Scottish Gaelic, the language native to the Gaels of Scotland, has been spoken in Argyll since the 5th century when Irish Gaelic speakers settled in the area. Historically, it was the common language of the ancient Kingdom of Dalriada, whose Iron Age fort was situated at ‘Dunadd Hill’ near Kilmartin Glen, Argyll. It retained its status within the governance and was important to the Lords of the Isles who sat at Finlaggan on Islay up until 1493. In modern times, Scottish Gaelic thrives within heartland communities and cities in Scotland and plays a significant role within the lives of those in the Scottish and Gael communities of Nova Scotia, Canada.

In 2005, the Scottish Government enacted the ‘Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act’ which recognised Scottish Gaelic as equal to English and enshrined in law the rights of Gaelic speakers to access certain services through Gaelic as well as setting out a path to encourage bilingualism across the country.

In the 2011 census, Argyll and Bute was found to have the 3rd highest figure for those aged 3+ who had some skills in the Gaelic language. Within Argyll and Bute today, the thriving community is enriched by a cultural wealth of songs, music and poetry from the area. You can get involved in Gaelic choirs, conversation groups, language classes, Bookbug and church services to name a few. There are also nine Fèisean, community-based Gaelic arts tuition festivals.

Children aged 3-18 can learn through the medium of Gaelic, backed by the Statutory Guidance on Gaelic Medium Education . Additionally, many more have the opportunity to access Gaelic Language in the Primary School (GLPS) classes.

Today Gaelic is also hugely popular with tourists and has an economic potential of between £82M and £149M.

In 2021 there will be an Argyll Gaelic Gathering. You can register interest via

Find out what's happening at Argyll Gaelic Forum.


Gaelic information

Gaelic news

Gaelic Schools

Head Teacher
Bowmore Primary School Maureen MacDonald

01496 810522

Bunessan Primary School Kate Petrie

01681 700283

Dunoon Grammar School Mr David Mitchell

01369 705010

Islay High School Stephen Harrison

01496 810239

Oban High School Mr Peter Bain

01631 564231

Rockfield Primary School Caroline Fothergill

01631 568091/568090

Salen Primary School Miss Mairi Maclean


Sandbank Primary School Mr Jamie Houston

01369 706350

Strath of Appin Primary School Marissa Melville

01631 730345

Tiree High School Peter Bain - Acting Head Teacher

01879 220383

Tobermory High School Richard Gawthrope, Acting Head Teacher

01688 302062