Celebrating Gaelic language and culture in Nova Scotia.
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Fàilte oirbh!

Welcome to you!

In this newsletter, you will find news and current events celebrating and sharing Gaelic language and culture in Nova Scotia.

In the effort to spread good news about Gaelic Nova Scotia, this newsletter will be shared with interested community members, media outlets (social media, newspapers, etc.) and political leaders at all levels of government.  If you have content to add or would like to share an event, please send me an email.

If you wish to opt out of this weekly mailing list, you will find the unsubscribe link at the end of this email.

'N dòchas gun còrd e ribh,
Hope you enjoy,
Seigheag Nic'IlleMhaoil | Shay MacMullin


Fionnlagh Mór

Naidheachd air mar a thàinig na Peutanaich anall á Lochabar. 'S e Dòmhnall Aonghas mac Fhionnlaigh `ic Iain `ic Iain `ic Fhionnlaigh Mhóir a dh' inneas mar a dh' éirich do dh’Fhionnlagh Mór, a shin sin seanair. 

Big Finlay Beaton's immigration story.

An Lùnasdal air a’ Bhlàr a-Muigh / The Gaelic at Midsummer Camping Trip

Learning isn’t just for classrooms. This summer, you can learn Gaelic in the great outdoors with an intensive immersion session from August 5th to 7th in Whycocomagh, Nova Scotia, Canada. Imagine lighting bonfires, picking berries, hiking, cooking, canoeing and looking at the stars, all while learning to talk about these activities in Gaelic! From your arrival on Friday evening until your departure on Sunday afternoon, you’ll be having fun and making friends through the medium of Gaelic.

The instructors for this session are Joyce MacDonald and Emily MacDonald. Joyce is a Gaelic speaker who grew up in Centreville, just outside of Whycocomagh. She works for Colaisde na Gàidhlig / The Gaelic College, where she has been teaching Gaelic since 2013. Emily is a Gaelic speaker who grew up in Ainslie Glen, also just outside of Whycocomagh. She has degrees in Celtic Studies and Education, and she’s been teaching Gaelic since 2009. They are both deeply rooted in Cape Breton’s Gaelic community, and they both have learned much from their Gaelic speaking grandmothers.

The program will use the Gàidhlig aig Baile / Gaelic in the Community method of teaching, which involves total immersion in Gaelic from the beginning, and no formal study of grammar or writing until learners reach an advanced level. The focus is on natural speech, communication and lots of activities.
The immersion will include traditional activities associated with the Gaelic holidays of Lùnasdal (August 1) and Là Fheill Muire (August 15.)

The fee for the weekend is $140. This will include 15 hours of Gaelic instruction, and meals.

Participants will have to make their own arrangements for accommodations. There are a limited number of beds in a yurt that are available for a small additional fee. There is also an option to book a camping spot at the Whycocomagh Provincial Campground on Salt Mountain, or to commute from a nearby house, cabin, hotel or hostel.

The Gaelic at Midsummer Camping trip / An Lùnasdal air a’ Bhlàr a-Muigh is sponsored by the Whycocomagh Historical Society, with support from Gaelic Affairs.

There are only 15 spots available in this program, so reserve yours before they fill up!

For more information, or to book a spot, please contact Joyce MacDonald at (902) 258-7551 or

Có Tachartas Mìos na Gàidhlig a bhios tu fhéin a' frithealadh? Tadhail air Làrach-lìn Oifis Iomairtean na Gàidhlig far am faighear tuilleadh fiosrachaidh mu thachartasan a bhios air an cumail air feadh na Mór-roinn `sa Chéitean.

Which Gaelic Awareness Month Event will you attend? Visit Gaelic Affairs Website to find information about events taking place across the province in May.

A message from Lewis MacKinnon:

Air mo cheann fhéin, bidh mi ’tòiseachadh prógraim radio thro mheadhan na Gàidhlig a bhios a’ ruith a h-uile Di-Dòmhnaich / Là na Sabaid aig 12:30 f a mhaireas fad lethuair a shìde air 97.5 
Radio na Coimhearsnachd ann an Sackville Ìosail, Alba Nuadh.

’S e Stéisean Nàisean nan Gàidheal an tiotal a tha mi ’cleachdadh dhan phrógram. 

Bhithinn-sa glé thoilichte molaidhean na beachdan ’fhaighinn o dhuine sam bith a thaobh stuth dhan phrógram.

As a personal initiative, I will be starting a radio program through the medium of Gaelic that will run every Sunday at 12:30 pm for a half hour on 97.5 Community Radio in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia.

The working title I am using for the program is A Gaelic Nation Station.

I would be very pleased to receive any suggestions or thoughts from anyone regarding content for the program.

Taing mhór!

Scottish dietician collecting stories of Highland emigrant food traditions

Jill MacRae wants to know what's survived and what's been lost

By Peggy MacDonald, CBC News Posted: May 25, 2016 7:30 AM AT Last Updated: May 25, 2016 7:30 AM AT

A Scottish dietician is researching Highland food traditions that migrated with those who left the Highlands over the last 200 years.

A Scottish dietician is researching Highland food traditions that migrated with those who left the Highlands over the last 200 years. (CBC) 

A dietician from highland Scotland has begun collecting food stories and traditions from the descendants of Highlanders who emigrated — voluntarily or not — from Scotland in the last 300 years.

Jill MacRae from Alness, Ross-shire, has been reaching out through media outlets around the world to areas where it's known that large numbers of Highlanders settled between the mid-1700s and the 20th century.

She told CBC's Information Morning Cape Breton that her imagination has been sparked by the history of the highlands and the knowledge of the Highland Clearances and other mass migrations.

'What happened to those people?'

"Driving past some of the country churches where people scribbled their names on the stained glass windows before they were set off in ships to Canada and other parts of the world," she said. "Plus tiny little villages that were just abandoned almost overnight, I always wondered 'Wow! What happened to those people?'"


A Scottish dietician hit gold when word reached the Cape Breton Highlands that she is looking for food stories and traditions from immigrants who left Scotland. (AP Photo/Glenn Adams)

MacRae said because, as a dietician, she sees the world through the filter of food, she began to wonder what happened to the emigrants' food traditions too.

"How did the culture of the meals change, with a wider or a lesser diversity of ingredients. You know, did people starting making haggis or black pudding using moose or elk, you know, really fascinating things like that [that] I'd love to document."

Amazing response

MacRae has sent letters to newspapers across the country, asking for stories and remembrances of family food traditions.

She said the response from Cape Breton, where thousands of Highland Scots settled, has already been "amazing.

"Cape Breton has actually blown my socks off," she joked, "There are amazing emails coming in.

"And what is interesting is that some of the Gaelic names have become a little bit confused. You know, I don't have a great grasp of Gaelic, but I figured out what things were. People seem to have taken amazing pride in trying to keep it as authentic as possible." 

Traditions preserved

In fact, MacRae has discovered that some old Highland food traditions, now lost in Scotland, continue in some areas of Cape Breton.

"One tradition that really was so interesting was, in Cape Breton, a Halloween tradition that's gone on, while here in Scotland, we've dropped it," she explained.

"A dish called fuarag is a dish of oatmeal and cream that's mixed together and little trinkets are added. And it's a way of portenting the future. If you get a gold ring, then you're to be married.

"If you get a button, a coin or a thimble, it means other things like good fortune. Really, what a fantastic tradition but here, in Scotland, we don't do that anymore."

Anyone with an interest in sharing stories or traditions with MacRae can reach her by email at

The North Atlantic Fiddle Convention (NAFCo) will be organizing three workshops related to memory and traditional music and dance over the next 18 months and several sessions will be live-streamed with the hope that the workshops will have as broad a reach as possible. NAFCo events are for dancers and musicians as well as for scholars. The first workshop will be held June 9 and 10 in Aberdeen. Streamed sessions will take place Thursday, 2:00-5:15 British Summer Time (several hours earlier in North America, depending on your time zone):

Session 1 – Keynote Address: David C. Rubin, Juanita M. Kreps Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA, "The Role of Memory in Oral Traditions"

Session 2 – In the Hot Seat: Presentations on "Memory" by Byron Dueck, Jo Miller, and Colin Quigley, with responses by David Rubin.

If you would be interested in accessing these events, please contact Heather Sparling ( for the URL. There is no charge involved.

From Scottish Gaelic Foundation of the USA:  Interview with Lewis MacKinnon


on Gaelic Nova Scotia, the power of song, reclaiming heritage, and more …

MacKinnon-1-726x408Lewis MacKinnon (Lodaidh MacFhionghain) is the Executive Director of Gaelic Affairs for the Province of Nova Scotia. In 2006 he released an all Gaelic recording titled, A’ Seo (“Here”) which earned him an ECMA nomination in the Roots/Traditional category. In 2011, the Royal National Mod, held annually in Scotland as a celebration of Gaelic tradition, awarded him the distinguished Bardic Crown, which was the first time that it was given to someone not born in Scotland. May is Gaelic Awareness Month in Nova Scotia and Lodaidh has been busy going to events all over the province, so we’re very toilichte (pleased) that he’s cleared a space for this interview.


(1) What is your family background? Where did you grow up?

My cultural backgrounds originate with Gaels who came from Scotland to Nova Scotia starting in the 1790s and French Acadians who arrived in 1660.
Born in Inverness, Cape Breton, I grew up on Dunmore Road, Lower South River, Antigonish County, Mainland Nova Scotia and now live with my family in Middle Sackville, Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia.

(2) When did you first become conscious of Gaelic as a language and culture? What were your early assumptions about Gaelic culture and history? How do they contrast with what you know now?

When I was quite young, relatives and friends from Cape Breton would come to visit our home in Antigonish County. My father’s relatives would greet my father and granduncle in Gaelic as they entered the house. I also recall my father speaking Gaelic to his siblings over the phone. Conversations would be conducted in English but Gaelic was always used when greeting and words and phrases would frequently be used throughout conversations.

Though in severe decline in my youth, there was also an Antigonish County Gàidhealtachd. I would frequently hear Gaelic phrases and words from older county residents during this period.

I learned most of my early understanding of Scottish history from my granduncle, Dougald MacDougall. He would talk about how the MacDougalls in Scotland fought against King Robert the Bruce and were militarily diminished as a result. He spoke of William Wallace, Culloden and it seems to me Rob Roy as well. This was all through the medium of English and looking back I believe I had a romantic view of Scottish/Highland culture.

Having learned Gaelic and come to a much greater appreciation, understanding and awareness of Gaels in the Nova Scotia context, the romantic notions of my early years seem so remote.

(3) How did you start to learn Gaelic and why?

I don’t exactly recall how it occurred, but somehow Dougald and I started using Gaelic. I believe that I asked him to speak to me so that I could learn the language. He was a great man: loyal, generous, caring, devout and wise. He could be firm too but somehow I knew that there was an identity that he had that couldn’t be properly expressed or shared in the society within which he lived. My recollections are of simple phrases like “Có tha siod?”, “Dùin an dorust.”, “Fosgail an uinneag”, “Dé thuirt thu?”, “Tha mi sgìth”. I have a profound emotional connection to Gaelic through Dougald and this connection moves me to this day.

I recall bringing short humorous anecdotes home to read aloud from first year Gaelic class at St. Francis Xavier University and reading these to my granduncle and my father, Joe MacKinnon. They would question me if they didn’t understand something I was mispronouncing and gently correct; they would always get a kick out of the punchline of the story.

After Dougald’s death in 1990, I kept trying to speak Gaelic with my father and now it is the only language we use. I also only speak Gaelic to my two sons.

(4) What is the Nova Scotia Office of Gaelic Affairs and what is your role there?

2016-05-13-04-21-15-NG-A03-14052016-GaelicGaelic Affairs is a division of Communities, Culture and Heritage, Government of Nova Scotia. Established in 2006, Gaelic Affairs’ vision is that Gaelic language, culture and identity are acknowledged, valued and contribute to community, spiritual and economic renewal in Nova Scotia.

My role is to work with Gaelic Affairs’ team members and government and community partners to provide tools and opportunities to Nova Scotians to learn, share and experience Gaelic language, culture and identity.

(5) What is the situation/condition of Gaelic in Nova Scotia now in comparison with the last couple of generations? What do you think has changed the situation during that time?

More recently, Gaelic in Nova Scotia has gone through a blossoming period. Many challenges remain including more effective planning, strategic alignment of resources and greater awareness and understanding; however, the situation is drastically different than it was when I first got engaged in Gaelic development in the early 1990s.

While the loss of Gaelic-speaking elders continues and is a stark reminder of the tenuousness of the situation, I believe that there three things that we possess as a province that are fundamental to Gaelic language, culture and identity renewal and regeneration:

  • remaining Gaelic speaking elders: the elders that able bodied and are engaged in community and school based Gaelic programming bring a wealth of linguistic and cultural knowledge, including an encouraging spirit, wisdom and humour;
  • a large archive of Gaelic language and cultural materials including Gael StreamCainnt Mo Mhàthar and An Drochaid Eadarainn – these online resources provide the basis from which learners can develop a greater appreciation, understanding and awareness of Gaelic language and culture in Nova Scotia in their regional variations;
  • a dedicated and growing community of learners both young and old and expanded inclusion specific to Gaelic language and culture in the province’s public schools.

I think the Gaelic community has been persistent over many generations in the province. Before the most recent activities spanning from the late 1980s up to the present, there have been language and cultural preservation efforst in the 1920s, 1950s and 1970-80s.

Seeds planted in public school system the 1970s influenced Rodney MacDonald who was supportive of Gaelic language, culture and identity and wanted to see tangible support for these and who also was elected Premier of the Province. More recent initiatives have benefitted from community planning, multiculturalism and diversity.

(6) Why is Gaelic important to Nova Scotia, to Canada and to the world? What can North Americans with Scottish Gaelic ancestry gain from engaging in the language and culture? What does Nova Scotia have to offer North American Gaelic learners in contrast (or complement) to Scotland?

Gaelic language, culture and identity are the legitimate manifestations of the expression of a people, the Gaels who have been part of Nova Scotia society for at least 250 years.

Gaelic language, culture and identity are components of Nova Scotia and broader Canadian society and therefore are shared resources and ought to be viewed as sources of pride for Nova Scotians and Canadians.

Research shows that:

  • fostering manifestations of expression supports healthy sense of self and, by extension, community and helps nurture pride of and connection to place, and;
  • acknowledging, legitimizing and supporting language, culture and identity leads to socio-economic health and growth.

I believe that North Americans and those of Scottish Gaelic ancestry, even if they are removed in many instances from a traditional Gaelic community, have the opportunity to reconnect with Gaelic language, culture and identity and benefit by way of acquiring new language and cultural skills, a greater connection to place (Gaels have an oral literature that connects to many areas in North America) and having a sense of a pan-North American / International Gàidhealtachd connection.

Nova Scotia is the remaining Gàidhealtachd outside of Gaelic Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man where a Gaelic language, culture and identity has been passed down from generation to generation from the time of the early settlers to the present. As a result there are some regional aspects of Gaelic language, in particular dialects and cultural expression, that both differentiate and complement Gaelic Nova Scotia and Gaelic Scotland. There is a very lively céilidh (visiting) culture in Nova Scotia as well that makes the language and cultural sharing and learning experience a vibrant one.

Gàidhlig aig Baile (Gaelic in Community) language learning method sessions are succeeding in creating new Gaelic speakers. Through the medium of Gaelic language only, this method focusses on daily activities, body language, i.e. hand gestures, focus on the senses, props, role playing, skits, etc. Language learning is complemented by inviting Gaelic speaking community members to visit and share language and cultural knowledge. In these settings, Gaelic-speaking elders make significant contributions to the language learning experience. Some of the initial results from Gàidhlig aig Baile sessions point to participants emerging not only with Gaelic speaking ability but an emerging sense of Gaelic identity.

(7) Besides being a CEO, you’re also a poet and singer. How do those other talents and roles contribute to the revitalization of Gaelic in Nova Scotia?

Composing poetry and singing Gaelic songs connects me to the rich corpus of Gaelic material composed in Nova Scotia, Scotland and Ireland. These have enriched my understanding of Gaels as a people and the diversity and richness of Gaelic language, culture and identity. This understanding helps to inform the work that I do and enrich the information that I share about Gaelic with government and Gaelic community partners.


(8) What would you like to see happen with Gaelic in Nova Scotia over the next couple of decades? How could an organization like GaelicUSA support that vision?

I would like to see:

  • greater immersion opportunities for Nova Scotians to learn Gaelic and increase their awareness, appreciation and understanding of Gaelic cultural expression.
  • enhancement and greater alignment of government, Gaelic-related institution and community-based resources to strength support for Gaelic development
  • more opportunities created for Nova Scotians to live and work in Gaelic
  • increase in Gaelic language and cultural learning opportunities as part of Nova Scotia’s Creative Economy

GaelicUSA could support Gaelic development in Nova Scotia by:

  • sharing any best practices, research, knowledge that may inform Gaelic development in Nova Scotia
  • encouraging Americans to travel to Nova Scotia to enroll in Gaelic immersions and cultural expression activities
  • advocating for special designation for Nova Scotia, i.e. a unique cultural heritage zone, based upon its Gaelic language, culture and identity in the Canadian and North American context
Words We Commonly Use That Have Gaelic Origins
CBC Sydney
Jim St. Clair, historian
Friends of the Gaelic,
The AGA website is now open for pre-registration for its “live” online Gaelic language classes, for the new school year starting in September 2016. 
Learn the Gaelic language from the comfort of your own home in a “live” online class with a teacher and other students. No prior Gaelic experience is required to enrol in the Beginner level, and classes can be taken from anywhere in the world. 
Enrol early to ensure a place in class, at your preferred time and day, by completing the Pre-Registration form on the AGA website at
If you have any questions, let us know. 
Atlantic Gaelic Academy
Comhairle na Gàidhlig (The Gaelic Council of Nova Scotia) is looking for a student to work with us during the summer months of 2016 in an Administration Supportrole.  We are a non-profit community-based organization that lobbies and advocates on behalf of the Nova Scotia Gaelic Community. 
Start date: mid June 2016 – mid August 2016 (10 weeks)
Pay rate: $13.00/hr    35hrs/wk
Location: Halifax
Closing: May 30th, 2016
We require a student who can meet the following duties, requirements and competencies.
Job duties:
·       To craft correspondence and respond to enquiries.  These could be by telephone, e-mail, or post.
·       To update monthly bookkeeping spreadsheets and create summary reports.
·       To conduct research online or by telephone to support our fundraising campaign.
·       To maintain our online merchandise transactions.
·       To contribute to the organizing, planning and implementing of community events and board meeting preparations. 
·       To contribute to the maintenance and development of the organization’s web page content and social media.
The position requires the following skills:
·       Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
·       Excellent Computer skills in Word/Excel/PowerPoint. Familiarity maintaining a database of information on Excel. Skills in web development would be an asset, but not required.
·       Familiarity with Social Media to assist in maintaining our web presence.
·       Entry-level bookkeeping skills to manage the monthly reporting and website merchandise sales. 
·       Customer Service/retail skills to sell our line of online merchandise.
Technical program requirements:
- Between the age of 15 to 30; 
- A Canadian citizen, or a permanent resident and legally entitled to work in Canada; 
- Not in receipt of EI;
- A student currently enrolled in a post-secondary institution; such as, colleges, universities, schools of technology, or
- A youth who has completed at least 1 course at a university or other post-secondary institution.
- Residing in the Halifax area
The position requires the following competencies:
·       Teamwork and Collaboration. The best candidate for this position will work well with others, as there will be 2-3 people working closely together and sharing the work.
·       Honesty and Integrity. We require discretion and respect of privacy from our employees.  The records and files used in the workplace should not be discussed with others outside of the workplace.
·       Outgoing. The successful candidate will be flexible with their schedule and able to check –in daily via Skype/Face Time with the organizations Office and Leadership Team.
·       Creativity and Innovation. This position will allow the successful candidate opportunity to be creative in this role.  We are looking for an individual who can think outside the box to develop tools and methods for getting the work completed.  We are open to suggestions and recommendations to improve our processes and procedures to best serve our community. 
We would like to encourage applicants with a Gaelic background or family history, as they will be more familiar with the cultural aspects of our community work. This would be an asset, but not a requirement.  It is required that you learn basic Gaelic greeting and respectful salutations commonly used in the Gaelic language.  The position does require the use of these in your verbal and written work. We will teach you these basic phrases. We are also open to provide assistance and support you should you wish to learn more of the language.
Being a provincial organization, the position will be in Halifax, but may require limited travel to Cape Breton. The hours will include some evenings and weekends and will require flexibility as well. 
About our Organization
                  Comhairle na Gàidhlig is a non-profit organization that lobbies and advocates on behalf of the Gaelic Community of Nova Scotia.  We represent the Gaelic Community - its unique language and cultural identity.  We are dedicated to preserving and developing the language, culture and identity of the Gaels in the province.  We are currently focusing our efforts on supporting the acquisition and use of the Gaelic Language, as we believe it is the path to our cultural identity, and without that language, our culture will not thrive and flourish. We contend that Gaelic Language and culture are integral parts of our province’s history and are woven into the tapestry of today’s Nova Scotian identity.  We are currently working on strengthening our Gaelic Community to come together as one and create a better future for our young people to continue the Gaelic identity in Nova Scotia. 
Gaelic Council of NS: Dé rud?
We are thrilled to announce the 26th Annual Féis an Eilein squaredance on Saturday, August 20th 9-1! 

Bring your family and friends as we finish off Féis week with an adult dance (19+). Admission $10. Entertainment: TBA.

It will be co-sponsored by Féis an Eilein and the Christmas Island Fire Department. Proceeds will be used to assist the Fire Hall with operating costs.

McCarthy Says NB Should Have Gaelic Affairs Department

May 27, 2016  95.9 SUN FM

A man who has become synonymous with Irish culture in this province, believes it is time for the government to have a department of Gaelic Affairs.

Farrell McCarthy says the province of New Brunswick should follow the lead of the province of Nova Scotia.

"In my opinion, and others too, it should be part of the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture," McCarthy said.

The long time Miramichi resident knows a thing or two about Irish and Celtic culture. He has helped establish many of the existing Irish cultural organizations, events and communications that have given rise to renewed interest in Irish traditions and lore.

In 1984, as president of the Irish Canada Cultural Association of New Brunswick, he was instrument, in the creation of Canada's Irish Festival on the Miramichi.

He said having a department in the government would allow New Brunswickers to get a strong sense of Irish and Celtic culture in the province.

"When you look at our history books and social studies books there's hardly anything about the Irish immigrants who came to New Brunswick," he said.

The Nova Scotia Gaelic Affairs Department works "to support Nova Scotians in reclaiming Gaelic language and identity by creating awareness, working with partners and providing tools and opportunities to learn, share and experience Gaelic language and culture."

It is also tasked with creating awareness of Gaelic language, culture and history in Nova Scotia.

They also work to create strong ties with other Gaelic regions on an international level.

McCarthy said given the strong Irish and Scottish history in this province, that is a mission that should be undertaken here.

"As far as New Brunswick is concerned, between 1812 and 1850, 75 per cent of immigrants who came to New Brunswick were from Ireland," he said.

As for cost, McCarthy doesn't believe it has to be a big expense.

"It would only be a desk in (the Tourism, Heritage and Culture Department). At least we would have a foot in the door and go after some of the things that needs to be done here in New Brunswick," he said.

Experience Gaelic

The Highland Heart Weekly
By Lewis MacKinnon, Executive Director, Gaelic Affairs, Department of Communities, Culture & Heritage
First published on Latest IssueMay 26th 2016

gam-home-700x400Am Bèarnan-Brìghde is Mìos na Gàidhlig

Aig an àm seo dhen bhliadhna dh’fhaodadh poidhle do bhèarnain-bhrìghde a bhith ri fhaicinn is iad a’ fàs ’s na lìonagan agus pàircean ’s a’ mhór-roinn againn. Tha iomadh beachd ann mun déidhinn. Bidh feadhainn ag ràdhainn gur e galar a th’unnta is feadhainn eile gu bheil iad briagha is feadhainn eile fòs gu bheil iad feumail ann an dòigh air choireigin. Bidh feadhainn a’ cur fhriamhan a’ bhèarnain-bhrìghde gu feum mar phlàsd gus lòtan a leighis agus nì feadhainn eile fìon na dachaidhe le bèarnain-bhrìghde.

Am bliadhna anns a’ phostair do Mhìos na Gàidhlig a chaidh a chruthachadh le oileanach aig Colaisde na h-Ealain agus an Dealbhachaidh an Albainn Nuaidh, dh’fhaodadh dealbh a chuireas an cuimhne am bèarnan-brìghde a bhith ri fhaicinn. Ann an agallamh le Iain Seathach a chaidh a chur ann an cló ann an 1987 ’s an iris Cape Breton Magazine, bhruidhinn an seanchaidh Eòs Nìll Bhig air na bha a’ tighinn ’na inntinn nuair a bhiodh e a’ coimhead air na bèarnain-bhrìghde.

Iain Seathach: I just wonder sometimes how you see yourself, Joe? Somebody told me that you once used an image of a dandelion when you were talking about yourself. Do you know what I mean?

Eòs Nìll Bhig: Well, I suppose that would be referring to myself on the time. The dandelion is in full bloom for so long, and then all of a sudden there’s nothing – nothing left, but just something with a bunch of gray down on it, and the wind blows that away, and it’s gone. No more. So there’s nothing left, unless you had the pictures of it (Or the memories.) Yes. Unless those stories are caught up within time, in Cape Breton – unless you grab it while it’s going by you – once it goes, well, it’s not coming back any more. It’s not going around. It’s only going the one way.

A’ leanaid air spiorad fhaclan Eòis Nìll Bhig, am Mìos na Gàidhlig am bliadhna, bidh cothrom agaibh pàirt a ghabhail ann an iomairt far am bi dòigh ann na tha agaibh do cheangal ris a’ Ghàidhlig agus r’a cultur a chompàirteachadh.

’S e a bhi a’ gabhail pàirt furasda! Cha bhi aig compàirtichean ach dealbh a chur suas air duilleag Larach nan Aodann aig Iomairtean na Gàidhlig na air Twitter #gaelicns maille ri sreathan beaga goirid a mhìnicheas cuideam na tha ’s na dealbhan.

Dhan fheadhainn a tha airson pàirt a ghabhail, ach iad nach bi a’ dol air Larach nan Aodann, dh’fhaodadh dealbhan a chur gu Frangag NicEachainn aig Iomairtean na Gàidhlig a chuireas suas na théid a chur a-staigh air Larach nan Aodann do dh’Iomairtean na Gàihdlig ás leth a’ chompàirtiche.

Gus tuilleadh fhiosrachaidh ’fhaighinn air cànan, cultar is dearbh-aithne nan Gàidheal an Albainn Nuaidh carson nach cuir sibh post-dealain gu no tadhailibh air

The Dandelion and Gaelic Awareness Month

At this time of year, tons of dandelions will be see growing on lawns and in fields in our province. Many opinions are held about them. Some contend that they are a blight and others that they are beautiful and others yet that they are useful in some manner or other. Some use the roots of the dandelion as a poultice to heal cuts and others make homemade wine with dandelions.

This year in the poster for Gaelic Awareness Month that was created by a student at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, a design that conjures up the dandelion can be seen. In an interview with John Shaw that was published in 1987 in the publication Cape Breton Magazine, storyteller Joe Neil MacNeil spoke on what came to his mind when he looked at dandelions.

John Shaw: I just wonder sometimes how you see yourself, Joe? Somebody told me that you once used an image of a dandelion when you were talking about yourself. Do you know what I mean?

Joe Neil MacNeil: Well, I suppose that would be referring to myself on the time. The dandelion is in full bloom for so long, and then all of a sudden there’s nothing – nothing left, but just something with a bunch of gray down on it, and the wind blows that away, and it’s gone. No more. So there’s nothing left, unless you had the pictures of it (Or the memories.) Yes. Unless those stories are caught up within time, in Cape Breton – unless you grab it while it’s going by you – once it goes, well, it’s not coming back any more. It’s not going around. It’s only going the one way.

Following in the spirit of Joe Neil MacNeil’s words, this Gaelic Awareness Month, you have an opportunity to participate in a campaign where there is a way for you to share your connection to Gaelic language and its cultural expression.

Taking part is easy. Participants just have to post an image to the Gaelic Affairs Facebook page or on Twitter #gaelicns, along with a few sentences that explain the significance of what is pictured.

For any individuals who wish to participate, but don’t use Facebook, images can be emailed to Frances MacEachen at Gaelic Affairs who will post the submission to the Gaelic Affairs Facebook page on behalf of the participant.

To obtain further information on Gaels’ language, culture and identity in Nova Scotia, please e-mail or visit

Upcoming Gaelic Language and Cultural Events
Date Event
Saturday, May 28 West Mabou Dance
All ages!
$8/person, $15/couple
Saturday, May 28
Halifax Cape Breton Dance
Shriners Hall, Connolly Street, Halifax, NS
$10 admission
19+ to attend
Music by Mike Barron
Cash Bar on site
50/50 draw
Saturday, May 28 Cabot Public House Traditional Sessions
Inverness, NS
Youth accompanied by an adult can stay in the pub until 9 PM, so we highly encourage any local youth musicians to come by for tunes, songs and steps.
Select Saturdays now through June, 6-9pm
Every Saturday during July & August, 6-9pm

May 28th - hosts Kyle Kennedy MacDonald and Guest

June 11th - hosts Kevin Dugas and Robert Deveaux
June 25th - hosts Dara MacDonald and Adam Young
July 2nd - hosts Mike Barron and Guest

July 9th - hosts Hailee LeFort and Guest

July 16th - hosts Kevin Dugas and Guest

July 23rd - hosts TBA

July 30th - Kyle Kennedy MacDonald and Guest

August 6th - John Pellerin and Guest
Saturday, May 28 Round & Square Dance
Kimberley Fraser, Howie MacDonald and Aaron Lewis
8:30 – 12
Boisdale Community Hall
Sunday, May 29 Celtic Music Centre:  Sunday Ceilidh
Leanne Aucoin & Allan Dewar
2 – 5 pm
May 28
10:00 a.m.
Spinning and Weaving demonstration, free admission
Spinners and Handweavers
Tantallon Library, Tantallon
Spinning and weaving have long been an integral part of our heritage.  Come and interact with members of the Atlantic Spinners and Handweavers as they demonstrate the spinning and weaving process from fleece to finished product.  There will be a floor loom and a variety of spinning wheels in use, as well as a display of finished products and books.  Come, watch, ask questions and maybe even try your hand at this historic craft.
Sponsor: Sgoil Ghàidhlig an Àrd-bhaile,
May 29
10:00 a.m.
A cup of tea and Gaelic conversation, free admission
An Drochaid Museum, Mabou
Come and join us for a cup of tea and Gaelic conversation at the museum in Mabou every Monday in May. Join in the conversation or simply listen to the Gaelic being spoken. This is a very informal session. Everyone is welcome.
Sponsor: Mabou Gaelic and Historical Society.
Margie Beaton, 945-2790
May 29
2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday Ceilidh featuring Leeanne Aucoin and Friends, $8
Celtic Music Interpretive Centre, 5471 Hwy 19 Judique NS (902) 787-2708
May 30
6:30 p.m.
The Gaels and Cultural Appropriation with Lewis MacKinnon, free admission
Halifax Central Library, Lindsay Children’s Room, 2nd floor
Exploring Cultural Stereotypes
Sponsor: Sgoil Ghàidhlig an Àrd-bhaile,
May 31
3:15 p.m.
Presentation by Effie Rankin, free admission
Dùthaich an Àigh—Fr. Archie Campbell’s visit to Nova Scotia in 1907.
The Alexander Doyle Public Library, Dalbrae Academy, Mabou
Sponsor: Gaelic Affairs
May 31
6:30 p.m.
Book launch – Scottish Gaelic Tattoo Handbook with author Emily McEwan, free admission
Central Library, Halifax
So you want to get a Scottish Gaelic tattoo to honour your family or roots, or because you’re in love with the language? The author will give a brief history of Gaelic in Nova Scotia and Scotland, show real-life examples of mistakes that people make when trying to get a Gaelic tattoo, and give tips on how to avoid common problems when incorporating Gaelic words or phrases into a tattoo design. The presentation will be followed by a book signing. During the event, Halifax Henna will provide free temporary henna art “tattoos” with Gaelic words recommended in the book
Sponsor: Sgoil Ghàidhlig an Àrd-bhaile,
May 31
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Gaelic Songs from Kingsville/Glendale Cape Breton, donations at the door.
The Fr. John Angus Rankin Cultural Centre, Glendale
Jeff MacDonald will sing and teach Gaelic songs which were composed in Bràigh na h-Àibhneadh and area, as well as Old Country songs (from Scotland) that were sung in the area.
Sponsored by Comunn Gàidhlig is Eachraidh a’ Bhràigh
Jeff MacDonald 870-6837
May 31
7:00– 8:00 p.m.
Gaelic Storytelling at Sydney library
McConnell Library, Sydney
Storytelling from the Gaelic tradition by local Gaelic enthusiasts
Ann MacDermid,
May 30 – June 24 An Cùrsa Bogaidh | Immersion Course
Colaisde na Gàidhlig | Gaelic College
St. Ann's
In connection with partners at Cape Breton University, the Gaelic College is proud to host a 4-week, 6-credit Gaelic course offered on-site this May/June.  60 hours + homework
The immersion will combine grammar, reading and writing with Gàidhlig aig Baile (Gaelic in the Community) immersion methodology.  In addition to grammatically based lessons, activities will include Gaelic singing and storytelling, hands-on activities, and field trips. The session is appropriate for learners at an intermediate level.
Friday, June 3, 2016 Fort MacMurray Fundraiser Square Dance
Branch 12, Sydney
Mike Barron, Kyle MacDonald & others
July 4-8, 2016 Gaelic Immersion Week
Dartmouth, NS
M-F 9:30-3
July 25-29 & Aug 1-5, 2016  
Gaelic Immersion
Goose Cove, NS
Angus MacLeod & Fiona Smith
Message Angus for more info and to register
Aug 5-7, 2016 Gaelic at Midsummer Camping Trip
Gaelic Immersion
Whycocomagh, NS
Emily MacDonald & Joyce MacDonald
$140 15 hours of  instruction and meals
Sat, August 20, 2016 26th Annual Féis an Eilein Square dance
Admission $10
Entertainment: TBA
Christmas Island Fire Hall
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