Our first instructor for the Grandfather Mountain Gaelic Song and Language Week 2016 (July 3 – 8) will be Catrìona Parsons!

A native Gaelic speaker born in the Isle of Lewis, and a graduate of Edinburgh University, Scotland, Catrìona has been involved in the teaching of Gaelic language and song in North America for many years. Married to a Lutheran pastor from Virginia, Catrìona began her Gaelic teaching in a small way in the US. While teaching English and Linguistics at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, she was approached by Tom McKean, who was then a student at the college, to teach him Gaelic; Tom is now on the faculty of Edinburgh U. She also formed a Gaelic choir which went on to win first place at the then Ontario Mod.

She also taught for 30 summers in the summer school of the Gaelic College, St. Ann’s, Cape Breton, where she was commissioned to prepare a course-book in three volumes with accompanying 90-minute tapes (nowadays CDs!), titled “Gàidhlig troimh Chòmhradh”, which has been used by students all over the world. In addition, she taught for many years in the Celtic Department of St. Francis Xavier University; after retiring, she was recruited to join the new Nova Scotia Office of Gaelic Affairs, where she remained for 6 years. At that time, apart from translation tasks, she wrote many Gaelic-English articles on behalf of the office and the Gaelic community, for local newspapers throughout the province, and was the editor-in-chief of the Gaelic periodical “Misneach” for which she wrote 95% of the articles. She was also liaison with local schools regarding the teaching of Gaelic; she continues on that committee. More recently, she completed the teaching of an advanced Gaelic Class for Cape Breton University which influenced her to prepare a draft booklet explaining Gaelic Structure. She hopes to tweak this for general distribution.

In addition, among editing tasks for Gaelic publications, Catrìona has conducted workshops and adjudicated Gaelic competitions throughout North America, also in Australia and New Zealand; she has produced a CD of Gaelic songs titled “Eileanan mo Ghaoil” in tribute both to Cape Breton and Lewis; and she has had several poems published in Gaelic magazines Gairm and Gath”.

Catrìona also helped start the US National Mòd and has been a popular teacher at Gaelic Song and Language Weeks in years past.

We are very happy to have Catrìona back for the 2016 Grandfather Mountain Gaelic Song and Language Week!