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Sweeney on Eigg Sweeney on Eigg Sweeney on Eigg



Alec Finlay

148 x 210mm

Date of publication: May 2014

Production Details:

Standard Edition

150gsm uncoated cover & interior
Two-wire loop-stitched
Edition of 250

Special Edition

265gsm bamboo paper cover interior
130gsm wove paper
Cahier stitched
Signed & 'lettered' by the artist
Unique place-name poem-label
'Blackthorn' postcard
Edition of 26

Sweeney on Eigg is Alec Finlay's transcription of a newly discovered manuscript, gathering together passages of formerly lost material from the Buile Shuibhne cycle, or, possibly, later imitations of that poem.

The text tells of mad King Sweeney or Suibhne, and his brief stay on the Isle of Eigg, the farthest point in his 'leaping', a wandering peregrination haunted by post-traumatic stress. It describes the 'aviform' poet sheltering in Donnan's cave, making his way to a secluded eyrie in Cleadale, and, finally, abandoning the island, driven mad by the beauty of its sunsets.

The publication of the poem marks the opening of Sweeney's Bothy, a dedicated hut for creative residencies, built on Eigg, to a collaborative design by The Bothy Project and Alec Finlay.


Alec Finlay was born in Inverness in 1966. A poet and artist, he currently lives in Edinburgh. Sweeney's Bothy opened in February 2014; it is the latest dwelling space the artist has conceived, composing poetic definitions of architectural forms, from a renga platform, xylotheque, and bower, to the recently completed Taigh, the Scottish National Memorial for Organ and Tissue donation, in the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.


A special edition of Sweeney on Eigg is also available, printed on wove paper and cahier stitched into a bamboo paper cover, bearing the title and artist's name in red and black. It is published in an edition of just 26, with each exemplar signed and 'lettered' by the artist. The booklet is also accompanied by a 'blackthorn' postcard and a hand-written poem-label bearing a Gaelic place-name and English translation, originally tied in its location on the Isle of Eigg.

Poem Labels

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