MacKay believes the island has so many stories that can help visitors connect with their surroundings, and finding a local guide who can bring the areas to life is crucial.
“To have someone over there who says, ‘this mountain, there is Ben na Caillich, which means the mountain of the old lady, and the legend goes that she was a princess, the daughter of a Norwegian king , and she married a Chief Mackinnon “and then suddenly you say” okay “to yourself. You saw something in front of you and now it means something, “he said.” It’s about connecting the land, the people, the culture and the sense of place, rather than just walking through a landscape. and to think “well, that’s awesome but there’s no context there”. “
MacKay says that although the Eilean Iarmain Hotel has long had a Gaelic association and is rooted in the community, other organizations on Skye, such as Fèisean nan Gàidheal, the Aros Center in Portree and SEALL – which hosts events such as Fèis an Eilein (Skye Festival) – a 10 day celebration of music, literature and theater – has also long promoted Gaelic culture and encouraged people to slow down and immerse themselves in the rich culture of the island.
MacKay is not alone in seeing the potential of Gaelic tourism. Earlier this year, VisitScotland began advising tourism businesses on how to take advantage of this aspect of their culture.
“Gaelic and its rich culture are an important part of Scotland’s tourism offering and reinforce the authentic experience we know so important to visitors,” said Rob Dickson, Director of Industry Development and Tourism. VisitScotland destinations.
“We believe the language will continue to be a valuable asset to Scotland’s identity, our tourism industry and inspire Scots at home to experience something new in Scotland.”
Now that international travelers can finally return to Scotland, having a meaningful visit, especially one that can be linked to their own heritage, will help enrich their experiences.
For my part, I left Eilean Iarmain determined to find time to return for a Gaelic singing class in college and reconnect with my own Irish Gaelic heritage. I’ll never be as melodic as Macdonald, but I think I might just find some fun in the vocals she does, and if all else fails, it’ll make a good story someday.
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