi air M’Aineol
    • Note basic background, lyrics, translation, PDF of lyrics, PDF of music notation
    • Audio recordings used to be available until Flash no longer supported
    • Note “T” number (T-3203), located at the bottom of the song summary

2. Search via Beaton Archives (Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University)

  • T-3203 doesn’t come up as it hasn’t been added to the online collection yet. However, it can be requested directly from the Beaton Institute by contacting Archivist Jane Arnold (
  • Search for “ged a sheol” in
    • Multiple records are found
    • The first record displayed is MG 6.62. Ignore records beginning with MG; this is “manuscript group,” not recordings
    • Focus on items marked with a T (for tape):
      • T-609 – CHER Radio Failte ‘s Furan — seems to include a recording of the North Shore Gaelic Singers but no audio or video file listed in the “notes” field
      • T-215 – there are audio files but the song title is misspelled “Ged tha sheol” — you need to search for the song in one long audio file (and have to figure out whether the song is on Side A or Side B)
      • T-3021 — unusually, the audio file has been divided into individual tracks each of which are labelled — but there is a mislabel here — “Ged a Sheol” is actually track A3, not A2 (as indicated)
    • When playing the the recording, there are three dots on the right-hand side that will allow you to download the file

Case Study Two: Puirt-a-beul

  • Puirt-a-beul are useful for memorizing
  1. Tha Fionnladh ag innearachd from Isabelle MacIsaac on Gael Stream / 
  2. Mór Nighean a’ Ghiobalain on Gael Stream / Traditional Tune Archive

Published resources for puirt-a-beul: 

Case Study Three: MacTalla

Finding alternative versions of a song and transcriptions. Tha Mo Rùn air a’ Ghille is a very common song but with many different versions, including a version composed in Nova Scotia, and is used as an example in this search. In this example alternate versions and transcriptions are found. 

Group Discussion: Where do you get the songs that you use in your teaching?

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