The Gaelic Society of Inverness was established in 1871 for the specific purpose of “cultivating the language, poetry and music of the Scottish Highlands and generally furthering the interests of the Gaelic-speaking people”. It has continued this work for nearly a century and a half.
Whilst the majority of members are in the north of Scotland, it has members all over the world including Europe, North America and Australia.
Central to work of the Society is a series of between eight and ten meetings, held each winter in Inverness, at which invited speakers present papers on aspects of Highland history and Gaelic culture. Every two years a selection of these papers is published in book form as the Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness (TGSI).
68 Volumes have been published so far and the Transactions now form an invaluable source of information regarding Gaelic and related subjects. All members of the Society receive the Transactions free of charge. The next Volume (number 69) is due to be published in the summer of 2020.
Information on the Society’s history can be found in the “History of the Gaelic Society 1871–1971”, written by Mairi A. Macdonald, and the more recent 'Brief History of the Gaelic Society' by Society Librarian D J MacLeod (click on History).
The Society has, since 1925, held an annual Culloden Anniversary Service each April on the Saturday nearest to the actual date of the battle. This is held at the Cairn and all those who wish to remember the fallen at Culloden are welcome to attend the Service, which is conducted in Gaelic.
Since it began the Society has been active in supporting Gaelic in many ways, including:
Campaigning in the 1870s for the Chair of Celtic at the University of Edinburgh — the first such chair in Scotland;
Proposing the appointment of a commission to investigate the appalling conditions in the crofting districts of the Highlands and Islands. The Napier Commission report of 1884 was to result eventually in the Crofter’s Act of 1886, the cornerstone of the modern crofting system;
Close involvement in the campaign for a Gaelic question in the 1881 Census and for a dedicated ‘Gaelic Clause’ in the Education Act of 1918;
More recently, supporting the establishment of a Gaelic Language Board.
Chief of the Society
Mr Donald Martin
Chief of the Gaelic Society, April 2019-April 2020
Mr. Roderick Balfour, TD, MA, Mlitt, LLB, FSA (Scot)
Mr. Roderick MacCrimmon, MA
Mrs Anne Soutar
Mrs. Janet B. MacGregor, MA
Mr. Allan Campbell
Dr. Donald John Macleod, PhD
Mr. Iain MacIllechiar, MA
Mr. Murdo Campbell (Chairman)
Miss Alice Macdonald (Secretary)
Mr. Donald N. Macleod (Treasurer)