Scottish Gaelic Renaissance

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The Scottish Gaelic Renaissance (Scottish Gaelic: Ath-Bheòthachadh na Gaidhlig) is a continuing movement concerning the revival of the Scottish Gaelic language. Although the Scottish Gaelic language had been facing gradual decline in the number of speakers since the late 19th century, the number of young fluent Gaelic speakers is quickly rising.[1] The movement has its origins in the Scottish Renaissance, especially in the work of Sorley MacLean, George Campbell Hay, Derick Thomson and Iain Crichton Smith. Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is sometimes seen as being a product of this renaissance. Although many of the products of the Renaissance were in poetry, or in traditional music, many such as MacLean and Iain Crichton Smith, and more recently Aonghas MacNeacail have blended these with modern international styles.


Mike Russell became the first person to address a European Union meeting in Scottish Gaelic in May 2010.[2] Gaelic had long suffered from its lack of use in educational and administrative contexts, having been suppressed in the past[3] but it has now achieved some official recognition with the passage of the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005.

At the first Scottish Parliament, a number of people also swore their oaths in English and Scottish Gaelic. (A version of the oath had to be said in English.)



  • Sharon Macdonald, Reimagining Culture: Histories, Identities and the Gaelic Renaissance (Oxford, Berg, 1997).
  • Roger Hutchinson, A Waxing Moon: The Modern Gaelic Revival (Edinburgh, Mainstream Publishing, 2005).


  1. ^ [1], Scotsman,2007.
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ See Kenneth MacKinnon (1991) Gaelic: A Past and Future Prospect. Edinburgh: The Saltire Society.
  4. ^ [3], The List, 2005.

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