Castle to host Gaelic Arts Week

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Music, poetry and song will feature in a new Clan Donald Gaelic Arts Week to take place at Armadale Castle, Gardens and Museum next month.

Supported by EventScotland’s Scottish Clan Event Fund, the week-long programme will celebrate traditional Gaelic arts and their place in Clan Donald history.

The programme opens with a family day on Saturday June 1, where there will be musical taster sessions, games and craft activities. Visitors can have a go at playing the clarsach (Scottish harp) and chanter, watch informal performances, and see an exhibition of artefacts from the museum’s archive.

During the week, ‘pop up’ performances by visiting artists will take place in and around the museum and gardens. Gaelic singer Christine Primrose MBE, fiddle player Ronan Martin and accordionist Eilidh MacFadyen are among those taking part, and audience interaction is encouraged.

Poet Dr Meg Bateman will lead poetry tours in the museum, and Dr Decker Forrest will give a talk on the history of pibroch or pìobaireachd, the classical music of the great Highland bagpipe.

Visitors can also enjoy free Gaelic language classes, with taster sessions in the cafe run by Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.

The week will culminate with two prestigious musical competitions. On Friday evening, the Donald MacDonald Cuach brings together five of the country’s most talented pipers to compete for the pìobaireachd cup.

Gaelic singer Griogair Labhruidh will provide the interval music, with contributions by local young musicians.

The week ends on Saturday afternoon with the Princess Margaret of the Isles Memorial Prize for senior clarsach. Four talented harpists will take
part in the competition, judged by musician and composer Mary Ann Kennedy. Both competitions will be live streamed online via Armadale Castle’s Facebook page.

To develop the programme Armadale Castle has worked with the local Clan Donald Society and staff at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Scotland’s National Centre for Gaelic language and Culture.

The week takes place from June 1-8 at Armadale Castle, Gardens and Museum in Armadale, Skye. For full listings and further details see www.armadalecastle.com/events.