An Lanntair in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, is holding Year of Stories events celebrating Gaelic
EDINBURGH, Scotland, 2022-Mar-23 — /Travel PR News/ — VisitScotland has revealed how visitor interest in Scottish Gaelic has risen over the last four years.
Today (3/21/2022) marks the start of the first ever World Gaelic Week/Seachdain na Gàidhlig (21-27 March) which aims to celebrate and promote the importance of Gaelic, and the national tourism organisation is highlighting the significant role the language plays within tourism and events.
From 2018 to 2021 there was a 72 per cent increase in the number of VisitScotland.com users visiting Gaelic related content with a peak in pageviews during the 2020 lockdown.
With 2022 marking Scotland’s Year of Stories, a key aim is to share how Gaelic is woven into the fabric of the country and has influenced the way we speak and tell stories now.
A nationwide programme of more than 100 events presented by a range of partners from national organisations to community groups are taking place this year, in recognition of the wealth of stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland. And over 20 of these events are celebrating Gaelic.
- Tìr Ìseal nan Òran (Tiree: low land of song) is an island-wide creative project which aims to celebrate and promote Tiree’s stories, heritage, culture, and Gaelic language. At the heart of the project are seven stories from the island’s history, tradition and mythology which will be explored within their physical and historical contexts to inspire new creative work. Local artists, young people, the wider Tiree community and an international audience will all be invited to take part in exploring and re-telling these stories through a mixture of traditional music and song, film and photography, theatre and writing, and Gaelic and English.
- Bail’ Ach’ an Droighinn/Auchindrain Historic Township – the last surviving Scottish Highland Township, based near Inveraray in Argyll – plans to celebrate Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 by presenting a new series of Argyll folk tales on their YouTube channel. The stories will be told in the local Gaelic dialect (with subtitles) and offer fascinating insights into the myths and legends told around the fireside by the people of the past and provide fresh enjoyment and new insights for the world of today.
- In Skye, SEALL (Skye Events for All Ltd) and Gaelic singer Anne Martin lead An Tinne (The Link), which is a special programme of events linking a collection of songs, stories, and objects from across the centuries exploring the deep and fascinating connection between Scotland and Australia – taking place in August
- Stornoway’s An Lanntair presents Seanchas, a series of events, films and special commissions celebrating tales from the Hebrides both real and imagined, modern and ancient.
- A new film, Cliabh An T-Shenachais – The Story Creel, will celebrate fishing and its importance to the remote communities of Southwest Mull and Iona. Knowledge of the sea and weather signs, tall tales of misadventure, and the experiences of family members on shore will be explored through interviews with local fishing families. These stories will be interwoven with Gaelic language sea songs and poems performed by local school children. The film’s red-carpet premiere will take place on Fionnphort beach, Mull, on 23 July and it will be available online from 4 October.
- Sgeulaichean Siarach is a celebration of stories and myths associated with the west side of Lewis. In two live performances, local primary school children will share their own creative Gaelic language responses to traditional stories, passed on by Island elders during environmental walks to significant local sites. The first performance will take place at Grinneabhat, Lewis, on 7 April.
- Songs from the Last Page is a live performance and song-writing project led by composer Gareth Williams and Chamber Music Scotland. As part of their nationwide programme of events this year, they will be teaming up with Skye Gaelic singer, Deirdre Graham. With support from Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Williams and Graham will be producing a series of bilingual song-writing workshops and live performances in Skye and Edinburgh this summer, that celebrate both historic and modern Gaelic storytellers. The live performances will feature a programme of original songs that turn some of the nation’s favourite book endings into new beginnings, including a Gaelic-language song commissioned by the project.
Gaelic’s popularity has also grown on the language app, Duolingo. The learning tool launched the free course on St Andrew’s Day 2019 and there are now 430,000 active learners studying Scots Gaelic on Duolingo. The course has been a success in Scotland, the UK, and the world over with the largest number of learners in the USA (35 per cent) – which speaks to the connection the Scottish diaspora has with the language. The app also has Gaelic learners from locations as far afield as Chad, Equatorial Guinea, San Marino, the Falkland Islands, and Tajikistan.
VisitScotland launched its first Gaelic toolkit last year to help the tourism industry to build upon the lure of the language with visitors. It highlights ways to use Gaelic and its culture to create a more immersive visitor experience such as teaching staff some basic phrases and translating place names to reveal their Gaelic origins and meanings.
A diverse range of events that celebrate the Gaelic language are being supported through the Year of Stories Community Stories Fund. These events will be hosted by museums, festivals, arts centres and community groups right across Scotland, including on the islands of Tiree, Mull and Lewis.
The Year of Stories 2022 Community Stories Fund is being delivered in partnership between VisitScotland and Museums Galleries Scotland with support from National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players.
Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive, said: “The importance of Gaelic to the Scottish tourism and events industry cannot be underestimated. As the sector starts to recover from the devastation of COVID-19, finding ways to position Scotland as a unique and stand-out holiday choice is vital.
“Gaelic and its rich culture are an important part of Scotland’s tourism offer and provides an extra layer of authenticity for visitors with a unique culture you can only truly experience in Scotland. This only strengthens the experience we know means so much to visitors.
“World Gaelic Week and the Year of Stories 2022 give an opportunity to highlight why we believe the language will continue to prove an asset to Scotland’s identity and our tourism industry.”
Lucy Casot, CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland, said: “Storytelling has been at the heart of Scottish Gaelic culture for well over a thousand years so it’s fitting that this rich language and associated oral traditions feature prominently in the Scotland’s Year of Stories programme. “Through the Community Stories Fund we are delighted to support a number of events that highlight traditional Gaelic tales and legends in creative ways, bringing them up to date for contemporary audiences.
“This vibrant living language is an important means of passing on ideas about people, place and nature, so we’re really pleased to enable communities to share their stories more widely, helping to connect audiences with an important part of Scotland’s culture.”
Seachdain na Gàidhlig/World Gaelic Week is a brand-new initiative that brings together stakeholders, partners, the press, schools, social media influencers, participants, and audiences from across the world to celebrate Gaelic language. Seachdain na Gàidhlig will include a coordinated network of activities taking place across Scotland and internationally in the weeks leading up to and including 21 – 27 March 2022.
Joy Dunlop, Director of Seachdain na Gàidhlig, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled by the response to Seachdain na Gàidhlig, people have been so busy creating their own ideas to feature within the extensive programme; we currently have over 90 events taking place throughout the globe, with more being added to our online events diary daily.
“This proves that Gaelic is thriving, not just here in Scotland but across the world and I can’t wait to celebrate our language and culture this week on a global scale. If anyone wants to take part, free online resources, learning materials and advice can be found on our official website, where visitors can also find further information about the events.”
Brian Ó hEadhra, Partnerships & Funding Manager at Bòrd na Gàidhlig. said: “There are a plethora of Gaelic language events and celebrations happening across Scotland and abroad during Seachdain na Gàidhlig / World Gaelic Week 2022. “Storytelling is often at the core of these events. The stories draw upon our rich traditions and folklore as well as contemporary life in Scotland today.
“Bòrd na Gàidhlig is proud to support this first ever Seachdain na Gàidhlig as well as many of the events taking place online and in person.”
Notes to Editors
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- VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
- The organisation’s key objective is to contribute to Scotland Outlook 2030, the national tourism strategy ambition of pursuing a sustainable and responsible tourism agenda.
- This will be supported by five overarching strategies: Marketing, Events, Quality and Sustainability, Inclusive Tourism, International Engagement.
- Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices).
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- Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
- For holiday information on Scotland go to http://www.visitscotland.com
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Year of Stories 2022 (YS2022)
- Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 will spotlight, celebrate and promote the wealth of stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland.
- Led by VisitScotland, the Year of Stories 2022 will sustain and build upon the momentum of preceding Themed Years, showcasing a nationwide programme of major events and community celebrations.
- From icons of literature to local tales, Scotland’s Year of Stories encourages locals and visitors to experience a diversity of voices, take part in events and explore the places, people and cultures connected to all forms of our stories, past and present.
- Scotland’s Year of Stories will encourage responsible engagement and inclusive participation from the people of Scotland and our visito
- A marketing toolkit, featuring an industry guide, FAQs and the Year of Stories 2022 logo, is available on www.visitscotland.org to help businesses, organisations and the travel trade maximise the Themed Years opportunity.
- Join the conversation using #YS2022 and #TalesOfScotland.
- Following an industry consultation, Themed Years will take place every second year to enable more time for planning and collaboration. The next Themed Year will take place in 2024.
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