any of the original Scots spoke Gaelic instead of English. Eventually, English infiltrated society and today it is the official language. Gaelic is still spoken by about 86,000 individuals primarily in the Northern part of Scotland and in the Western Isles of Skye, Lewis and Harris. These speakers are usually bilingual, and speak English as their other tongue. Very few people in Scotland speak Gaelic without knowing English.

Scottish Gaelic language is similar to the other Gaelic languages. Therefore, speakers of Scottish Gaelic can understand at least parts of Irish Gaelic and vice versa. Those interested in studying the Scottish Gaelic language can do so at the Sabhal Mor Ostaig, a college on the Island of Skye that has a center for teaching and studying Scottish Gaelic.


The Gaelic Dictionary offers translations from Gaelic into English.

microphoneListen to and learn Gaelic from Eileen MacKenzie's weekly program on Scottish radio.

microphoneListen to Gaelic common words and phrases available in a easy-to-use format.


Gaelic music was an important part of everyday life in early Scotland. The music was originally sung by a bard and played on a harp but other instruments were later introduced, such as the fiddle and bagpipe. Royal courts had an official bard and many of the clans did as well. The songs were usually ballads or verse put to music. Today, Gaelic music is not as popular as it once was, but it can still heard in Scotland.


Listen to Gaelic and other Scottish music at Scottish Internet Radio.

An essay on Gaelic music provides further details and history.

The Gaelic and Gaelic culture homepage offers helpful information.

The Royal National Mod is a annual festival celebrating the Gaelic language and culture. Held since 1892, it is Scotland's second largest festival.