City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Book Festival: Aimhreit & Aithreachas/Conflict & Regret Review

By Allan Alstead - Posted on 11 August 2014

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Edinburgh International Book Festival

This event was chaired by Catriona Murray in the RBS Garden Theatre and it attracted just over thirty people, probably because it was billed that it would be "mainly in Gaelic". However, much to the credit of the organisers they produced translation facilities with headphones for those who were not fluent Gaelic speakers. This was fine as far as it went, but unfortunately the translation was rather inconsistent and not as effective as it should have been to get a full understanding of the event and the speakers. This was due to some technical problems with the system.

The war poetry was clearly appreciated by those who spoke Gaelic in the audience and in particular the songs, sung by Gilbert MacMillan were very tuneful and haunting - to my mind this was the highlight of the performance which was, for me, marred by interrupted translation.

The readings by both David Eyre and Aonghas MacNeacail were obviously very moving and described how young men joined up with great enthusiasm to fight against the German enemy. He suggested that the Second World War might never have happened if Germany had not been so crushed after the First World War, but then the ambitions of Hitler were massive and I have doubts as to whether this really can be regarded with much credibility. However, the MacNeacail theory does make for an interesting discussion.