History of Gaelic Language

Gaelic has been in use for many centuries and is one of the oldest languages in Europe. Once widely spoken across the whole of Scotland, its popularity has been in decline for many years and the islands of the Outer Hebrides are one of the last places where this ancient language is still spoken. It is officially the first language of the Outer Hebrides and many of the islanders still use it in day to day life.

Modern Day

Gaelic has experienced a resurgence in the last decade and is once more becoming celebrated in the arts, music, media and education.

Gaelic songs have long been sung in the islands both as part of ceilidhs and were traditionally sung to help with everyday tasks such as setting the rhythm for “waulking” or shrinking the Harris tweed fabric before it could be sent to the mill for finishing. Music is such an important part of island life that many of the islands host annual music festivals which feature Scottish bands and artists many of whom celebrate the tradition of Gaelic in music.

Gaelic lessons are offered in many Scottish schools which is introducing the language to a new generation and is ensuring that the language will continue to be spoken in years to come. There are also Gaelic language courses available online from companies such as Duolingo.

Island of Benbecula, HS7 5PS
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North Uist, HS6 5AY
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