Father Allan McDonald (1859-1905) went to live on the Western Isles of Eriskay in 1893. As the very first priest to live there, Father Allan taught the three hundred members or so of the island's very poor Catholic and Gaelic-speaking families how to draw strength from Christ's teaching and, as a Celtic scholar and poet among them, wrote about the imaginative riches of island history and the people's oral folklore. Father Allan's most lasting monument on the Outer Hebrides, completed only shortly before his premature death, was the building of a church on Eriskay dedicated to Saint Michael the Archangel. These poems and illustrations map something of the historical mission and the living legacy of Father Allan's beliefs and practices as a cultural beacon still unquenched on the Outer Hebrides. 2009 is the 150th anniversary of this remarkable priest's birth.
Ben na Hoe ("Fisher-Widow's Lot"), Ben Scrien ("The Eriskay Alarm Bird"), Ben Stack ("Golgotha's on the Stack"), East Kilbride ("John of the Shore"), Eriskay Sound ("A Doxology for Rough Weather"), Hann ("Old Skins of War"), Heinish ("Shrine to the Unborn Christ"), North Uist ("Teampul na Trionaid"), Prince Charlie's Bay ("The Ghost of the Young Pretender"), Rudha Ban ("Croft of Hopefulness"), Rueval ("The Brightness of Mary Pillar"), St. Michael's Church Eriskay ("On Fair Winds of Providence"), South Lochboisdale ("Who is like unto God in South Lochboisdale?"), and West Gerinish ("Banter at Mass in St. Bride's").