Sgoil Gàidhlig Bhaile an Taigh Mhóir
The Gaelic School of Baltimore
A’ Cumail Gàidhlig Beò: Preserving Gaelic Heritage
Most people who find their way to Sgoil Gàidhlig Bhaile an Taigh Mhóir or other Gaelic language communities in North America have been drawn down those paths by love. The first glimpse of that path might come from curiosity or the feeling of something missing in their own roots, but the trip down that path is possible only by love. Perhaps it is a love of the language, or the music, or the poetry, or the land, or the people, or family history. Wherever their own path starts that love draws them to an authentic experience of Scottish Highland heritage, to wells long covered which they might open, and from which they might drink. It’s a meaningful and even heroic journey.
Sgoil Gàidhlig Bhaile an Taigh Mhóir is a non-profit educational society that teaches and promotes the Scottish Gaelic language and culture in in its contemporary and historical context, and builds Gaelic community in the Chesapeake region. We are dedicated to cultivating new Gaelic speakers, using methods that honor and perpetuate Gaelic culture and language.
We started as a small group of learners, holding our classes in Liam Flynn’s Ale House on North Avenue in Baltimore City.
While language learning is at the root of who we are, we are also interested in supporting all aspects of Gaelic culture. We include history and a range of traditional art forms in our activities. For instance, in an immersion weekend or our Language Village we will have language classes, but also Gaelic song and poetry, and videos and print material on Gaelic history. We believe that a language has to be understood as a product of its history and its present day experience. Without that it’s detached from the experience of its speakers. We also believe that the practice of language, history, cultural arts, and other disciplines inform one another, and cannot be fully comprehended in isolation. We strive to integrate these practices as much as possible.
We also strive for ways of being knowledgeable about and supporting developments in Scotland and the other Celtic countries, keeping us connected to the homelands of the language.
However, we are part of the heritage of the immigrant Gaelic community of North America. Our driving vision is to stimulate greater common use of Gaelic and foster a Gaelic speaking community here in the Chesapeake region that links up with Gaelic speaking communities and organizations in other areas. Far more than simply studying in classes together, we hope for a Gaelic community built on friendship and mutual support in which the language can thrive; a community where the participants see each other for life cycle events, get together casually, and support each other as in any community, but in this one we are building common use of Gaelic and fostering the culture today in our home area.
While we are rooted in Scottish Gaelic, we regard the Gaelic world, be it Scotland, Ireland, or the Isle of Man, as one cultural whole with linguistic and cultural variations. Many of us who currently participate have both Scottish and native Irish family lines.
We welcome all people interested in Gaelic language and culture who may find their place here in a variety of ways from attending classes or events to more intensive involvement. We hope you come as classmates and continue as friends and family.