Dugald MacPhail

1818 - 1887

Gaelic songwriter, poet and author. Born at Strathcoil on Mull in the Inner Hebrides, MacPhail worked as a joiner and architect. He moved to Glasgow with his young wife, and then to Newcastle (England) where he wrote the song An t-Eilean Muileach (The Isle of Mull), for which he is best remembered. This is now known as 'Mull's National Anthem'. He was appointed architect and clerk of works to the Duke of Westminster, which brought a move to Shaftesbury, where several of his family were born. He then moved to Edinburgh, being attracted because of the educational advantages that city brought to his family. In Edinburgh, he composed the song An t-sobhrach Mhuileach (The Mull Primrose) and, in 1859, was awarded a prize given by the Edinburgh Celtic Society for an essay on the Highland Clearances. He also wrote the autobiographical Callum a' Ghlinne (Callum of the Glen).

A strict Presbyterian, MacPhail joined the Free Church following the Disruption. He died at his home in Partick and was buried in the kirkyard at Old Monkland. He left eight children, one of whom, Alexander MacPhail (1872 - 1938), became HM Inspector for Anatomy for England and Wales.

MacPhail is remembered by a monument at Strathcoil.

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