NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE
This year’s Lorient Interceltique Festival, saw Manx bands Barrule, and the Ruth Keggin Band in first and second position in the coveted Trophée Loic Raison, topping off a special year for the Isle of Man at the annual festival in Brittany. Considerable credit for the continued success of Manx artists and performers goes to the legacy left by Mona Douglas.
It is now 27 years since the death of Mona Douglas on 8th October 1987. However, her light continues to burn as brightly as ever. Mona Douglas was a Manx cultural activist, folklorist, poet, novelist and journalist. She was involved in many initiatives to revive interest and activity in Manx culture.This included societies, classes, publications and youth groups. In the 1930’s she set up Aeglagh Vannin (the Youth of Mann) and adopted the motto: Piatchyn jiu, ashoon mairagh (“Children today, a nation tomorrow”). She composed a song for them:
O Land of our allegiance
O Mannin of the sea!
May we be ever worthy
To claim our share in thee!
We hold thy soil as sacred
And though we journey far,
They flame of song and story
Burns where thy children are.
She is also known for her work to preserve and revive traditional Manx folk music and dance. Probably the most successful of these was Yn Chruinnagh (The Gathering), a Manx cultural and inter-Celtic festival with participation of performers from the the six Celtic nations of Brittany, Cornwall, Isle of Man, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The festival continues to grow from strength to strength today.
Mona Douglas had strong affinity to the Pan-Celtic movement having been a secretary of the Manx Branch of the Celtic Congress. Her poetry published up to 1917 had seen her invested as a Bard of the Third Degree in the Order of Gorsedds at the Royal Eisteddfod of Wales where she was given the bardic name Mona Manaw. Her poem published in a collection of poetry A Drooagh in 1919 demonstrated her sympathy for the Irish Easter Rising of 1916:
Kinsmen of the shining west!
Your unrest wild hearts have shared:
Soon from our land, too, shall rise,
Through wild skies, a singing bird.
She wrote of the influence that the Pan-Celtic movement had upon her: “my association with a number of national personalities convinced me firmly that the goal of nationalists in all the Celtic countries should be, eventually, an independent federation of the Celtic States.”
In the year of her death Mona Douglas was awarded the Gorsedd honour of White Druidic Order, She worked tirelessly throughout her life to promote Manx Culture. Posthumously she was awarded the Reih Bleeaney Vanannan, the Isle of Man’s most prestigious award for her outstanding contribution to Manx culture. On this the anniversary of her death she is remembered with great affection and respect.
(Submitted Alastair Kneale, Mannin Branch Celtic League)
Issued by: The Celtic News
THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE
The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues