It’s the sound of the peat banks and sheep fanks and can be heard in homes across the Outer Hebrides. It can be discerned in village shops, streets and schools across our islands and, if you listen closely enough, in our distillery too.
Scottish Gaelic is our beautiful native language, and Harris is one of the rare places in the world it continues to survive. Its rich words and rhythms are inextricably tied to island culture and identity in ways that are, ironically, often hard to articulate.
Whether used to share a good bit of gossip or sing loudly at the local Mòd, Gaelic is quite simply part of life here. Indeed, a quick poll of the Tarbert team shows that around half of our staff speak it fluently.
So, as our distillery story continues, we felt it was time to introduce more Gaelic into our work and share a little of it with visitors here at the distillery and our more far-flung friends online.
While we won’t try to turn anyone into a fluent speaker anytime soon, we hope many of you may enjoy learning some simple phrases and perhaps be inspired to discover more about the language in your own time.
To begin with, we’re delighted to announce that we’re now offering monthly tours of the distillery conducted entirely in Gaelic and led by our popular local guide Marie ‘MM’ Morrison.
Whether you’re already a Gaelic speaker, currently learning the language, or can’t tell the difference between a ‘tha’ and a “chan eil”, we think you’ll enjoy this immersive experience with her.
We’ll also be providing our guests with a lovely keepsake card explaining some of the key words they’ll encounter along the way, helping them to understand and pronounce mysterious words like eòrna, stail, mòineand, of course, uisge-beatha.
You’ll find Gaelic appearing more often in our Facebook posts, Tweets and even at the distillery, on places like tour tickets and till receipts. We plan to share more music, poetry and prose in the language too.
So, the next time someone says to you “A bheil Gàidhlig agaibh?” you might feel confident enough to reply “Beagan!” But don’t worry if not, sharing an excellent dram with a confident “Slàinte mhath" will surely suffice for now!
Tha sinn a' coimhead air adhart ri fàilte bhlàth a chuir oirbh chun a chiad turas Ghaidhlig againn aig an Taigh-staile. Tha sinn an dochas gun còrd e ribh ar sgeulachd a'chluinntinn agus cuideachd gun còrd e ribh druthagde spiorad ar n-eilean òl nuair a thig sibh còmhla rinn. Chì sinn a dh'aithgheàrr sibh!
Book your place on our first Gaelic tour on Thursday April 18th at 3pm by calling 01859 502212