Tìr Ìseal nan Òran celebrates Tiree’s stories, heritage, culture and Gaelic language

Published: 02 Feb 2022

A full-colour hand illustrated map of Tiree shows the island as illustrated by James Turnbull in the 18th century. The map looks aged with wrinkles in the pagesA full-colour hand illustrated map of Tiree shows the island as illustrated by James Turnbull in the 18th century. The map looks aged with wrinkles in the pages

Turnbull's Plan of Tiree, AP ref. R038

Tìr Ìseal nan Òran (Tiree: low land of song) is an island-wide creative project, taking place as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022, which aims to celebrate and promote Tiree’s stories, heritage, culture and Gaelic language.

At the heart of the project are seven stories from the island’s history, tradition and mythology which will be explored within their physical and historical contexts to inspire new creative work. Local artists, young people, the wider Tiree community and an international audience will all be invited to take part in exploring and re-telling these stories through a mixture of traditional music and song, film and photography, theatre and writing, and Gaelic and English.

This collaborative and ambitious project has been developed by the Friends of the Argyll Papers, Tiree & Coll Gaelic Partnership, Tiree School and musicians, filmmakers and heritage professionals on Tiree.

There will be lots of different ways for local people and global audiences to get involved with and learn about Tiree’s stories, heritage, culture and the Gaelic language – upcoming events and activities include:

  • Jack Lockhart (Screen Argyll), a filmmaker resident on Tiree, will create an animated film of James Turnbull’s 18th century full-colour illustrated plan of Tiree, held as part of the Argyll Papers at Inveraray Castle.
  • Local island-born, Gaelic speaking musicians – Ian Smith (Trail West) and Angus MacPhail (Skipinnish) – will create new music and song inspired by the stories, promoting the culture and language of their island.
  • Tiree’s young people will be mentored through a series of creative workshops to reflect on the stories in their physical and historical contexts and create written responses in English and Gaelic.
  • The Tiree diaspora will be invited to create textile pieces inspired by the stories. These pieces, with the reflections of their creators, will be sewn together into a ‘Tiree Tapestry’.
  • Exhibitions, workshops and presentations will contextualise the stories and introduce the original archive documents and artefacts which underpin them. These will be delivered in person, with additional digital content available internationally.
  • A trail leaflet will feature Turnbull’s illustrated plan of Tiree and the stories in their physical locations on the island, providing a sustainable resource for future visitors.
  • The new creative work – writing, tapestry, film, music and imagery – will be drawn together in a public multi-media theatre performance, delivered with Tiree School students on 16 June 2022. The young people will participate in a dramatic interpretation of the stories which will include music and song in Gaelic and English.
  • Additional workshops and performance opportunities will be offered to local audiences and visitors as part of Fèis Thiriodh – a week-long festival of traditional culture – and Tiree Music Festival in July 2022.
  • A dedicated website www.tir-iseal.co.uk due to launch at the end of February 2022, will provide a platform on which to share the new writing, music, song and film created in response to the stories, enabling the wider Scottish and international audience to follow and engage with the project.

The Duchess of Argyll said: "I am delighted that our archives will be used for the Tìr Ìseal nan Òran (Tiree, Low Land of Song) project. The Argyll Papers are a meticulously catalogued and extremely well managed source for recording and preserving history and this project will promote the collection to a new the audience, including those who have been on the island for generations, their descendants, newcomers and all those who love stories."

Dr John Holliday, chair of the Tiree & Coll Gaelic Partnership, welcomed the start of the project: "Tìr Ìseal nan Òran weaves the island’s rich oral traditions and the music and song for which it is famous with the treasures of the Inveraray Castle archives.  It is going to be some collaboration, and I can’t wait to see and hear what it produces."

Marie Christie, Head of Development at VisitScotland said: "We are delighted to be supporting Tìr Ìseal nan Òran (Tiree: low land of song) through the Year of Stories 2022 Community Stories Fund. Events play an important role in our communities as they sustain livelihoods and help to celebrate and promote our unique places, spaces and stories. Themed Years are all about collaboration and Museums Galleries Scotland, National Lottery Heritage Fund and VisitScotland are pleased to work in partnership to create this fund to showcase community stories. By supporting events taking place within our communities, including Tìr Ìseal nan Òran (Tiree: low land of song), new opportunities will be provided for locals and visitors to come together and find out more about the diverse stories, past and present, that our communities have to share."

Thuirt Brian Ó hEadhra, Manaidsear Com-pàirteachais & Maoineachaidh aig Bòrd na Gàidhlig: "Chan e a-mhàin gum bi am pròiseact cultarach cudromach seo a’ comharrachadh beairteas traidiseanan na Gàidhlig, sean is ùr, ach bidh e cuideachd a’ brosnachadh chom-pàirtichean agus luchd-ealain an cuid Gàidhlig a chleachdadh tron phròiseact. Tha sinn a’ dèanamh fiughair ri bhith a’ faicinn an obair a thèid a dhèanamh agus na goireasan a thèid a chruthachadh air am bi luach, chan ann a-mhàin aig na Tiristich, ach aig luchd-èisteachd air feadh na cruinne."

Brian Ó hEadhra, Partnerships & Funding Manager at Bòrd na Gàidhlig said: "This important cultural project will not only celebrate the wealth of Gaelic traditions, old and new, but also encourage participants and artists to use their Gaelic throughout the project.  We look forward to seeing the work produced and the resources created which will be valued not only by the people of Tiree but audiences across the globe."

Anna MacQuarrie, Gaelic Arts Officer at Creative Scotland says: “Tìr Ìseal nan Òran (Tiree: low land of song) is continuing a fine long-standing tradition of Tiristeach creativity. Capturing tales from Tiree’s rich history through the generations and with Gaelic language and culture at its heart, Tìr Ìseal nan Òran will also make a fascinating contribution to Scotland's 2022 Year of Stories."

Alison Turnbull, Director of External Relations and Partnerships at Historic Environment Scotland said: “Tìr Ìseal nan Òran (Tiree: low land of song) is a wonderful collaborative project which we are delighted to support and be involved in.

“Tiree is a dynamic and vibrant community, with a rich tradition of story and song, which continues to this day. We want to celebrate this legacy with this island-wide project where artists collaborate with community groups and young people to create new songs, films, artworks and more, in Gaelic and English. This is an exciting opportunity to share Tiree’s rich history, language and contemporary lives with the rest of Scotland, and the world.”


Tìr Ìseal nan Òran has been supported by the Year of Stories 2022 Community Stories Fund. This fund is being delivered in partnership between VisitScotland and Museums Galleries Scotland with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players.

It is supported by Argyll Estates, Historic Environment Support Fund, the National Lottery through Creative Scotland, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Argyll & Bute Council Supporting Communities Fund, Clan Campbell Education Foundation, CHARTS Argyll and Isles, Tiree Community Windfall Fund, Pamela Campbell Bickford, Martha McKinnon and Elizabeth Kraus.

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland distributing funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Further information at www.creativescotland.com. Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Learn more about the value of art and creativity in Scotland and join in at www.ourcreativevoice.scot.

Media contact

For further information, please contact Alison Diamond at tir.iseal@gmail.com or 07943 667673.