History of the Western Isles to be explored with new Gaelic heritage and culture programme at the Blackhouse


30 September 2019
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Visitors to the Blackhouse in Arnol, Isle of Lewis, can now benefit from free Gaelic heritage and culture activities delivered by local volunteers.

The Blackhouse (taigh-dubh as it’s known in Gaelic) was built between 1852 and 1895 and was the home of a Hebridean crofting family and their animals. The thatched house is preserved almost as the family left it when they moved out in 1965.

The historic property welcomes visitors from around the world, who will now be able to take part in the free sessions, created and delivered by members of the local community. The initiative is part of Historic Environment Scotland's five-year Gaelic Language Plan.

Gaelic heritage

The sessions aim to highlight the central importance of Gaelic heritage, not only to understand the Blackhouse, but to the culture of the surrounding area. The sessions will primarily be delivered in English, but with every session there will be the opportunity to learn a few words of Gaelic.

The volunteers have been encouraged to bring their own skills to the programme and deliver creative and informative sessions through music, poetry, storytelling, crafts or talks.

Jane Ryder, Chair of the Historic Environment Scotland Board, said: "The passion our volunteers have for the Blackhouse and sharing Gaelic heritage and culture with visitors from around the world is evident through the stories they share.

"I encourage anyone interested in learning more about the rich history and heritage of the Western Isles to experience this new offering at the Blackhouse to find out about what life was like for those who lived in these historic houses, and how it shaped communities for generations."

For more on the Blackhouse, visit its website. To read the Gaelic translation of this report, click here.

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(report and images copyright Historic Environment Scotland)