About the Group

Gaelic Language

View this page in Gaelic / Faic an duilleag seo sa Ghàidhlig

Gaelic in Scotland

The ancient language of Scottish Gaelic dates back centuries, and it’s thought that the language originated from Ireland.

For centuries Gaelic was spoken throughout Scotland, from the southern lands of the Scottish Borders to the west coast islands and Aberdeenshire countryside.  In the 17th century Gaelic was outlawed by the Crown and was further supressed during the turbulent Highland Clearances of the 18th century, when Scots were persecuted for speaking the language.  However, particularly within the last few decades, Gaelic has increasingly grown more prominent in Scotland, with nearly 70,000 Scots now speaking the language.

Gaelic is at the root of many cultural traditions and across Scotland you’ll find rich Gaelic singing in traditional pubs, as well as in annual events such as Hebridean Celtic Music Festival, Celtic Connections, Harris Arts Festival and many more.  Gaelic has also been featured in the popular TV series “Outlander”. 

You can find out more about Scottish Gaelic on the VisitScotland website, including its origins, and how you can enjoy the language across Scotland.

Words: Visit Scotland

Gaelic in our areas

Within our local authority areas, Na h-Eileanan Siar (the Western Isles) covers Barra, Benbecula and Stornoway airports.  Here around 60% of the population have some Gaelic skills, which is the highest proportion of any area of Scotland.  

In Highland, around 7% of the population know some Gaelic, and these are mostly found in and around Inverness.  In Argyll & Bute, the location of Campbeltown Airport, records show that almost 6% of the population have some Gaelic ability.

Gaelic at our airports

HIAL’s Gaelic Language Plan covers nine of our airports plus our corporate and head office functions.  Kirkwall and Sumburgh airports are are exempt from the plan, in recognition of the distinct cultural and linguistic characteristics of those locations.

Read our Gaelic Language Plan to find out more about HIAL’s commitment to the Gaelic language and culture, and the steps we are taking to raise its profile across our communities and with our passengers. 

And if you’re in one of our airports, as well as seeing written Gaelic written on our signs, you might be lucky enough to hear colleagues and locals speaking in Gaelic too. 

You’re also welcome to contact us in written Gaelic, either via our feedback forms, social media or by email.  We will endeavor to respond to you, in Gaelic, within 20 working days.