Glasgow Letter, March 24 2022

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I was recently added to a WhatsApp group for a game of five-a-side football in Glasgow where players are only allowed to speak Gaelic.

This means two things. One: I am soon to find out what the Gaelic is for “Robert you’ve got the first touch of a baby elephant” and two: Gaelic really is being normalised across all aspects of daily life.

Which brings me onto the subject of this column. This week has been Seachdain na Gàidhlig, World Gaelic Week, which aims to celebrate Scottish Gaelic across the globe.

It is the first official nation-wide language and culture week to be held in Scotland and it seems to have succeeded in giving the language a great boost in profile.

As I hopped into my car the other day, Radio Scotland came on and there was Joy Dunlop teaching Johnny Beattie how to say “Drivetime is the best news programme in the world” in Gaelic!

This was a great, light-hearted approach to getting the message across about the importance of maintaining our native language but Joy also made the very pertinent point that Gaelic language is so interconnected with Gaelic culture – so it is doubly important to continue to ensure it remains vibrant.

There are a number of events connected with the week across Scotland and a good few here in Glasgow, including some at the University of Glasgow hosted by the Comunn Oiseanach whose piping competition I wrote about last week.

There are, of course, many more events throughout the Highlands and have been all week.

Based on similar language weeks held in Ireland and Nova Scotia, these events are for all Gaelic abilities and include everything from conversation classes to online cèilidhs and even a Gaelic gin tasting. I would place a fairly significant bet that the gin tasting will prove popular!

For more information, head over to seachdainnagaidhlig.scot and get yourself involved with the events which run right up until this Sunday March 27.

On another note, remember to keep your eye on the Glasgow Islay Association Facebook page this Saturday night (March 26) for its virtual 165th Annual Gathering.

At the time of writing this column, no further details have been confirmed online but I am sure it will be a fantastic night and hopefully the last virtual event before associations such as the Glasgow Islay can meet up again next year.

Meanwhile, Clydebank Highland Association held a cèilidh in the Waterfront Parish Church on the evening of Friday March 11.

The chairman was Donald Fletcher. Gaelic singers were Alasdair Whyte, Fergus Muir, Rhona Morrison, and D I Brown. The Scots singer was Jackie Gibson, the accompanist Kirsteen Grant, and the piper Robert Wood.

The final ceilidh will be held in the same venue on Friday April 22 at 7.30pm.

The committee would like to thank everyone who donated raffle prizes to the evening and who came along to support the association.

The Clydebank Highlanders look forward to seeing everyone again next month.