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Donn Country: 300 years, 3 projects

The Mackay Country (Dùthaich ‘ic Aoidh) Bard

Who was Rob Donn?

Rob Donn (1714-1778) is an extremely important figure in the history of Gaelic literature and might arguably be as important to Gaelic poetry as his contemporary Robert Burns is to poetry in Scots. Born at Alltnacaillich, Strathmore in 1714 Donn (pronounced down) lived through a chaotic period in Highland history as the Jacobite Risings resulted in lasting changes throughout the Highlands.

Poetry played a pivotal role in people’s lives and circulated rapidly by oral transmission. Donn’s use of language sometimes amounted to shorthand yet embodied complex concepts and double meanings that often depend on alternative definitions of Gaelic words. Unable to read or write, Donn dictated his poetry from memory only towards the end of his life and was particularly notorious for his often-acerbic tongue.

The Projects

Money raised during Cycling in the Straths 2016 (£2,023) has helped to attract £64,170 of additional funding to support a 2 year project celebrating the life and work of Rob Donn.


For more information about this collaboration between Mackay Country Community Trust and Strathnaver Museum please visit the Strathnaver Museum website or the dedicated Rob Donn Mackay website.

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