Lorraine McIntosh, singer with the Scottish band Deacon Blue, was born in 1964 in Glasgow and moved to East Ayrshire when she was three. Lorraine's connection with Donegal is through her mother Sarah Gallagher (Sarah Jimmy Bann) who came from Dore, in Gweedore, moving to the Gorbals in her twenties. Lorraine spent many summer holidays in Gweedore alongside her mother's family and her she describes what those days meant to her.
‘When I look back on my childhood, my mind inevitably flies to Gaoth Dobhair in Donegal. To the place where my mother grew up in a white-washed cottage with her nine brothers and sisters. It was the scene of many happy memories for me during Summer holidays spent with my brothers and cousins – roaming fields and bog in adventures, playing with pups and kittens that always seemed to be in endless supply, getting to ride in the trailers of many tractors as the turf was brought in and even on the rare day when the sun shone, swimming the cold waters off the beautiful white strand of the Magheragallon. But one day stands out vividly for me. It was the magical day when my Uncle Joe would decide it was time to cut the hay field in front of the house. A whole gang of people would appear to help, gathering in the early morning sunshine beside the house.
The men would get to work, starting at opposite sides of the field, swinging their scythes deftly before them. The rest of us would walk behind , gathering the freshly cut hay into bundles in our arms, leaving them to dry before they were gathered again into giant stacks tied down with rope and stones to stop the wind carrying them away. The field was beautiful in the sun, golden stalks in golden light. We’d stop for dinner at 1pm. Soda bread, ham, Galtee cheese and tomatoes, all washed down with the strongest of tea. Men served first. Men laughing, rubbing sun-reddened skin with rough hands, telling stories in a language I couldn’t understand but loved listening to anyway.
Then it was back to the field. As the day moved on the shadows lengthened and we could be found lying in the shade of one of the stacks, tired out by the sun, passing round a bottle of ‘mineral’ that someone had given us to share. As the evening arrived and the sky turned red, the men’s’ voices seemed to carry for miles over the quiet fields. The appearance of the first midges told us it was time to head indoors. Walking back to the house, I remember the beauty of the place, the stone-walled fields running down to the sea, glowing the last rays of sun light. And I remember a fierce love for it all - for the people, for the land, for the language, for the pure beauty of the place.'
For more information about Lorraine McIntosh and Deacon Blue click onto the link below.