Dates and times
In the early hours of New Year’s Day 1919, the Admiralty yacht Iolaire, carrying 280 demobbed servicemen home to Lewis, ran aground and sank just off Stornoway harbour. Amid a howling gale and raging sea – yet mere yards from shore – 201 men were lost. With Hebridean communities already disproportionately hit by wartime casualties, the impact of this tragedy reverberates in Lewis and Harris to this day.
Commissioned by An Lanntair and 14-18 NOW, the UK cultural programme marking the First World War centenary, Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis and fiddler Duncan Chisholm have created a deeply reflective multimedia commemoration, honouring both those who died and survived that night. Drawing on historical records, original letters, personal testimonies and newspaper archives, it combines original music and song with poetry, spoken word and visual imagery, touching on issues from collective trauma to survivor guilt. Hamish Napier, Su-a Lee, Megan Henderson, Donald Grant and Felix Tanner complete the musical cast.