The Piobaireachd Society worked hard to promote the playing of traditional highland music and so preserve a part of the culture of the highlands. Another part of highland life that can be seen through the correspondence is the Gaelic language. There are a couple of letters in Gaelic and also, the names of the piobaireachdan (the piping tunes) are often preserved in their Gaelic form.
I came across this Gaelic letter (above) in the correspondence files and sent a copy to Fiona Dunn, the Gaelic Language Officer of the University of Glasgow, who kindly translated it for me. It reads:
“My friend / dear friend,
I was looking forward to receiving your letter. It was well written.
Captain Stewart can now publish the little paper with the corrections I made to it.
Your loyal friend,
To Young Calum”
There are also letters from Gaelic societies in the files that tell of the connection the language had with the playing of traditional pipe music. The Gaelic societies were keen to establish a link with the Piobaireachd Society and so unite efforts to preserve the different elements of highland life that were fading in the modern world.
The drive to popularise Gaelic is still going strong today and the University of Glasgow have had a programme, ‘Gaelic@Glasgow’, for the last few years that promotes the learning and speaking of Gaelic, and the celebration of Gaelic culture, amongst the students around campus.
If you would like to find out more about the Piobaireachd Society collection or view the correspondence files, please let us know by contacting the Duty Archivist.
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