John MacInnes (Gaelic scholar)

John MacInnes (Scottish Gaelic: Iain MacAonghuis, Iain mac Ruairidh mhic Iain mhic Iain mhic Néill mhic Mhaol Mhoire mhic Iain mhic Mhaol Chaluim[1]), 3 April 1930 in Uig, Lewis – 10 May 2019,[2] was a Scottish Gaelic scholar and authority on Scottish Gaelic oral tradition. He was born in Uig, Lewis, but grew up on Raasay,[2] and took an active interest in Gaelic tradition while still young and made a conscious effort to seek it out amongst his family and community.[3]

In 1948, John MacInnes went to study at the University of Edinburgh and was awarded a scholarship in Gaelic established by the Church of Scotland. In 1958, MacInnes was appointed to a Junior Research Fellowship in the School of Scottish Studies and spent years conducting fieldwork amongst Gaelic speakers in Scotland and in Nova Scotia, Canada. MacInnes formally retired from the School of Scottish Studies in 1993.

John MacInnes penned a significant body of seminal articles on aspects of Scottish Gaelic linguistics, folklore, oral narrative, song, dance, history and indigenous beliefs which continue to inform contemporary scholarship. A thorough bibliography and selection of these essays was published as Dùthchas nan Gàidheal. A special issue of the journal Scottish Studies contains biographical information and a range of articles celebrating and extending MacInnes’ intellectual and cultural legacy.[4]

In 2015, John MacInnes was recognised with the 'Services to Gaelic' Award by The Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame,[5] and received the award for 'Best Contribution' from the Daily Record and Bòrd na Gàidhlig Scottish Gaelic Awards in the same year.[6]



  • Dùthchas nan Gàidheal: Selected Essays of John MacInnes (2006) (edited by Michael Newton)


  1. ^ Blankenhorn, Virginia. 2014. 'John MacInnes:A Biographical Note' ann an Craobh nan Ubhal: A Festschrift for John MacInnes Scottish Studies Vol 37. deas. le V. Blankenhorn (Edinburgh: School of Scottish Studies)
  2. ^ a b Amos, Ilona (11 May 2019). "Scotland loses "intellectual giant" after death of top Gaelic scholar". The Scotsman. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  3. ^ MacInnes, John (2006). Newton, Michael (ed.). Dùthchas nan Gàidheal: Selected Essays of John MacInnes. Birlinn. pp. xxiii. ISBN 978-1-84158-316-7.
  4. ^ "Craobh nan Ubhal: A Festschrift for John MacInnes". Scottish Studies. 37. 2014.
  5. ^ "Dr John MacInnes – Services to Gaelic Award 2015". 2015. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  6. ^ "Gaelic is the talk of the town at the Daily Record awards". 21 November 2015.