Dear Mr Macdonald,
I thought you would like to see the two enclosed photographs and to learn a little about the important role which two members of your school played in last week's commemoration to mark the centenary of the death of Neil Macleod, the Skye bard, and the dedication of a new monument on his grave in Morningside cemetery. I will write this somewhat in the form of a Press Release in case you may wish to use some of the material in a school Newsletter, or whatever.
Though born in the Isle of Skye in 1843, Neil Macleod lived in Morningside for over 40 years and he is one of the most enduringly popular of all Gaelic bards. His celebrated collection of poems Clarsach an Doire was first published in Edinburgh in 1883 and JGHS Gaelic teacher Eoghan Stewart read an appropriate poem from it at last week's dedication in the cemetery. JGHS pupil, Alexander Sime Scott, impressed the crowd of Gaelic scholars and enthusiasts with his playing of a graveside Salute to open the proceedings. He played again as the ceremony closed.
Norman MacLeod, the Bard's last surviving grandchild, who was born in Edinburgh in 1938 and has lived in California for over 50 years, working as a lawyer, made the transatlantic trip specially for the event. His wife and his son, Alexander, joined him at the cemetery. The commemoration included a further reading from Neil MacLeod’s Gaelic poetry; remarks from his grandson, Norman Macleod; and a Gaelic prayer from former JGHS Parent Council member, Sheriff Roddy John MacLeod. Both Edinburgh University's Professors of Celtic Studies and Gaelic, Professor Rob Dunbar and Professor Wilson McLeod spoke at the ceremony. Professor Dunbar stressed the importance of the Gaelic teaching at James Gillespie's and said that he looked forward to working closely with Gaelic staff in projects involving important Gaels in Edinburgh's history, such as Neil Macleod. Neil Macleod died at his home in Montpelier Park Morningside, in 1913 and he and his wife are buried in Morningside cemetery.
Photo captions :
Norman Macleod of California, Professor Norman Macdonald of the Isle of Skye, who was MC for the proceedings, listen to Mr Eoghan Stewart read from a Gaelic poem.
(From left) Professor Norman Macdonald; Gaelic singer and Mod Gold Medallist, Kenna Campbell, who sang one of the Skye bard's songs; Mrs Kathryn Macleod of New York, USA and her husband Alexander Macleod, the Bard's great grandson, Mrs Dianne Macleod, standing beside her husband, Norman Macleod of California. To the right of the headstone are Piper Alexander Sime Scott, Professor Rob Dunbar and Professor Wilson McLeod of Edinburgh University; Sheriff Roderick J Macleod of Edinburgh.