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The ‘Sgeul’ exhibition at National Library of Scotland

The organisers of this year’s Seachdain na Gàidhlig (World Gaelic Week), which closed on Sunday 25 February, are reflecting on the tremendous achievements of the 2024 event, the biggest yet.

Returning for its third edition, the global event showcased over 170 events across Scotland and beyond, surpassing initial expectations and solidifying its position as a premier platform for Gaelic cultural exchange. 

Organised by Scottish traditional culture and music organisation Hands Up For Trad, with support from Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Creative Scotland, Seachdain na Gàidhlig took place from 19 - 25 February. 

Spread across more than 100 locations worldwide, including New York, Nova Scotia and London, Seachdain na Gàidhlig 2024 believes it fostered a palpable sense of community, uniting Gaelic speakers and enthusiasts far and wide around the theme of Do Chànan. Do Chothrom. which translates to Your Language. Your Opportunity. 

From traditional music performances to interactive language workshops, the diverse array of events catered to individuals of all ages and abilities. Fèis Rois in Cromarty hosted a two-day Gaelic Residential event for S1-4 learners at The Old Brewery focussed on Gaelic music, dance, storytelling and communal activities.

In Uist, Grimsay Community Association held three daily workshops focussing on local stories and forgotten phrases, while the North Uist Historical Society welcomed locals for an open discussion on Gaelic poetry and song. 

In the central belt of Scotland, a myriad of musical events took place, from a showcase of Gaelic and Scots song at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow to a performance from experimental musician Brìghde Chaimbeul at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

In Inverness, FC Sonas teamed up with both the Highland Council and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to create the Highland and Island World Gaelic Week Football Festival for school pupils in S1 to S3. The event promoted the positive benefits of team-based sporting activity and foster connection and community among young Gaelic learners.

It also saw the launch of the ‘Sgeul’ exhibition which will run beyond Seachdain na Gàidhlig until Saturday 20 April at the National Library of Scotland, celebrating the magical Gaelic folk tales collected by John Francis Campbell of Islay between 1859 and 1885. 

Around 12,600 pupils from 136 schools across 27 local authority areas in Scotland engaged in the initiative’s first ever online schools’ workshop programme. Pupils tuned in daily to enjoy a mix of games, songs, music and special guest appearances from renowned Gaelic speakers who use the language in their everyday lives, with content tailored to suit schools with all levels of Gaelic experience. The 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.  

On Thursday 22 February, over 110 people worldwide took part in Say A Gaelic Phrase Day, including schools and a wide variety of national and international cultural, business, sporting and education partners, such as the Edinburgh International Festival, National Theatre of Scotland, New York Tartan Week, Scottish Government Canada, MG Alba, VisitScotland, Partick Thistle FC, Historic Scotland, National Galleries of Scotland, Eden Court Highlands, Highlands & Islands Airports Ltd, WeeBox, Scotland Shop, Dundee Stars Ice Hockey Team, Scots Language Centre, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and Twinkl Scotland, to name a few.

Stars of Gaeldom also joined in the fun, including presenter, writer and Highland adventurer Calum Maclean. The global activity encouraged people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to film themselves speaking the language and share it on social media, using the hashtags #SeachdainNaGàidhlig2024, #LàAbairtNaGàidhlig or #SayAGaelicPhraseDay.

In all, 745 youngsters entered the T-Shirt Competition to design the official merchandise for Seachdain na Gàidhlig 2025, a significant increase from last year’s 419 entries. Participants under 18 were tasked with creating designs reflecting what Gaelic means to them, promising a diverse array of contributions. 

Seachdain na Gàidhlig 2024 also welcomed the assistance and enthusiasm of two Gaelic Ambassadors – 2022 Gaelic Education Award winner and Young Gaelic Ambassador of the Year Rachel Kellow and Gaelic singer, TV presenter and Gaelic Ambassador of the Year Linda MacLeod. 

Joy Dunlop, Director of Seachdain na Gàidhlig, said: “Seachdain na Gàidhlig 2024 has really demonstrated the enduring vibrancy and richness of Gaelic culture, and we are immensely proud of the diverse programming and widespread participation that have made this year's event truly unforgettable. Seeing multiple generations from across the globe actively engage in events like this highlights the enduring passion, interest and support that surrounds the language. It's truly an exciting time for Gaelic culture, and each participant in this year’s Seachdain na Gàidhlig has played a vital role in preserving and celebrating the legacy and longevity of our rich heritage."

Ealasaid MacDonald, Ceannard, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said: “I’d like to congratulate everyone involved in Seachdain na Gàidhlig, for inspiring such a wonderful week showcasing the best of Gaelic. With events taking place all over Scotland, abroad and online, it showcased how important the Gaelic language is to communities and that it is central to our national culture and identity. It’s been a pleasure to see so many people coming together and getting involved, from those celebrating that Gaelic is part of their daily lives to those embracing engaging with it for the first time.”

 

 

 

Seachdain na Gàidhlig is a charity, donations to support its organisation can be made at https://handsupfortrad.enthuse.com/sng#!/ and at https://seachdainnagaidhlig.scot/support-us/

 

For a full list of events which took place throughout the week, please visit: www.seachdainnagaidhlig.scot.