Calasraid: Àite nan Sgeulachdan / Callander: Place of the Stories
Callander (Calasraid) has a rich Gaelic heritage (dualchas), which can be seen in place-names but also in the stories told by local people. In and around Callander, people still speak of the each-uisge (water horse) living in Loch Venachar, or the tragic death of the famous Irish hero, Diarmad, on the slopes of Ben Gullipen. This project aimed to celebrate the Gaelic heritage of Callander by working with local Primary Schools to retell these legendary Gaelic stories (sgeulachdan) with a new comic (comaig or pàipear-èibhinn)!
In September 2019, Paul from Magic Torch Comics ran six comic-making workshops with Callander Primary School and Riverside Primary School (Stirling). Pupils from P6-7 classes got involved in choosing stories, designing characters, writing dialogue, and even deciding how the stories would end! The pupils created their own comicbook stories and, along the way, they learned Gaelic words and phrases. Some of the Gaelic sound effects – sgleog (bang), clostar (clatter/crash), aobhag (ouch) – were relatively new even to the Gaelic Medium Education pupils at Riverside Primary School!
Armed with all of the pupils’ amazing ideas, Paul and his artists worked tirelessly over the next few months to design the finished comic. On Thursday 5th March, World Book Day, the comic – entitled Calasraid: Àite nan Sgeulachdan / Callander: Place of the Stories – was released!
The comic is narrated in English by Katherine Ferguson (d. 1872), a well-known individual from Callander’s history. She was born at Lendrick, near the western end of Loch Venachar and was known to Gaels as Ceat Larick (Lendrick Kate) and Ceat Mhòr (Big Kate). As the landlady at the Brig o’ Turk Inn, known as Taigh a’ Mhaide (House of the Stick), she once welcomed Queen Victoria who rewarded her “Highland hospitality” with a gold sovereign. Ceat was a keen storyteller and bilingual in English and Gaelic, so she was the ideal choice to act as a narrator for these stories.
All of the characters in the stories speak in Gaelic to reflect the linguistic heritage of Callander. We made the decision to include simultaneous English translations of the Gaelic in the speech bubbles to aid learning and comprehension for non-Gaelic speakers.
The script of the comic was written by Paul Bristow (Magic Torch Comics) in collaboration with the pupils at Callander Primary School and Riverside Primary School. The artwork was created by Robin Henley (pages 1-4, 13-18), Dylan Gibson (5-8), and Norrie Millar (9-12).
The comic is available online at the above link or you can pick up a physical copy for free by visiting Karnak Comics or the Visitor Information Centre on the Main Street of Callander. See the gallery below to see the school workshops and all of the fantastic art produced by the pupils!
Tha sinn an dòchas gun còrd a h-uile duine ris! / We hope everyone enjoys it!
Funders and partners for this project