This essay examines the diverse manifestations of a lifelong interest in Ireland in the work of the Scottish Gaelic poet, scholar, and activist Ruaraidh MacThòmais (Derick Thomson, 1921-2012). It touches upon Thomson’s academic engagement with Irish-related topics and follows his comments on the situation of the Irish language and revitalisation efforts in his “manifesto” essay “The Role of the Writer in a Minority Culture” (1966) and other articles, where it serves as a source of inspiration and a point of contrast. Detailed attention is paid to the generous space which was devoted to Irish affairs and literature in the Gaelic quarterly magazine Gairm which Thomson cofounded and steered for fifty years (1952-2002), including his reviews of Irish-related publications. Drawing on references in Gairm and in Thomson’s poetry collections, the essay also brings together evidence of his personal contacts with Irish writers and intellectuals, including Máirtín Ó Direáin, and of his sustained engagement with W.B. Yeats.
Ruaraidh MacThòmais (Derick Thomson), Ireland, revival, Gairm, Máirtín Ó Direáin, William Butler Yeats
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