Mickey’s Gaelic mermaid tale launched in Iona

Oct 26, 2021 | Book Launch, Childrens, Illustration

Editor Shamus Y. MacDonald with his sons, author Mickey “John H.” MacNeil, and illustrator Emily MacDonald at the book launch.

The new children’s picture book Luran agus a’ Mhaighdeann-mhara was launched on October 3rd, 2021 at Baile nan Gàidheal, the Highland Village Museum in Iona, Nova Scotia. This children’s book is actually available in two Scottish Gaelic editions (Nova Scotia and GOC), as well as an English translated edition titled Luran and the Mermaid.

This is a traditional Gaelic tale told by Mickey MacNeil of Jamesville, Victoria County, Nova Scotia, who is known in Gaelic as Migi MacNìll or Migi Eòin Chaluim Sheumais Mhóir. It’s the story of a man who meets a problem-solving mermaid, delightfully illustrated by artist Emily MacDonald of Centreville, Inverness County, Nova Scotia. The text was edited by Dr. Shamus Y. MacDonald from multiple tellings of the tale by Mickey, which Shamus recorded.

The launch was held in the Malagawatch Church at the Highland Village.

Migi spoke about hearing the story of Luran from his mother when he was young, and how the story was likely passed down through the generations in the 200 years since his ancestors left the Isle of Barra in Scotland. Emily spoke about drawing a mermaid that reflects Gaelic traditions of seal shapeshifters. Shamus talked about choosing language that is suitable for Gaelic learners, while keeping faithful to Mickey’s telling.

A good crowd came out to hear Migi, Emily and Shamus speak, and to get their copies of the book signed.

If you didn’t have the chance to attend the launch, you can still get your copies of Luran agus a’ Mhaighdeann-mhara (Nova Scotia edition or GOC edition) or Luran and the Mermaid online!

Shamus Y. MacDonald and Mickey MacNeil signing books in Iona.