Tobar an Dualchais Kist O Riches

Tobar an Dualchais Kist O Riches

The voices of the past... brought to life through the latest technology

Julie Fowlis and Chris Wright were previously Artists in Residence at
Tobar an Dualchais/Kist o Riches

This website contains oral recordings made in Scotland and further afield, from the 1930s onwards. The number of recordings online is now approaching 50,000.

The items you can listen to include stories, songs, music, poetry and factual information.

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Here you can enter keywords, people’s names, place names, School of Scottish Studies reference numbers etc

Welcome to the updated Tobar an Dualchais/Kist o Riches web platform. We have created this interim site to replace the original site which had become fragile and was based on technology which is no longer supported. The University of Edinburgh has provided funding for EDINA to develop this site to ensure that access to content can be maintained going forward.

It has not been possible to replicate all of the complex and bespoke functionality of the previous site, so users may find there are some changes.

Almost 50,000 recordings are now available on the interim website.

The partners in Tobar an Dualchais/Kist o Riches are currently working on a project to explore options for the future. To help us assess partners’ and users’ needs, we would be grateful if you could complete this short online survey:

Featured Item

The Brahan Seer’s prophecies have intrigued people for centuries and such is his reputation that his predictions are still spoken of today.

Most of what we know about him and his prophecies has come from the oral tradition and, according to folklore, the Brahan Seer’s birth name was Kenneth Mackenzie. He was said to have been born in Uig on the Isle of Lewis in the 17th century and was known as Coinneach Odhar in Gaelic. There is no documentary evidence of his existence at this time but there is a record of a Coinneach Odhar in court archives who was accused of witchcraft in the 16th century.

He is said to have prophesised many events such as the Second World War, the demise of various Scottish clans, the Battle of Culloden, the construction of the Caledonian Canal, and the introduction of railway lines across the Highlands. A book of the Brahan Seer’s prophecies was first published by Alexander Mackenzie in 1877. There has been much speculation about whether the predictions originated from one person and if the Brahan Seer really existed.

According to legend, the Brahan Seer worked for the third Earl of Seaforth and was employed as a labourer at Brahan Castle near Dingwall when one of his prophecies led to his own brutal death. The Earl of Seaforth was away in France and his wife, Countess Isabella, wanted news of his welfare. The Brahan Seer had a vision of the Earl with another woman and when he told her of this, the Countess had him burned alive in a barrel of hot tar at Chanonry Point on the Black Isle.

The Brahan Seer was said to have used a stone with a hole in the middle to see his visions and there are various tales as to how the stone came into his possession. Some say that he fell asleep on a fairy hill and awoke to find it in his pocket and in other accounts he found the stone in a raven’s nest. In this version told by Donald Sinclair from Tiree, the Brahan Seer was on a beach one night when he met the phantom of a drowned maiden who told him where to find the stone, one that she herself had used for prophecy. Donald refers to him as ‘Dun Kenneth’ which is a translation of his Gaelic name.

Browse all recordings of Donald Sinclair