MacPhail: let us fight to save our language

Want to read more?

We value our content  and access to our full site is  only available on subscription. Your subscription entitles you to 7-day-a-week access to our website, plus a full digital copy of that week’s paper to read on your pc/mac or mobile device In addition your subscription includes access to digital archive copies from 2006 onwards

Already a subscriber?


Subscribe Now

How often we read on the waves of social media or in the letters pages of the printed press, the sentiments, relating to Gaelic: ‘Why spend money on a dead language?’

Well, apart from the myriad of other hugely important reasons, the simplest is that at present the language is clearly not dead, though there is no doubt that on the current trajectory, the future of the language is on a downward course.

There is also no doubt, however, that this course towards our own demise could be changed to a self-perpetuating upward trend of exponential growth.

There are a lot of organisations and individuals working hard towards this goal and it is definitely achievable.

At the moment there are still many people who use Gaelic as a genuine first language. These people in my eyes are by far the most important factor in the survival of the language and our culture.

This strong lifeline to the anchors of our identity is slipping through our hands and, as a population, we are watching it happen with apathy, all distracted with the rough and tumble of life.

I am as guilty as any in this regard. We must jolt ourselves to take action or we will watch as the ropes to these anchors slip out of our hands and, as a people, we drift into oblivion.

We have the chance to survive if only we put the effort in and collectively close our hands around these ropes to the survival of our own race.

Anchors of the Soul – lyrics Angus MacPhail (Gaelic chorus, Flora MacPhail)

Don’t tell me I’m dead when my heart is beating strong.
Though I’m down upon my knees I will rise in song
And the voice of generations still to see the dawning day
Will be heard on the mountains and the bay.

Hold hold and live for the goal
We still can save our soul.
Hold hold and live for the goal
And the anchors of our soul.

Seinn, seinn and duan
Le guthan arda gun ghruaim.
Seinn, seinn and duan
Buan gu bràth.

I was born to the bloodline and the land of the Gael
And I won’t lie down and watch the end of our tale.
We can’t rewrite the past but our future can be made
And the road to change our story can be laid.
In our day we stand now to lose it or to live
We have one last chance before the lifelines give.

Use the history and the hope of our people and our plight
To wake up now and see the morning light.
We will walk to the future with the power of our past
And the wounds long held will be healed at last.
And the rise of the Gael in our time will come
From the old through the passion of the young.