Home   News   Article

WATCH: Sabhal Mòr Ostaig national centre for Gaelic language and culture marks half-century milestone

By Hector MacKenzie

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!
SMO Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Skye.
SMO Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Skye.

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture, celebrates its 50th anniversary today.

The anniversary marks five decades of world-class immersive learning, research and cultural opportunities.

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig has evolved over the years to offer a wide range of programmes and initiatives reflecting the dynamic nature of Gaelic culture. The National Centre has embraced innovation while preserving the authenticity of Gaelic traditions, and in 2022-23, welcomed its highest number of students ever with 1,600 learning both on campus and online, on full-time, part-time and short courses.

Since its inception in Skye in September 1973, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig has played a pivotal role in promoting and preserving the Gaelic language and culture, with thousands attending its annual short courses, over 4000 learners completing its flagship online Gaelic course, An Cùrsa Inntrigidh, and nearly 1400 graduates since full-time courses began.

Today, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig has widened its reach beyond the Isle of Skye across the globe, attracting students from Scotland and over 25 other countries worldwide each year.

The Sabhal Mor Ostaig bus from back in the day.
The Sabhal Mor Ostaig bus from back in the day.

SEE ALSO: School inspectors give verdict after visit to Craighill Primary

Gaelic choirs special guests of Glasgow Phoenix on visit to Strathpeffer

New probe aims to find value of wellbeing from Gaelic

'Excuse me I do not have trousers on' - Duolingo marks Gaelic milestone

Recognised as a hub of Gaelic excellence, its commitment to preserving the Gaelic language and culture has shaped individuals and contributed significantly to the cultural fabric of the country and identity of the language.

As part of this week’s celebrations, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig launches its new Strategic Plan 2023/28, which aligns with the vision and aim of the fourth National Gaelic Language Plan to significantly increase the number of people speaking, learning and valuing Gaelic, by:

  • delivering Gaelic education in an immersive Gaelic environment, both on campus and via distance learning
  • researching and contributing to scholarship and knowledge exchange in, and about, Gaelic
  • working in the Gaelic arts
  • being sustainable and self-governing, through the medium of Gaelic
  • working in collaboration with individuals, communities and partners, for the good of Gaelic
On the way to class at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Skye, April 2023.
On the way to class at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Skye, April 2023.

Aonghas S. MacLeòid, chairperson, said: "Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s 50th anniversary is a testament to our enduring commitment to Gaelic language and culture. We have evolved to meet the changing needs of our community and students and this is reflected in our success. This milestone is a tribute to the dedication of our staff, students, and the unwavering support of the Gaelic community.

“We look forward to the next 50 years as a leader in Gaelic learning, research and cultural opportunities: working with our partners to achieve Scotland’s wider ambitions for Gaelic as a living language and a thriving culture.”

Need to know more?

Founded in 1973 in old farm steadings by Sir Iain Noble in the Isle of Skye, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture, is the only centre of Higher and Further Education in the world that provides its learning programmes entirely through the medium of Gaelic in an immersive, language-rich environment.

Whether you are interested in immersion courses for beginners or a PhD, short courses or full-time study, on-campus or distance learning, it promises "something for everyone".

As well as launching Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s 2023-28 Strategy on Friday, September 22, the 50th anniversary celebrations will also look back at memories/testimonials from alumni and staff; a new book will be launched about one of the original trustees, Sorley MacLean followed by a (sold out) gig in the original campus building, An Talla Mòr, with Gaelic bands Valtos and El Sartel.

The special Celtic Connections concert Sabhal Mòr Ostaig @ 50 from January 2023 will air on BBC ALBA on Saturday 23rd September.

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More