Back to home.

Learn Islay Gaelic

*See 'What's On' for news of a new short course in Islay Gaelic*

The Gaelic language . . . was introduced from Northern Ireland about the 5th century AD.   At that time groups of Gaelic-speaking settlers from a small, semi-independent Ulster kingdom called Dal Riata. . . established themselves. . .[in] Argyll.   Dal Riata in Scotland soon gained its independence and eventually became the dominant state which unified our nation."
Dmhnall MacEacherna  -  The Lands of the Lordship, 1976, page 11.

Not only did the Scots of Dalriada, as it became known, become the dominant partners in the nation of Scotland, their Gaelic language effectively became the language of the infant Scotland, subsuming previous versions of the Celtic language. This would have been the language of Columcille or St Columba, after whom Ionad Chaluim Chille le is named.  Islay Gaelic has remained closer to its original roots of Irish Gaelic than the Gaelic of the Northern Hebrides and it is essential that this valuable dialect is preserved and maintained for years to come.

Seanchas le

Ionad Chaluim Chille le established Seanchas le, an important oral history project, from 2005-2007, bringing language and stories to light through the publication of a book involving native Islay Gaelic speakers of the day.  Below you will find a selection of audio extracts from the project archives, accompanied by transcriptions in Gaelic and translations to English.

Title Content Length (mins) Transcript Translation
Oh my dream 3.35
Giantess 9.10
Fairy Story 2.11
Rock of the Rooms 2.33
Bowmore in the old days 11.40


Title Content Length (mins) Transcript Translation
Whisky distilling 15.53
Cutting peat 12.18
Ploughing 6.14
Gathering moss 4.54
Gathering carrageen 2.27


Title Content Length (mins) Transcript Translation
The barge of Gorrie Crvan 2.47
Peggy's Gander 1.13

The book

A book was published in 2007 containing extracts from the archive in Gaelic with English translation. Copies are still available from the ICCI or from the Gaelic Books Council or other bookshops. ISBN 9781906134112.

Hear what it sounds like

Word List

The PDF below can be downloaded
and printed out. It contains a small
selection of words, collected for
Seanchas le, that are more
commonly heard in Islay Gaelic
than in other Gaelic dialects.
Some are unique to Islay Gaelic.

Islay Gaelic word list

This content comes from a hidden element on this page.

The inline option preserves bound JavaScript events and changes, and it puts the content back where it came from when it is closed.

If you try to open a new Colorbox while it is already open, it will update itself with the new content.