Arts, music and literature join Gaelic advocate’s memorial lecture
Gaelic language and culture will be celebrated through a series of events as part of the John MacLeod Memorial Festival.
The events will celebrate Gaelic language and are open to all, from novices to those with a deep interest in all things Scottish Gaelic. Music performances and book talks are among the line-up of free events taking place during the expanded programme between Thursday 1 and Sunday 4 February 2024.
This year’s Memorial Lecture opens the programme and will explore how opportunities and progression in the Gaelic community has changed over the years. The lecture will be delivered by Katie MacInnes, director of Gaelic marketing and media agency Astar Media and board member of Comunn na Gàidhlig, an organisation that promotes Scottish Gaelic language and culture.
The fringe events will launch with a writing workshop hosted by eminent Gaelic singer-songwriter, Gillebrìde MacMillan, and the University of Edinburgh’s Gaelic Writer in Residence, Martin MacIntyre on Friday 2 February. On Saturday, events will take place to commemorate 300 years since the birth of Gaelic poet Duncan Ban Macintyre (Donnchadh Bàn Mac an t-Saoir), writer of the famous Gaelic poem, Moladh Beinn Dòbhrainn - In Praise of Ben Doran. A talk on the poet’s works will be given by the University’s Dr Anja Gunderloch, Lecturer in Celtic, and Professor Rob Dunbar, Chair of Celtic, followed by a walking tour of sites connected to his time living in Scotland’s capital. Elsewhere, attendees can enjoy two evenings of music and ceilidh dancing in collaboration with local Gaelic arts organisations Bothan Dhùn Èideann and Comunn Tìr nam Beann. The events series will draw to a close with a Sunday Gaelic church service at Greyfriars Kirk, conducted by Roddy John MacLeod.
The John MacLeod Memorial Lecture was established in 2019, following the death of John MacLeod (Iain Macleoid), a former president of An Comunn Gàidhealach. Originally from Lewis, MacLeod was active in the Gaelic community of Edinburgh, working to promote the language and culture. The series – hosted by the University of Edinburgh and An Comunn Gàidhealach – builds on MacLeod’s work to continue to create opportunities for Gaelic use in the city.
Edinburgh has a vibrant Gaelic community and we hope this expanded events series will get as many people involved as possible to celebrate Gaelic language, arts and culture and honour the memory of John MacLeod and the tireless work he did for the language.
It is once again a pleasure and an honour to collaborate with An Comunn Gàidhealach to remember the life and work of John MacLeod, a true hero of the Gaelic world, and I’m sure our good friend Iain would have been delighted that the annual lecture has turned into an even wider celebration of the language and culture.