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Anull Thar nan Eilean - From Island to Island
Highland Village Museum / An Clachan Gàidhealach
Iona , Nova Scotia


   Like the traditions of all
Gaelic communities in Cape
Breton Nova Scotia, the story
of the Barra community is
very much one of the spoken
word, handed down in music,
folklore, dance and poetry
for seven generations.
   The story begins in the
late 1700s when Donald ‘Og’

MacNeil left the Isle of
Barra in Scotland to serve
with the British Army in
Canada. Sailing through Cape
Breton’s Bras d’Or Lakes,
MacNeil fell in love with the
land. On a visit home to
Barra, MacNeil told his
family that if they ever left
Scotland they should settle

on the northern bank of the
lake, where the village of
Iona is now situated.
   Several years later,
members of the MacNeil clan
began to emigrate from the
Isle of Barra to live near
Bras d’Or, followed by many
other island families,
bringing with them the

language, music and
storytelling that live on in
Cape Breton’s rich Gaelic
   In this Community
Memories exhibit, pictures
show the faces of the Barra
people over hundreds of
years, stories tell of their
determination to survive

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