LANGUAGE OPPORTUNITY: Local schools celebrate Seachdain na Gàidhlig

Creative pupils in Dunvegan Pic Willie Urquhart

Seachdain na Gàidhlig (World Gaelic Week) took place from the 19th – 25th of February, hosting activities and challenges to promote and celebrate the Gaelic language, with the theme for 2024 being Do Chànan. Do Chothrom (Your Language. Your Opportunity).

Pupils at Dunvegan Primary School were among those to get involved, getting creative with arts and crafts as they painted out some of their favourite Gaelic words and phrases. 

Making the message heard Pic Willie Urquhart

Class teacher Josie MacLeod told the Free Press: “All pupils, Gaelic and English medium, created posters using the mindful Gaelic words they learnt together and then created t-shirts and bookmarks. 

In the afternoon pupils took part in sessions learning a variety of cèilidh dances. 

“They put these dancing skills to good use in the evening as they attended a traditional cèilidh at Dunvegan Hall. 

“We were very happy to welcome special guests Darren Maclean, Kirsteen Graham and Iona MacDonald who along with our own Jaggy Thistles Band, fiddle group, school choir and other singing groups entertained and delighted a full audience”, she said. 

Dunvegan joined hundreds of schools taking part Pic Willie Urquhart

Meanwhile, pupils at Lochcarron Primary School raised over £500 by hosting a Gaelic coffee morning for the community where the children sold home-baking and performed Gaelic songs for their family and friends. 

Lochcarron pupils received a generous donation Pic Willie Urquhart

This is one of many Gaelic events that the children take part in and they are due to attend the Inverness Mòd on the 21st of June this year. 

Lochcarron teacher Kirsty Elder explained that the children had been given a generous donation to help with their Mòd performances.

She said: “The Lochcarron Weavers have been incredibly generous and offered to make and donate 15 kilts to the Gaelic Medium pupils to wear to the Mòd.

“The pupils will be singing in a number of categories on the day and welcome everyone to come along and support them.”

In Broadford the school researched local place-names, held a bake-off based on traditional family recipes and received shinty tuition from Gaelic-speaking coaches.

A bake-off in Broadford

The schools programme culminated in the first ever National Gaelic Assembly, which brought together 66 schools and 2,500 pupils across the country to celebrate and experience Gaelic and featured a special guest appearance from Tide Lines frontman Robert Robertson.  

Seachdain na Gàidhlig is the first official nationwide language and culture week to be held in Scotland and aims to raise the profile of Gaelic through community initiatives, projects and events. 

Shinty was also on the list of activities at Broadford

It provides the opportunity for both Gaelic speakers and those without the language to take part both in Scotland and further afield.

It is supported by Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Hands up for Trad. 

Article by Daniel Cullen.

Dunvegan pupils with teacher Josie MacLeod Pic Willie Urquhart