Gaelic Cultural Centre Inverness
I can imagine from outside of Scotland or the Highlands the idea of a Gaelic Cultural Centre in Inverness may seem odd. Probably because most people would have assumed wrongly that one already existed.
We have buildings dedicated to battles, drama, and history in general. Therefore you could be forgiven for thinking that Gaelic in Inverness the capital of the Highlands would have already done something about and for the Gaels themselves. Especially given how much money is spent in the area directly linked to our history, language, and culture.
It always comes down to money. It is really worth spending all that on so few speakers? I even had a senior official tell me years ago that if the project I laid before him had been in English they would have funded it. It has always come down to numbers and not need.
However, that was and is a very narrow view of things. Tourism however you feel about it brings in lots of people to the area. Money is spent as they look for places to visit and things to see. A centre dedicated to Gaelic its history and culture could tap right into that. Another establishment for the visitor to view and perhaps take part in an event.
We have book festivals in Inverness this could be used as a venue to host the Gaelic element of that. Speakers for other areas could find other Gaels easily to conserve with. Then there are the learners wanting to broaden their language use. Children could also hear the many different dialects from around Scotland and develop their language skills.
Years ago the Croileagan building in Dingwall used to hold a soup and sandwiches lunch every so often. Gaelic speakers in Inverness may be able to look forward to the same opportunity. Imagine being able to ask for something in Gaelic at a café. Or learning just that one phrase. Being able to ask for a piece of cake, pìos nas motha. Ok, maybe it would just be me asking for a bigger piece of cake.
Of course, I am assuming a café would be part of this centre. I have no idea what they are hoping it will offer but the potential is great.
Will it have a full-time wrap-around nursery? Will they be able to offer courses and child care so parents can learn while their children absorb the language through play? Will music play a large or small part? Will there be a room for Ceilidhs and gatherings? Will the ethos of Gaelic be maintained? Will you be able to finally buy a wide range of Gaelic books and products in Inverness?
I am hoping above all it will be the spoken Gaelic language that will be the most important thing throughout the whole building. The one thing that everything else flows from. Without the spoken word, everything else becomes diluted. Something of historical significance rather than the living language it is.
I see many of the people involved in this push for a Gaelic Cultural Centre are parents, teachers, and families who have helped the Gaelic language and culture grow and develop over the years. There have already achieved a lot and should be thanked and helped to bring their vision to fulfilment.
I watch the young Gaels of today who have benefitted from all the hard work that has gone beforehand and I am filled with hope. Their attitude towards the language is unapologetic and mostly strong. It is an uplifting thing to see.
I look forward to visiting the hub in Inverness when it finally opens. If you would like to read more about it or donate please follow the link below.
Suas leis a’ Gàidhlig