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15 August 2017

Historic Environment Scotland Launch Gaelic Language Consultation

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has launched a consultation on its Gaelic Language Plan for 2018 to 2023.

a woman and a man hold copies of a document in front of a castle

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has launched a consultation on its Gaelic Language Plan for 2018 to 2023.

The plan seeks to build upon the organisation’s success with Gaelic development, which includes the incorporation of Gaelic interpretation into 29 of its historical sites, a learning program that has benefitted over 4,000 pupils and teachers and a strong portfolio of Gaelic media content for adult learners.

New targets are proposed to increase knowledge and understanding of Gaelic as part of the historic environment via online resources. A new series of investigations are planned to explore the links between Gaelic and properties in care of HES, and where found, new discoveries will feature in their interpretations and exhibitions.  

On the back of the success of Year of History, Heritage and Archeology, the plan will look ahead to supporting Year of Young People in 2018 by implementing a review of their learning program. This will aim to better support a burgeoning Gaelic Medium Education sector with projects and interactive resources bringing the next generation of Gaelic speakers closer in touch with our shared history.

Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

"I welcome these proposals from Historic Environment Scotland to further integrate Gaelic into its activities through this new Gaelic Language Plan."

"Gaelic language and culture forms a key part of Scotland’s history and heritage and it is fitting that this consultation is being undertaken during the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology."

"We are committed to ensuring Gaelic has a sustainable future which is why there needs to be a concerted effort on the part of Government and its agencies, the public and private sectors, community bodies and individual speakers to promote its use in as many ways as possible.
"Gaelic Language Plans are a key component of this and I would encourage all those with an interest to participate in the consultation." 

The plan also includes proposals for new Gaelic souvenir products to be sold at key HES sites, and a pilot project at Urquhart Castle which will increase the prominence and use of Gaelic within the visitor experience.

Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of Historic Environment Scotland said:

"We have developed an ambitious plan, which will help to illustrate the place of Gaelic within Scottish culture, while increasing resources for Gaelic speakers and learners. We want this consultation to reach as many people as possible, so we can ensure that the final plan is robust and representative. We very much look forward to reviewing the feedback."

The use of Gaelic in the hit TV series Outlander, has sparked increased interest in Gaelic amongst visitors to Scotland, with historic sites linked to the TV series continuing to see significant rises in visitor numbers. The HES-produced video series Gaelic for Outlanders, has proven to be a hit amongst YouTube audiences, demonstrating the potential for further Gaelic development that draws upon Scotland’s history and heritage.

In addition to Gaelic, the plan also envisions supporting local heritage projects in their use of Scots, Doric and Lallans, recognising the role that languages and dialects play in local heritage around Scotland. 

The consultation runs from 15 August to 31 October.

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES)

About Gaelic in Scotland

  • The 2011 Census showed there are approximately 58,000 Gaelic speakers in Scotland, or 1.1% of the overall population. Roughly half of Gaelic speakers live in the Highlands and Western Isles, with half in urban centres such as Glasgow and Edinburgh.
  • There are over 7,500 children going through Gaelic Medium Education in Primary and Secondary units in 14 council areas across Scotland.
  • VisitScotland research has demonstrated that 51% of visitors to Scotland would be Very Interested or Fairly Interested in learning more about Gaelic.

Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017

2017 is the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology (HHA), a year that will celebrate Scotland’s people, our distinct culture and traditions, our historic landscapes, attractions and icons as well as our hidden gems and amazing stories. From World Heritage Sites to ancient monuments, listed buildings to historic battlefields, cultural traditions to our myths, stories and legends, 2017 is the year to explore Scotland’s fascinating past. This is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland and a variety of partners.

Get involved on Twitter with #HHA2017

Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017 logo

Follow Historic Environment Scotland

Twitter: @HistEnvScot | @welovehistory 

Facebook: @HistoricEnvScotland @VisitHistoricScotland


For further information

Seumas Skinner
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
Direct Line: 0131 668 8714
Mobile: 07776 243 809