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Grigne Gàidhlig Ghlaschu
The Glasgow Gaelic Gathering
After 34 years of the annual Glasgow Highland Games, the festival was indefinitely canceled in the midst of a pandemic with no apparent interest in bringing the historic festival back.
Luckily, others inside and outside of the community have taken interest in bringing to Glasgow another festival that highlights the Scottish heritage that many in our community hold dear.
Keeping in line with Glasgow’s Scottish roots, Cherie Vaughan, owner of Main Street Bed and Breakfast, is spearheading the upcoming festival, which is a three-day event slated to begin on June 16 with Dr. Adam Dahmer alongside his wife, Dr. Dhanya Baird.
Dahmer explained the festival – which is called Grigne Gàidhlig Ghlaschu, meaning ‘The Glasgow Gaelic Gathering’ – is to connect people in and around Glasgow with their Gaelic cultural heritage.
Several events and classes are scheduled to celebrate and learn about the Scottish Gaelic language.
“There will be dancing, singing, and classes where you can learn to speak Gaelic or learn dance steps,” B&B owner Vaughan said, “It should be great fun!”
Dahmer and Baird both have doctoral degrees in Celtic and Scottish Studies from Scotland’s University of Edinburgh, and Dahmer is an adjunct professor of Scottish Gaelic at East Tennessee University.
Their expert guidance will be offered in an exclusive three-day stretch of classes and workshops giving attendees the opportunities to take classes on Scottish Gaelic, Gaelic songs, wool-waulking, Gaelic psalmody, and cèilidh dancing.
“We are so excited to bring this learning opportunity to Glasgow,” Dahmer said. In fact, Dahmer and his wife, Baird, hope to continue bringing the festival locally.
“I look forward to a future when, in a few short years, Glasgow, KY., will be famous as one of the few places in North America where Scottish Gaelic can be overheard on the street, or seen in public signage,” he said.
“If it is successful this year, Dahmer hopes to make it an annual event either in conjunction with the Highland Games or as a separate event,” Vaughan said. Dahmer agreed with Vaughan that continuing to bring back the Scottish Gaelic festival would be a victory for both the Gaelic and Glasgow.
Additionally, Dahmer encourages participation from any organization that formerly participated in the Glasgow Highland Games, which is not expected to return this summer, although he hopes for the games to return to Glasgow eventually.
“With a global economic recession looming, every town needs a claim to fame – something that gives its citizens a unique reason to feel pride and confidence in the place they come from,” Dahmer said.
And it is no secret that downtown Glasgow has seen tremendous growth and livelihood in recent years, and bringing Grigne Gàidhlig Ghlaschu introduces a part of our history and heritage in a way nothing else does.
“By celebrating its Scottish name and the heritage that name evokes, Glasgow can secure its place as a one-of-a-kind tourist destination – and there’s no better way to underscore the uniqueness of Scottish heritage than by learning and using one of the oldest and rarest Scottish heritage languages,” Dahmer said.
In Scotland, the city of Glasgow (which in the Gaelic language is Glaschu) is nicknamed Baile Mòr nan Gàidheal, or ‘Big Town of the Gaels.’ This is in reference to the many thousands of Gaelic-speaking Highlanders and Hebrideans who have settled there over the centuries, Dahmer explained.
“Because Scotland’s Glasgow is the namesake of Kentucky’s Glasgow, and because many residents of both Glasgows claim descent from Scottish Gaels, Kentuckians from in and around Glasgow have every reason to celebrate both the Scottish Gaels and their language, Scottish Gaelic,” Dahmer said.
Hosted by SPLANG! – an association Dahmer and Baird founded to help promote the Scottish Gaelic language in North America, especially in Kentucky and other parts of the Upland South – the festival is set to take place from June 16 to June 18, and its core will be the Gaelic song and language workshops.
The classes and events are open to the public at $20 per person, per event or class. However, participants can pay a flat fee of $50 to access all classes and events. BCP will provide our readers with more details about the classes and events available.
Vaughan is excited about another opportunity for tourism in Glasgow. “Dahmer has already booked at least nine rooms of people that are coming to take part in the event,” she added. However, there are hotels nearby if you are interested in booking a room for your stay.
Local businesses such as the Hall Place Bed & Breakfast, Main Street Bed & Breakfast, and Yancey’s Gastropub & Brewery have already started participating in bringing Grigne Gàidhlig Ghlaschu local.
Over twenty people have already registered for classes or events, and space is limited. It is encouraged to secure your names or organizations as soon as possible to be able to participate in this one-of-a-kind event.
Whatever the capacity in which you choose to participate in this year’s Grigne Gàidhlig Ghlaschu, bidh sinn a’ dèanamh fiughair ri ur faicinn an sin (we look forward to seeing you there)!
Keep an eye out for more details on the festival, Grigne Gàidhlig Ghlaschu / The Glasgow Gaelic Gathering, in the Barren County Progress. A new and exciting opportunity coming to South Central Kentucky where people can experience Glasgow’s Scottish heritage in a very unique way.
If you or your business or society would like to participate in the Grigne Gàidhlig Ghlaschu, whether as a sponsor, vendor, co-organizer, or promoter, or if you’d like to purchase tickets to any of the language or cultural activities, please contact Dr. Dahmer at firstname.lastname@example.org or Cherie Vaughan at 270-590-1410.