taking our culture forward


"Little Rhymes in the Manx": Music and the Herring Workers

A talk about the vibrant musical heritage of the women who travelled around the Irish Sea to in the herring industry as gutters, packers and kipperers from the 1850s to the 1970s.

Music, song and dance played a central part in their lives, whether it was singing at work or attending dances in the evenings on their days off. This ensured that not the musical richness of the neighbouring Celtic nations was mixed and shared.
As well as looking at the Scottish musical traditions of the workers, this talk comes to focus on the music around the industry in the Isle of Man, whether native or imported.
What emerges is a fascinating insight into an industry surprisingly rich in musical culture and tradition, from which we still owe much.

This talk is by Meg Hyland, PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh School of Celtic and Scottish Studies.
More about her current research is here.

This is the 2022 Ian O'Leary Lecture delivered in Peel on 28 July 2022.
It was delivered as a part of the Yn Chruinnaght Celtic Gathering festival.

An audio version of this talk is available here.