New Gaelic Arts Week at Armadale Castle

Posted on: 28th May 2019


Music, poetry and song will feature in a new Clan Donald Gaelic Arts Week / Seachdain nan Ealan Gàidhlig aig ionad Clann Dòmhnaill to take place at Armadale Castle, Gardens & Museum in June.  Supported by EventScotland’s Scottish Clan Event Fund, the week-long programme will celebrate the traditional Gaelic arts and their place in Clan Donald history.

The programme opens with a family day on Saturday 1 June, where there will be musical taster sessions, games and craft activities. Visitors can have a go at playing the clarsach (Scottish harp), whistle and chanter, watch informal performances, and see an exhibition of artefacts from the museum’s archive.

During the week, ‘pop up’ performances by visiting artists will take place in and around the museum and gardens. Gaelic singer Christine Primrose MBE, fiddle player Ronan Martin and accordionist Eilidh MacFadyen are among those taking part, and audience interaction is encouraged. Poet Dr Meg Bateman will lead poetry tours in the Museum, and Dr Decker Forrest will give a talk on the history of pibroch or pìobaireachd, the classical music of the Great Highland Bagpipe. Visitors can also enjoy free Gaelic language classes, with taster sessions in the café run by Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.

The week will culminate with two prestigious musical competitions. On Friday evening, the Donald MacDonald Cuach brings together five of the country’s most talented pipers to compete for the pìobaireachd cup. Award winning Gaelic singer Griogair Labhruidh will provide the interval music, with contributions by local young musicians. The week ends on Saturday afternoon with the Princess Margaret of the Isles Memorial Prize for senior clarsach. Four talented harpists will take part in the competition, judged by musician and composer Mary Ann Kennedy. Both competitions will be live streamed online via Armadale Castle’s Facebook page.

Sue Geale, manager of the Museum of the Isles at Armadale Castle, commented: ‘One of the key stories we tell in the Museum is that of the ancient Macdonald Lords of the Isles, who were great supporters of Gaelic culture. We are delighted to continue this tradition and bring these stories alive with this new programme. With a mix of formal and informal live performance, and hands-on opportunities for people to get involved, there will be something for everyone to enjoy.’

To develop the programme Armadale Castle has worked with the local Clan Donald Society and staff at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Scotland’s National Centre for Gaelic language and Culture. Rev William Mather,  President of the Clan Donald Society of the Highlands & Islands, commented: ‘Armadale Castle is rooted in Clan Donald history and a fitting location for this celebration of Gaelic culture.  We are delighted to support this initiative which will help illuminate clan history and make it relevant for people today and in the future.

The week takes place on 1 – 8 June at Armadale Castle, Gardens & Museum in Armadale, south Skye. See website events page for full listings.

The Clan Donald Gaelic Arts Week is supported through the Scottish Clan Event Fund which supports the growth of clan and clan related events taking place throughout Scotland. The Scottish Clan Event Fund is funded by the Scottish Government and managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.


Armadale Castle, Gardens & Museum of the Isles, Armadale, Sleat, Isle of Skye, IV45 8RS. 1- 8 June 2019. Clan Donald Gaelic Arts Week / Seachdain nan Ealan Gàidhlig aig ionad Clann Dòmhnaill. Performances and activities in and around the Museum and gardens. Family activity day 1 June; piping and clarsach competitions 7/8 June. For full programme see


About Armadale Castle

Armadale Castle, Gardens & Museum of the Isles is a Visit Scotland 5 Star visitor attraction in Sleat, south Skye. The castle ruin, historic gardens and award-winning Museum sit at the heart of a 20,000 acre estate that was once part of the traditional lands of Clan Donald. The estate is now run by Clan Donald Lands Trust, a Scottish Registered Charity whose mission is to promote understanding and appreciation of the history and traditions of Clan Donald, the Lordship of the Isles and the Highlands & Islands. Opening times: Main season (1 April – 31 October) daily, 9.30 – 5.30 pm, Low season (March and November) Mon-Fri, 10 am – 3 pm.

Armadale Castle, Armadale, Sleat, Isle of Skye IV45 8RS

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