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Communities Breathe New Life into Gaelic Culture

The origins of Gaelic culture date back many centuries and although Gaelic speakers were persecuted in the 18th and 19th centuries, it is still spoken across the Highlands and Islands today.

Visitors are most likely to hear it spoken in the Outer Hebrides and on Skye, but they will also see Gaelic on road signs and hear it on radio, podcasts, and television. Gaelic culture provided many of Scotland’s national icons, from the kilt to whisky, but it’s at a traditional cèilidh that most will experience the culture in music and song.

Over the past 30 years, the Fèis movement, which comprises a group of Gaelic arts tuition festivals, mainly for young people, has helped to breathe new life into Gaelic culture across the Highlands and Islands and beyond. Visitors should look out for the Fèis Cèilidh Trails which provide opportunities to hear some of the best young musicians as they tour their own communities throughout the summer months. Elsewhere, the Gaelic culture is also widely celebrated across the Highlands and Islands at the annual Blas Festival, which sees many of the top traditional musicians and storytellers take to the stage at a wide range of venues from Stornoway to Ballachulish and from Achilitibuie to Oban

Stornoway, Isle of Lewis (Credit: Visit Scotland/Kenny Lam)