Tiree charms, including a ribbon to protect against bullets,...

Date 04 June 1971
Track ID 47373
Part 1

Track Information

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Original Tape ID



Tiree charms, including a ribbon to protect against bullets, and rowan to protect against drowning.

Tiree fishermen had charms for good luck, which they got from older people. Mr Sinclair recalls an incident when an old fisherman went with a bottle of water to pour over the gunwales of his boat. If he had known a boy was hiding inside the bow he would have killed him. Herbs were used as charms. Mr Sinclair knew of an old lady who gave a charm consisting of a ribbon to men who were going to war. The ribbon sewn inside a soldier's tunic would protect him from bullets. Mr Sinclair knew a man who had been in all the major battles of the First World War and had come through unscathed, thanks to this charm.

A red thread tied round the tail of cattle would protect from the evil eye. Rowan wood (Gaelic 'caorann') was a charm against drowning and shipwreck. Sometimes rudders were made from it. Iron or copper nails put in the tiller of a boat were also a protective charm. The Gaelic word for charm is 'sian' [seun]. A charm can be passed from person to person. If a man had a charm he would pass it on to someone in his family that he could trust.

Item Location

County - Argyllshire

Parish - Tiree

Island - Tiree


English, Gaelic



Source Type

Reel to reel

Audio Quality