Researchers present the 550 years of Gaelic’s ‘untold history’

A project to research and record over half a millennium of Gaelic history at the University of Glasgow will present its findings today.

Academics working on the ‘Sgeul na Gàidhlig aig Oilthigh Ghlaschu’ / ‘Gaelic Story at the University of Glasgow’ project have traced evidence of a continuous Gaelic presence at the University back to the 15th Century, 450 years before Gaelic was available as a subject of study.

The team of researchers, led by Roibeard Ó Maolalaigh, Professor of Gaelic at the University of Glasgow, will launch a new online resource containing findings from the study, at a public lecture at the University of Glasgow tomorrow evening (9th December).

The project, funded by the Chancellor’s Fund at the University of Glasgow, Soillse, the National Research Network for the Maintenance and Revitalisation of Gaelic Language and Culture and the R. L. Thomson Endowment has been running for the past 14 months.

Prof. Ó Maolalaigh said: “This unique project has revealed the extraordinary contribution made by Gaels down through the centuries to society both at home and abroad. Although Gaelic is often hidden from view and silent in official records, Gaelic was a central part of the lives and identities of hundreds of thousands of people living and working in the West of Scotland throughout the ages. Gaelic is now spoken by 1% of the population but it was spoken by up to a half of the population when the University was founded in 1451 and the University of Glasgow has always had a Gaelic minority.

“This untold history deserves to be told not least for the outstanding role models it provides for younger Gaels. As we move further into the 21st century it is hoped that this project will encourage wider understanding and appreciation of Gaelic language and culture, and enable us to embrace more openly our Gaelic heritage which is often unacknowledged.”