Niall O'Gallagher

Reviewing Niall O’Gallagher’s first collection in the Herald, Aonghas MacNeacail wrote, ‘Gaelic poetry welcomes an exciting new (this time essentially urban) voice’. Completed with the help of a New Writers Award from the Scottish Book Trust / Gaelic Books Council, Beatha Ùr (Clàr, 2013) was followed by Suain nan Trì Latha (Clàr, 2016), which was acclaimed in Scotland and Ireland for its use of classical Gaelic metres to write modern love poems. Writing in Comhar, Alan Titley remarked, ‘I don’t know if any other poet in our lifetime has crossed the causeway between the old and the new so ably and so honestly’. In 2019 Niall was named Bàrd Baile Ghlaschu, the city of Glasgow’s first Gaelic laureate.

Photo: Stephen Hughes


Gaelic Writers Showcase »

Reading: Deborah Moffatt, Eòghan Stiùbhart, Sandy NicDhomhnaill Jones, Niall O’Gallagher

Sun 8 March | 13:00 - 14:00 | £4.50/£3.50 | Parliament Hall, South Street



Can a-rithist e, a mhic, 
          agus e do chiad fhacal,
cluinneam air do theanga e,
          ainm a’ mheasa as blasta:

ubhal. A dhà lide chruinn
          nam foghair fhuinn nad bheul-sa,
abair aon uair eile e,
          mar gur e briathar seunta

a bh’ ann: ubhal. Gabh blas dheth
          ’s tu cho measail air, cumadh
do ghruaidh ruaidh, agus a dhath
          uaine air neo dearg: ubhal.

Rach don chraoibh airson am fear
          as milse, seirbh’ a thogail
sìos, gabh do leòr, cuibhreann math
          dheth agus tu gad bhogadh

ann am brìgh nam faclan, sùgh
          na cainnt, an sùgradh taitneach,
sultmhor: ubhal. Coma leat,
          na toir aire do nathair

ann, na abradh nach ann dhut
          a tha gach fear dhiubh, furain
bhriathran, mheasan, fhuaimean gràidh,
          aicill as àille: ubhal!


Say it again, son,
your first word, let me hear it
on your tongue,
the name of the most delicious fruit:

apple. The two short syllables
burbling like music in your mouth,
say it again, one more time,
as if it were a charm, an incantation:

apple. Take a bite, a taste,
you love it so, whether green
or red, and the shape of it
like your flushed cheeks: apple.

Go to the tree to pick
the one most sweet,
most tart, have your fill,
take more, immerse yourself

in the pith of the words,
the essence of the language,
the joyful play of it: apple.
Never mind the serpent;

don’t let it be said that all of these
aren’t meant for you, this abundance
of words, of fruit, the sounds of love,
this most beautiful rhyme: apple!

Niall O’Gallagher, tr. Deborah Moffat

From Suain nan Trì Latha (Clàr, 2016)