Gaelic Events at St Giles

Gaelic Events for English Speakers at St Giles’ Cathedral

St Giles’ Cathedral are running a series of English-language lectures exploring the history, culture and heritage of the Gaelic language from experts across a range of topics, from early literature to modern poetry and contemporary music, as well as a look at Scotland’s rich storytelling traditions with the Scottish Storytelling Forum’s James MacDonald Reid (27 June).

The series is part funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig and each lecture is free to attend, with donations gratefully received to contribute towards running costs and future Gaelic events.

Light refreshments will be provided following the lectures, which run until the 18th July. Details on the sessions below – for further information visit

Gaelic in Scotland: The Early Middle Ages
by Duncan Sneddon
Tue 13 June, 7.30pm

This talk will outline the various languages spoken in early medieval Scotland, with a focus on the growth and development of Gaelic. Place-names, heroic poetry, saints, kings and warriors – all these and more will feature in this exploration of the early history of Scotland.

Duncan Sneddon is a PhD candidate in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh.

Duncan Ban Macintyre: The Poet in Edinburgh
by Dr Anja Gunderloch
Tue 20 June, 7.30pm

Donnchadh Bàn Macintyre is one of the leading Gaelic poets of the eighteenth century who is especially celebrated for his poetry in praise of nature; he also composed poetry in praise of various individuals, humorous verse, and songs that engage with the political situation of his time. The poet spent more than half his life in Edinburgh, where he saw three editions of his work published in his lifetime.

Dr Anja Gunderloch is a lecturer in Celtic at Edinburgh University and specialises in Gaelic poetry and culture before 1900. She has interests in the oral dimension of Gaelic verse and in the ways in which historical events and societal change are reflected in the Gaelic literary tradition of the seventeenth and eighteenth century.

Scottish Storytelling
by James MacDonald Reid
Tue 27 June, 7.30pm

This talk will sample one of Scotland’s oldest traditions. Edinburgh based storyteller James MacDonald Reid will take us on a journey across Scotland and look at the history of the oral tradition of storytelling in Scottish communities.

Born into a Gaelic speaking family, James MacDonald Reid is rooted in Highland Gaelic storytelling traditions and is a hugely accomplished teller of tales.

Gaelic Shinty and Traditional Music
by Gary Innes
Tue 4 July, 7.30pm

Highland born accordionist and one of the founding members of award-winning Scottish super-group Mànran, Gary Innes has been playing Scottish traditional music for over 15 years. He has released many albums, the most recent, “ERA” launched at Celtic Connections 2017.

Gary is retired following a successful career as a Scottish Shinty captain and Internationalist, having won the Camanachd Cup final for the Fort William team on 5 occasions, and he now commentates the main shinty fixtures for the BBC.

Music in the Gaelic World
by James Beaton
Tue 11 July, 7.30pm

James is an Argyllshire native, and currently works at The National Piping Centre in Glasgow, where he is Librarian and Co-Ordinator for the Centre’s HNC Music programme.

He has a degree in Celtic Studies from Edinburgh University, and holds postgraduate qualifications in library management from the University of Aberystwyth and Teaching and Learning in Higher Arts Education from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

18th – 20th Century Gaelic Literature
by Dr Rob Dunbar
Tue 18 July, 7.30pm

Prior to assuming the Chair of Celtic at Edinburgh in June 2013, Dr Rob Dunbar was Senior Research Professor at the University of the Highlands and Islands, and Research Director of the inter-university Soillse Research Project. Previously, Dr Dunbar was a lecturer then senior lecturer in Law at the University of Glasgow and reader then professor in Celtic and Law at the University of Aberdeen.

He has been involved in Gaelic language development for 20 years, a member of Bòrd na Gàidhlig from 2006 to 2012 and MG Alba from 2004 to 2012, and was involved in the development of the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 and the creation of BBC Alba, Scotland’s Gaelic digital television service.