Gaelic, it is sad to say, remains a minor language in Scotland today. There was a time when those living in Gaelic regions in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland would have spoken no English but it is not the case now. The majority of folk in Gaelic-speaking regions are bilingual and more often than not would use English in a professional and official capacity, limiting their use of Gaelic to personal relationships. Even in places like the Isle of Skye and the Hebrides, where the majority of the population would be Gaelic speakers, English is also spoken. In 2005 it was estimated that there were 70,000 native Gaelic speakers in Scotland, mainly in the north-west of the country. Hopefully that number has risen in the last 6 years but it is nothing compared to what the numbers were in the past. How did the Gaelic community come to be so small in the first place? Continue reading
Glasgow-based Gaelic singer Joy Dunlop talks about her love of performing Gaelic music.
Listen to Joy singing here:
There are several stories of these mythical creatures in Scottish folklore. Bauchans were ambiguous creatures as they could be helpful to people at times though for the most part they were fiercely dangerous.
There is no clear description as to what bauchans actually looked like. According to some sources they were similar to brownies in appearance- small, hairy, with iron teeth. Others claim that they were fearsome monsters, gigantic in size. Exploring the legends of these creatures is the best way of determining what they were like. Here is one tale of a particularly gruesome bauchan who resided in the Highlands. Continue reading
One of the more benign creatures in Scottish folklore is the brownie. These creatures usually attached themselves to a family and performed
household tasks for them such as cleaning the kitchen, tidying the house, etc. Brownies were solitary creatures and avoided being seen by humans at all costs. It was very rare for two brownies to be staying within the same household although this sometimes happened. Brownies usually chose to live and work in a castle or big house or else on a farm or mill. These usually provided lots of cosy hiding places for the creatures to sleep in during the day and then at night they could perform their duties unseen. Continue reading