Drawing a Gaelic map of Glasgow makes you a fascist

I’ve had a fun day on Twitter, blocking and muting Unionists. Over the past day or so I’ve discovered that I’m a demagogue, a blood and soil nationalist, and a fascist, all because I’ve had the temerity to produce some detailed Gaelic maps. I’ve been called jingoistic, by a Scots Tory with a Union fleg no less. No one has been injured in the production of these maps, no one has been asked to contribute financially to their production, no one is being forced to look at them, but for some reason they’ve brought out a horde of frothing Unionists who for some bizarre reason seem to be terribly threatened by a language that they claim is dead.

In my spare time over the past four or five years I’ve been working on a wee project to produce some detailed Gaelic maps at a scale of 1:100,000. It’s involved a lot of research, trawling through place names books to discover the Celtic etymologies of Scottish place names, and translating English and Scots names, in order to turn them into a form of Gaelic that’s acceptable to modern speakers of the language.

There are a couple of reasons for doing so. Firstly there’s producing maps that are usable by modern Gaelic speakers. Gaelic might not be spoken nowadays in many parts of Scotland, but that doesn’t mean that Gaelic speakers won’t ever want to mention those places or discuss them. This project was sparked off in part when reading a Gaelic news report many years ago of a road accident in Ayrshire, and though the accident happened in a village with a Gaelic name (the name of the village escapes me now), it was given in English. Only the modern English name is accessible to Gaelic speakers because there are no Gaelic maps.

Another reason for wanting to produce Gaelic maps is because Scotland has three national languages. English, Scots and Gaelic are all equally national languages of all of Scotland, and as such are the cultural property of everyone in Scotland. Yet our maps are in English. There have been a couple of previous attempts to produce small maps of Scotland in Gaelic, but no detailed coverage of regions – especially Lowland areas. We’ve got our own languages, but have been taught to view Scotland through the medium of only one of them – English.

buteBut the third reason is more personal. When I was a child I discovered that the place names all around where I was brought up actually meant something in languages that people used to speak in my home area. Auchenshuggle, Barrachnie, Daldowie, Carmyle, Drumpellier, Gartcosh, they’re not just collections of nonsense syllables. They actually mean something. Achadh an t-Seagail The Rye Field, Barr Fhraoichnidh The Heather Ridge, Dail Dubhaidh The Black Meadow, Cair Mhaol The Fort on the Bare Hill, Druim Peildeir The Ridge of the Stakes, Gart Cois The Farm of the Hollow. That fascinated me, and sparked off an obsession with language and linguistics which remains with me to this day. The first thing I asked for when I found out that these names meant something was to ask for a map of my local area in Gaelic, only to discover that there wasn’t one. So I’m doing it myself.

I’ve now got a number of detailed large scale maps close to completion. There are maps of Glasgow & Inverclyde, Kintyre Arran & Bute, Ayrshire, Fife, Islay & Jura, and Mull which I hope to get published in the New Year. There are also a few other maps, Aberdeen, Dundee, and Central Scotland, which need some more work. I released a few snippets on Twitter, and by and large the response has been extremely positive. Most people who responded are interested and excited by the prospect of seeing Gaelic language maps of their own part of Scotland.

But not everyone. According to Tom Gallagher I’m a nat demagogue who is artificially Gaelicising Scotland in order to make a lot of money (I wish). Other Unionists have accused me of blood and soil nationalism, of fascism, of wasting time and money. They’ve demanded to know why anyone should waste time on a “dead language”. Without a shred of self-awareness people with Union flags in their avatars have accused me of narrow minded nationalism.

eastendThey’ve insisted that Gaelic was never spoken in places which have Gaelic names. But no one in Edinburgh / Fife / Dumfries ever spoke Gaelic, they say, oblivious to the fact that all of those places contain significant numbers of Gaelic place names which prove that Gaelic was indeed once spoken there. In Scotland Unionist ignorance of Scottish linguistic history is touted as good sense and erudution. The truth is that Fife was at one time solidly Gaelic speaking, that Gaelic was still spoken in Dumfries and Galloway until the 18th century, and that there are plenty of Gaelic placenames in Midlothian created by Gaelic speakers who once lived in Edinburgh.

Scotland’s languages belong to everyone in Scotland, irrespective of their political views. However maps are about possession and ownership, and by producing a Gaelic map you’re also saying that Scotland is its own country. You’re saying that Scotland can look at itself and discuss itself without reference to English. That is a political statement, but it’s even more politicising to deny that usage to any language that isn’t English.

Scotland’s languages are the ground zero of the Cringe. The existence of Gaelic and Scots is an affront to those who claim that there is no basis to Scottish nationalism other than an atavistic hatred of the English. Gaelic and Scots prove that Scotland does have a culture and identity of its own, and therefore they must be diminished, disparaged, and destroyed. Their existence is a threat to the glorious unity of the UK, and any attempt to let them out of the folkloric box into which they’ve been confined is an insult to the sensibilities of our more zoomy Unionists. Don’t dare attempt to use them like proper languages. Only English is allowed that role in this perfect partnership of nations.

And yet these are the very same people who claim that attempting to use Scots or Gaelic like any normal language is “politicising” the languages. These are the nationalists who insist on the primacy of English and the sole use of English yet are blind to their own cultural nationalism and who revel in their ignorance of Scottish culture and history. Scotland is one of the few places in the world where some deluded people actually believe that their ignorance is erudition. It’s sad and pathetic to hate your own country’s heritage so much. It’s demented to be threatened by a minoritised language. But that’s what the Union has done to so many in Scotland. Thankfully the rest of us have the cure.

The maps still require further checking and corrections. All going well they will be due for publication sometime in the New Year. I’ll keep you posted.

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179 comments on “Drawing a Gaelic map of Glasgow makes you a fascist

  1. Chris Welton says:

    Thank you for all your hard work on this fascinating project ! Makes me wish I could speak Gaelic. I do not understand why yoons would carp at this language when they seem perfectly happy to embrace Latin (often called a Dead language).

    • Cheryl Easton says:

      Just what I was thinking Chris. After many years of having it rammed doon ma thrapple that Scots was just slang I’m revelling in the thought that I was never “common” but was, am, in fact bilingual. Would love to be able to understand Gaelic too – maybe getting a hold of some of the maps will help.

    • kailyard rules says:

      Latin is the “root” of a large part of english.The Romans were immigrants? to “England” for around 600 years. Cogito. If I’m wrong then mea culpa.

      • Guga says:

        The English, likewise, were immigrants, i.e. Angles. Saxons and Jutes. They really should go back to their own country, but, the Germans wouldn’t have them back, even if we gift wrapped them.

        • donald anderson says:

          They were first Roman Auxiliaries, or mercenaries, who saw how soft the Romanised Brits were and took over, chasing the Ancient Britons into Wales and Cornwall.

          The Jutes came from South Denmark and became Christianised. The later Danes who came were Pagans, seeking revenge on Christians and their hated Monasteries, because of Charlemagne sacking Gothenberg, etc, committing all the atrocities later associated with the Vikings.

          Anglo Saxon Engerland consisted of Seven, non do ,Kingdoms when Scotland was one United Kingdom, from an amalgamation of the Pictish (Cruithne), Brythonic and Scottish Kingdoms. Strathclyde stretched form South Loch Lomond to Cornwall and Breize, Brittany, and was divided by the Roman forts, Chesters, or castles.

          Ireland was once Scotia Major and Scotland Scotia Minor,from Queen Scotia who came thought the Middle East to Egypt and the Iberian Straits. The Celts, who came though Europe were the Fingals. Fair Gaels and those through the East Dougals, Dark Gaels.

          Brian Boru styled himself Emperor of the Scots hence the titles, Kings and Queens Of Scots, not of Scotland.

          • Whitburnsfinest says:

            Donald, that is truly fascinating! I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t really know any of that before.

            Scotland – indeed the entire british isles – has an amazingly rich and varied cultural heritage. We should be encouraged to learn more about our own history but as Paul said, Cringe gets in the way and you end up with ‘it’s not cannae, it’s cant. Speak properly!’ Or ‘who cares about Scottish history, nothing really happened until England came along and saved them from themselves’ right up to the mindset of ‘Scottish = inferior’. To use a really trivial example, look at soap operas. We have the ‘real’ ones, like corrie and eastenders and emmerdale….and then we have this pretendy cringe wee crappy thing that nobody watches called River City. It can’t possibly be as good as the proper British (ahem. English) ones because, you know, Scottish.

            • donald anderson says:

              Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin said English history stinks.

              They say that the Lothians was overrun by Angles, but little mention that they were expelled and nearly every house had an English slave
              after the battle of Servomechanism.

              I had good (deceased) friends, Angus McGillvrey, frae Whitburn and Nan Milton, John MacLean’s dochter came frae Armadale, Her husband used to do sketches and local history articles in the local press.

              Driving past the MWay you will see loads of Pyramids, not built by Egyptians, but in fact were shale bings, a by product of coal. Shale oil and sugar beet in Fife were deliberately taxed out of Existence, as was the “North British” Linen industry in favour of Irish Linen, owned of course by London Anglo capitalists. I could go on but ah’m no’ gettin’ paid for this.

        • Simon says:

          The Scots were immigrants too, and the Celts, or did you think they’d been in Britain since the beginning of time? Perhaps they should go back to their own country too?

  2. Col says:

    Unionists would rather wipe out Scotlands history, culture, economy and whatever else for their own selfish ends than see our country flourish.

    • Robert Harrison says:

      Unionists imperials is the word I’d use empire loving swines the die hards are how can they hate Scotlands history and culture yet have the hypocrisy to live up here makes me wonder half the time Scotland is the most welcoming country of these Isles as Welsh can be ignorant twats even to scots and the English can be xenophobic bigots Ireland can’t say either way as thats the only part of these isles ive never been to but they seem ok the few in England I’ve met during my 26 year stay in that hell hole and the English treat them like crap as well

  3. Mike Annis says:

    Now we can understand how the rich coups sell us out in 1707, how tartan and language can be banned on pain of death after the 45, how thousands can be kicked if land they’d worked for generations to allow wealthy landowners wanting to be English get richer, how we create an upper class privately educated who only want power in London, how ….. Oh the lust is endless of those who do not see themselves as Scottish except at weddings and parties. Thank goodness I’m not one and I’m Scottish.

    • Kenzie says:

      “Oh the lust is endless at weddings and parties.”

      Fixed that for you. 🙂

    • Rab Kay says:

      I had to fill in an online form for RyanAir today, unfortunately I am now British on an Irish web page. Ma head hurts.

    • John love says:

      Not all unionists are like that. I’m one through and through-wooed for two years for “better together” and could do it again. I am, however, aware of many Gaelic derivation for plce names – even ma hame toon o’ Airdrie. Keep up your work.

  4. Hugh Bryce says:

    I read somewhere awhile ago that Glasgow was once policed by Highlanders and brought there language with them. That language was Gaelic. Gaelic is part of Scotlands history and must be saved.

  5. Michael Neal says:

    Wonderful idea. If you get a minute would you have a wee word with the National Museum of Scotland, and ask them why their guide map is not available in Scots? They have English, Gaelic and most other major languages, but not our own Lowland leid.

  6. moaningkraut says:

    I am not a Scot (only bought a house and moved here 10 days ago), nor do I speak Gaelic, but I personally find it important to not forget history and traditions. Languages are obviously an important part of both, and, as you discovered with the different meanings, help understanding the past. How anybody could object to this passion of yours, is beyond me.
    Maybe some Unionists are worried that you might want to turn Gaelic into Scotland’s only official language after a successful Indyref 2… 😉

  7. Fantastic Paul – Gaelic places names perfectly describe the geography, colour and history of Scotland. To question the relevance of these names is to deny a huge part of our culture. I’m a Gaelic learner – struggling to get the words as phrases to stick, but loving the experience. Oh, and I’m Welsh! 😉

  8. Jan Cowan says:

    Wonderful! Great noise in Caithness some time ago when it was foolishly claimed that the Gaelic language had never been spoken there. Place names, of course, give the game away. George Gunn, in his book “The Province of the Cat”, made this clear.

    Thank you, Paul.

  9. EricS says:

    I grew up in the area of your Glasgow eastend map embedded above. I never once heard the derivation for Barrachnie (or the other areas you mentioned) when I lived there, which is a real shame. Understanding where these names come from gives a window in to the past. Thanks for this.

  10. Jen says:

    mì-àdh bràthair 😀😍😎

  11. pwest9 says:

    Excellent project. Well done for your efforts. As people in England rediscover Socialism under Corbyn we need to bring our history and rich culture from under the heel of an establishment hell bent on retaining their dominance of our country.

  12. Well done, WGD. I did a lot of walking and climbing in my younger days and always wondered what the names meant. I did learn some, probably wrongly, but my American wife likes hearing my gloomy translations of things like Achanalt, Achnasheen, Achnashellach and so on.

    We used to climb in Torridon a lot, and referred to the big hill there as ‘The Ligach’ or ‘The Liagach’. It is spelled now on ordnance surveys as Liathach and today’s youngsters pronounce it that way. I though it was just my failing memory (I first walked there in the 60s) but a friend showed me an old (1920s) cycling map of Scotland where the hill is clearly labelled ‘Ligach’. I suspect many of these names have evolved a bit, and gaelic speakers have told me that some of the names don’t mean anything they can recognise.

    I think we’ve fared better than the Irish, though, where too many of their place names are anglicised to Tolkienesque silliness.

    Well, there, you’ve put me in the mood. I think I’ll dubbin my climbing jackboots and get going again.

    • Ealasaid says:

      It was due to hillwalking in the 1980s that I first started to try and learn Gaelic (still trying). I went out with a hillwalking group at the time. Some of the older members were absolutely horrified and furious about it. Way over the top but could not give a coherent answer why I shouldn’t, apart from that the lanuage should be killed off.

      When demanding, very rudely, why I would want to learn Gaelic I replied that it was because it was all over those maps that they were always looking at and how were they supposed to tell anybody where they had been? Apparently they just used the nearest road numbers!

      So glad to hear you are doing this project Paul. I love the gaelic names and their meaning and will be in the queue for your maps. Don’t forget Edinburgh’s old name is Dunedin (Dun eideann), plenty of Gaelic derived names around here too, that the cringers do not realise. With all the gaelic teaching in schools recently and all the different languages you hear on our buses these days, it is great to realise that the youngsters a few seats away are talking to each other in Gaelic.

      • Marconatrix says:

        Wasn´t there a famous mountaineer who when asked why he wanted to climb a particularly challenging peak could only reply, ¨Because it´s there!¨ Well that´s how I feel about languages, and especially a language like Gaelic which is all over the landscape. I wonder how your hillwalkers back then would have reacted to that answer? 😉

  13. Eddie Mullen says:

    This is a fascinating and valuable project Paul. This would provide great subject matter for schools in teaching local and national history as well as encouraging an interest in languages. Looking forward to more details in the near future.

  14. brianmchugheng says:

    Education has a long way to go with some folk. It was only a couple of weeks ago, that I informed a work collegue, that Arran is not in Great Britain… his patronising laughter at my siggestion was short lived. 🙂

  15. Anne Lyden says:

    The last paragraph sums it all up neatly. More power to your elbow in researching and producing these Gaelic maps!

  16. brianmchugheng says:

    Suggestion even… typing in this wind is not easy. LOL 🙂

  17. 2p3rf3ct says:

    Jebus, what the hell are they afraid of?


  18. […] Wee Ginger Dug Drawing a Gaelic map of Glasgow makes you a fascist […]

  19. Angus Skye says:

    Your talents know no bounds, Paul. These maps will be a welcome addition to the ever growing bank of Gaelic materials available to us all. It has always annoyed me to see how Gaelic place names have been bastardised by Ordnance Survey. Because their surveyors couldn’t be bothered recording names properly they took the easy option of recording them phonetically. This happened even in the Gaelic heartlands. My daughter teaches In Gaelic medium education and will be delighted to hear of your project.

  20. Tinto Chiel says:

    Fascinating article, Paul. I’ve been studying the place-names of East Kilbride parish off and on since the 70s when I acquired some Gaelic on a holiday on Skye and suddenly understood dozens of names in EK. Because it is relatively high and remote, Gaelic lingered there longer than other parts of Lanarkshire like Rutherglen, which became an English-speaking Royal Burgh. There are even a few surviving Welsh ones too in the parish.

    And you’re spot on about the Gaelic-deniers/Cringers too. I’ve almost come to blows with Glasgow West End Britnats who froth at Gaelic-medium schools or Gaelic signs at Dalmarnock or Rutherglen train stations because of “the cost” but see no contradiction in celebrating (as they should) their Donegal heritage and singing Irish republican songs. I think their extreme reaction to Gaelic and Scots is because they have tried to erase their Scottish culture to ingratiate themselves with what they think is a superior Establishment culture and know deep down it’s wrong so they over-react out of a shame they don’t understand.

    Sadly, often people with little linguistic knowledge are the quickest to pontificate on such matters.

    • As an ex- Kilbridean myself, Tinto Chiel, I’d sure love tae hear of your place name researches. Where I lived, in the first built part of what became Whitehills there were some interesting names like Curlingmire and Cleughearn. It would have been nice to know more about the origins.
      Reading Aitchison and Cassell’s Lowland Clearances this week has also brought home to me why in what was once a field opposite our place there was a pile of stones that I later found out bore the name Rangerhouse. I don’t think the abandonment was due to tax-related issues though! 😄

  21. Alan Stewart says:

    It seems there is a bonus fourth reason: frothing yoons!

  22. Ed Freeman says:

    For some folk, hearing anyone speak anything foreign (or even just something they don’t understand, maybe) is enough to make them furious – like the guys who beat up a Polish lad in Glasgow not long ago because he was talking Polish with a Polish friend.

    Such folk forfeit the right to say anything whatsoever about other people’s languages, so – do keep on with your blocking and muting, please, but – much more important! – keep on with the cartography!

    I look forward to seeing the map of Dundee, among others. I hope I can put in an order soon.

  23. donald anderson says:

    I have experience the Great Hatred for anything Gaelic, or even remotely Scottish, in educated, staffrooms. All were Unionist, mainly Labour, in some form or other.

  24. iain taylor says:

    I’ve learned 3 foreign languages (and 2 foreign alphabets) and I’m now working on German in the hope of getting citizenship if I can retire there. I even have a couple of words of Bayerische – “Depp” means “idiot”/”amadan” strangely enough. Folk in Bavaria are now preserving Bayerische by using it at home.

    Would love to speak Gaelic, being progeny of teuchters who became economic migrants to Embra. There are folk my age out there who got “the lash” for speaking Gaelic in the school playground.

    It’s a great project, and bringing the knuckledraggers up from the bottom of the pond (mixing metaphors is a hobby) is a nice wee bonus.

  25. Bill McDermott says:

    I often wonder what Inverness lad Murdo Fraser thinks of all the Gaelic signs in the Highlands. I bet he surreptitiously supports the naysayers complaining about the costs in their Britnat superiority. Scottish Tories are like that.

    It was an English councillor, Michael Foxley who first developed the scheme to have all road signs in the Highlands bi-lingual. He was regarded as an odd-ball by the Caithness members, but when he became convenor he persevered and everybody fell in line. It was seen as a tourist branding exercise to begin with to make the Highlands a separate entity and I’m afraid some in the Gaidhealtachd saw it as tokenism. Nevertheless many years on it has reaped many rewards in terms of self-esteem and knowledge of our Gaelic heritage.

    This is a great project Paul. I hope it proves fruitful for all the lowlanders of Irish origin who have forgotten their own loss of heritage through their displacement. In fact I would love to see a pan-Celtic project across Ireland and Scotland to resurrect our heritage and in benevolence include the Welsh as the original inhabitants of the area.

    Anyway, I will be ordering your suite of maps.

  26. Illy says:

    “a horde of frothing Unionists who for some bizarre reason seem to be terribly threatened by a language that they claim is dead.”

    Why they’re so scared of a dead language (and a dead cause)

    “We’re not dead” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grbSQ6O6kbs

  27. Alan F says:

    Put me down for some maps when they are published, great idea! Lets have Gaelic or Scots signs too, Wales has Welsh language signs so we should promote our own heritage.

    • Be prepared for a long battle! Though hopefully we live in more enlightened times than the 1950s and 60s when Welsh language campaigners were fighting to get Welsh on signs (and forms, etc.).

      Well done Paul. Keep up the good work. Dal dy dir (as we say in Wales)

  28. Roslyn says:

    I’ve often wondered where place names come from as I’ve travelled around Scotland (and elsewhere) – really looking forward to the finished articles when they’re ready and will happily buy them.
    Fear and denial appears to be the only language Yoons understand sadly.

  29. CuttySarc says:

    Absolutely fascinating and well-worthwhile. My great-grandfather McClellan was possibly the first of our family EVER to leave Galloway permanently. Therefore, a few generations before him, everyone in my family spoke Gaelic as their first language, when Galloway was actually considered a part of the Highlands, albeit a special one, with a distinct history of migration and linguistic development. The place-names speak for themselves – and, oh! the surnames of Galloway! MacKay becomes McKie or McGhie; MacDonald becomes McDonnell; MacDougall becomes McDowell. But my favourite Gallowaa names are McClumpha (seen on a gravestone in Wigtown – if it exists at all in the North it would be spelled MacIllIomchadha) and Crockett – my great aunt Bessie married a Crockett, whose ancestors, had he but known it (I bet he didn’t!), were MacRiocairds (MacRichard?). Up in Ayrshire, the Gaelic for Kennedy is MacUalraig; up in the Hebrides, the “English” for MacUalraig is Kennedy. Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice….In all Scotland only the Northern Isles and two tiny districts around Eyemouth and John O’Groat’s have no Gaelic place-names at all. Granted, place-names tend to be dictated by the ruling class rather than the common people of each region, and large areas of south-eastern Scotland were never predominantly Gaelic speaking at the grass-roots level, so that the ordinary folk of Auchendinny have been overwhelmingly ignorant for centuries of the meaning of the name of their village – to the extent that the meaning seems to have been lost altogether… (some kind of field?)…. Then again, the prevalence of Norse place-names in the last surviving pockets of native Gaelic speaking population is also ignored or misunderstood. On the whole of Skye, apart from Sleat, Norse place-names predominate.

    • donald anderson says:

      I was telt by a Gaelic teacher that Newton Stewart advertised for a Gaelic teacher in the mid 19c, because the locals could not speak English at that time.

    • Pat Carroll says:

      Let’s also not forget the influence of Brythonic (old Welsh) on place names in the SouthWest of Scotland, including parts of Glasgow, eg Govan.

      • donald anderson says:

        I was telt that Govan was Gobhainn in Gaelic, meaning Smiddy?

        • kailyard rules says:

          Well now my mother told me, when I was about six, that when Mary Queen of Scots was being chased about on her horse (called Van) by the English she dismounted to hide (at what is now the start of Govan Road just outside the Grand Ole Opry, the former Imperial cinema). She then gave the faithful horse a hefty skelp and Royally pointed. “Go Van. Go Van” she shouted as the horse galloped onwards stopping just before Linthouse.
          How can I doubt my mother.

          • donald anderson says:

            Kaily, they say that Wellshot Rd was so names cos Q Mary said to guy who missed shooting at her, Well shot sir”.

            I do know that the decryers of Bravehert complained aboot inaccuracies in the movie. Whit aboot Errol Flynn saying Virginia was named efter her cousin, a “Virgin” Queen.

        • Clearly a long history of heating and bashing metal in that corner then! 😊

    • Marconatrix says:

      Auchendinny : Gorse-field maybe? Achadh an Teine ??

    • WRH2 says:

      Old Cambus just a bit up the coast from Eyemouth is a puzzle as it appears Gaelic in origin. The location of the settlement near the mouth of a river and a bay is apparently what Cambus in Gaelic means. The Water Eye itself could have a Gaelic origin. And there are other names in the area that could be Gaelic or from another Celtic language origin.

  30. Geraint says:

    Interesting article. The only place name that jumped out to me in Wales is Cair Mhaol. In Welsh it is Caer Moel. To me that is very similar.

    • weegingerdug says:

      Carmyle is probably of Cumbric origin. But it comes to us in Gaelicised guise. Gaelic and Welsh are both Celtic languages of course, so have a lot in common.

      • Seumas Mì-Rìoghachd MacTalla says:

        Gaelic and Welsh both come from a single unwritten language a few centuries earlier.

  31. Sweep says:

    Paul, if you’ll indulge me:

    For anyone wishing to learn Gaelic, you might want to try an online course – just Google this:


  32. Angus F Macdonald says:

    Well done on your project and keep it up. Could I however urge caution on assigning placemats a Gaelic interpretation. There are some strange Scotrail signs eg “Hailes an Iar” that are ridiculous in the extreme and a bit of thought needs to be given to what Scots words like “Hailes” actually mean before a Gaelic version is used. Folk who can’t speak Gaelic are like sheep and believe any old nonsense put in front of them as it looks exotic but that doesn’t make it correct.

    • weegingerdug says:

      Yeah, I’ve translated Scots words into Gaelic. If a name is semantically transparent in Scots, it ought to be semantically transparent in Gaelic too.

    • Keith Guthrie says:

      Can’t agree more – Ridiculous station Gaelic signs cast a shadow over decent naming projects – I cant stand the signs on the line from Edinburgh to Curriehill.

      • donald anderson says:

        Glasgow Central, unlike Queen St, refuse to have Gaelic sub titles. A friend wrote to them years ago and had a silly EBCspeak gobbledegook nonsense reply, Do try it again folks and compare responses.and replies. There are always arguments over correct Gaelic spellings and pronunciations, who also have their regional variations, as do Irish.

        Other languages have the same problems. England for example, has High, Medium and Low German variations, from South, Middle and Northern England.

    • As far as I know the strange Scotrail signs came from a project to create a list of Gaelic place names that was instigated by the Scottish Parliament. It used to be available on their website – I may still have the several sizeable PDFs it came it. As an exercise in *creating* Gaelic place names it might be fine, as an exercise in restoring the original Gaelic place names (which tell us much more) it was awful. Often it looked like a Scots (preferred to English) version of a name had “Baile” shoved in front of it and random “h”es thrown in. I don’t think its there now. I hope it is because it got thoroughly laughed at.

      As an example my home town of Turriff (abbreviated in Scots to Turra) became Baile Thurra. But Turriff can be seen to be originally Gaelic. It’s in the Book of Deer as Torbruad and its possible to see this evolve through Turfred, Turreff and Turray as charter scribes mangle it this way and that.

      If my virtually complete lack of Gaelic can be excused, it should be something like Tur Bruidhe, i.e. Bruidhe’s Tower.

      • donald anderson says:

        Don’t envy the Dug. Gaelic scholars always argue about pronunciation and spelling. Best to get on to proof it and then blame him/her.

  33. Bill Dale says:

    Cultural hegemony is the standard operating method for imperialists. To promote your own culture, especially language, is to defy the imperialists, hence their rage.

    QED 😉

    Great work Paul, put me down for a map of Ayrshire for starters.

  34. Magnificent, Paul.
    I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for one of our Universities to award you an honorary Doctorate though, but, mind

    I seem to recall a piece of research that established that the Chancellors/ Heads of all our Universities are foreign born, and with a few exceptions. were brought up from England.

    It may be argued that Edinburgh resembles Dublin 1916 and its ‘West Briton’ Establishment Class.

    Auld Reekie is packed with ‘North Britons’ running finance, Insurance, banking, and of course the University.

    If you like, the Scottish Branch of the London Establishment.
    In their eyes, we are an English colony.
    Our Unionist political class will have it no other way.
    I wonder how many Scottish Lairds were educated at Gordonstoun, Eton, Harrow, Oxford, Cambridge?

    WATP Two Jobs Professor Adam Tomkins, and The Queen’s Eleven Murdo Fraser, ( I wonder if they were at Pittodrie the other day offering up their seats to Aberdeen fans?) and Bricklayer Findlay, Red Tory supporter of the English Nationalist right wing rag, the Express, are hell bent on destroying, Scotland, its heritage, culture, wealth, health, and distinct society.

    I treat them with disdain now.
    They are narrow minded bigoted vandals, who despise Scotland, and the very concept of Self Determination.

    They would shut Holyrood tomorrow and dance the devil’s jig in celebration.
    They are a deep rooted cancer in our society. I am not surprised that they have crawled out of the primordial swamp to attack you for this quite remarkable and selfless piece of vital research.
    I’ve dipped in and out of Lab Conference this week.
    The Union is crumbling before our very eyes.
    Thank you for your unbounded enthusiasm and energy.

  35. Graeme Timoney says:

    Paul as you know I have been a long term reader and fan of your blogs and books though I have not as yet commented , however I must say I find this subject fascinating and thought I might add a wee story of my own . In my early twenties I lived in North Uist in The Hebrides where one summer I befriended a young couple. He was Norwegian while she was Swedish and they were studying historical links between the three countries . Although I had asked many of the Gaelic speaking locals for the meaning of some of the names of local lochs moors and hills etc. I found very few who knew ,but surprisingly this young couple had no bother in translating these into English. I can only imagine some historic Viking trading links would explain this .

  36. Feàrnach says:

    Strange, as there are some Gaelic-speaking Unionists. (The ones I know tend to have connections with the armed forces and take the “Queen and Country” myth very seriously, despite the rancid history of British forces both in Gaelic-speaking areas and as feverish recruiters from those areas.)

  37. jimnarlene says:

    I’ll be buying one or two, if you’re making them available.

  38. Duncan Laing says:

    i get the feeling it’s not Gaelic or Scotland they’re attacking .. it’s the erosion of ENGLAND and “Englishness” the moron fringe don’ like.. It’s the sycophantic stockholm suffering indoctrination of the Yoonloons that makes attacking ANYTHING the lessens their psychosis that is ENGLAND ..
    The nutter fringe that cry “Wool Brittania” while waving a St George’s flag ..
    The very idea of “England” and “The Empire” is being watered down to a puddle all over the Globe.. The casting out of that idiot monarchy by small island Nations that would have suffered the wrath of “Her Majesty’s Navy” only a 100 years ago yet “England” can’t do a damned thing about it other than cry into their St George’s Flags the same way a defeated humiliated bully cries into the dirt!

    England is NOTHING now and even LESS SO without Scots and Scotland to raise their international profile and the English and their sycophantic followers don’t like it. lol
    p.s I wonder if Rome’s Empire ended the same way?!

  39. Movy says:

    I genuinely cannot understand the mind set which would ‘rubbish’ your research. There seems no doubt that some Unionists have completely lost the plot, along with their marbles. This work sounds absolutely fascinating. I look forward to the finished articles and being able to acquire Gaelic maps of my country.

  40. Jim Bruce says:

    More strength to your elbow, Paul. I can’t think of any good reason why anyone could object to a project like this.

  41. benmadigan says:

    Well done Paul – a truly great initiative! here’s a wee vid of how NI orangemen reacted to use of Irish gaelic – for the series plus ca change . . …
    It’s not hard to fathom why Unionists object to an educated population

    • donald anderson says:

      A few years ago the NI Silly Billies were pulling doon Ulster Scots signs, thinking they were Gaelic.

    • weegingerdug says:

      In the late 18th and early 19th centuries it was a condition of becoming a Presbyterian minister in northern Ireland that the candidate minister spoke Irish, because many Presbyterians in the north were Irish speakers.

  42. sandycraig says:

    Absolutely brilliant idea. Canny wait tae see the Fife wan. I agree with Duncan at 5.30. Why people would want to eradicate and erase their historic past is nuts to me. The same people who still sing about a battle in the 17th century. Brainless.

  43. […] Drawing a Gaelic map of Glasgow makes you a fascist […]

  44. Deely says:

    I think that’s tremendous! Fantasticallybloodymarvellous!! Looking forward to the finishing touches. Time to start Gaelic classes.

  45. aldomacb says:

    Fantastic to hear that you are working on this Gaelic project. Tha thu a’ dèanamh obair math – you are doing great work.

  46. Teàrlach says:

    A’ dèanamh fiughair mhòr ris na dealbhan-dùthcha seo!

  47. Kieran Anderson says:

    This is fantastic and I hope to see the Fife map as soon as possible. You have no idea of how demented I am trying to make so many people, including my own family realise that Gaelic is the oldest existing language of Fife, and that it is also the longest language still in use to dominate Fife! English has not been here for very long at all!

  48. Robert Graham says:

    Excellent post Paul and power to your elbow , it never fails to astonish me of the wide variety of people with a real talent that favour Independence , this daily drip drip rubbish about anyone who even starts to believe they are as good as anyone else on this planet and can maybe run things and do things a little better ,gets stood on by the media , what possible harm is Paul Kavanagh going to do to the planet by maybe just educating a few interested folk, education that was intentionally withheld by well meaning people the same kind that sent all those kids to a better life in Australia all those years ago , education is a wonderful tool in the hands of those who would wish us harm by silently removing our history and culture ,better not to confuse the natives they might get restless and demand their freedom and independence from mother England .
    Very clever these people after all they have perfected this art over hundreds of years all over the world ,trained their children that they are the chosen ones so Eton Harrow and the like will never close ,where would we get british Prime Ministers from oops after camerons EVEL unless you are english or represent an english constituency yer teas oot as they say in parts of jockland .

  49. Papadox says:

    Re Scotland and languages. Have noticed that the rancid EBC misreporting Scotland when interviewing people on street scenes fortunately never manage to find one of those course native scots. Fortunately they do stumble onto a few well spoken yoons, which suppose covers their bias. The majority of interviewees are ENGERLISH, or IRISH. if that’s a representation of the population we are f*cked well and truly. Or maybe they are so thick they think they are hoodwinking the daft jocks. You should remember EBC, When you’re daft you’re the last one to find out.
    Now f*ck off and don’t try to make a fool of me and my country.

    • Aye. I have noticed on the radio that they appear to interview a disproportionate number of “passers by” and spokespersons in Scottish bodies who have English accents. Whilst I have no issue with English folk, I get a sense of manipulation here from the Ministry of Truth at Princes Dock.

  50. BillyT says:

    This is not missed by other countries. In 1997, on honeymoon with the DW, in Barbados the DW was having her hair braided and the girl asked why, if we were Scottish, were speaking English? This sticks in my mind for all those years. That, even after all the years of English rules and law, the people of Barbados still speak their own language without the need to conform to what the English say made me realise we have been subjected to a mass attack of the righteous, supposed, born to rule leaders from below the 55.7702 North latitude. Why not promote our language.

  51. Whatever Messrs `Devine and MacWhirter claim Heydrich got it right when he talked about colonialism ie
    “Deprive the people of their national consciousness, treat them as a tribe and not a nation, dilute their national pride, do not teach their history, propagate their language as inferior, imply they have a cultural void, emphasise their customs are primitive, and dismiss independence as a barbaric anomaly.”

  52. CB says:

    I don’t know what’s in the ether at the moment but I had to unfollow a facebook friend tonight as he was going full boggle eyed unionist tonto. I’m at an utter loss to explain why some Scots are so vehement at the moment – in fact this individual said to me last week “you’re not one of those Scottish nationalists are you? I hate them” with no prompting whatsoever. He had just asked me if I wanted to go for a pint! Really! I was a bit thrown for a second or two and replied sweetly “aye, I’m one of those horrible cybernats you despise so much. Sorry about that!” and he didn’t have an answer or comeback. He is still speaking to me and I to him as I don’t think shutting down or meeting rudeness with rudeness is the answer.

    I’m from Dumfries and Galloway and we’ve got Gaelic and Norse place names down there. I think people have a choice. They can appreciate the Gaelic or not. No need to behave like a fud about it. I wonder how many of these unionists are Runrig fans incidentally who have usually at least 2 Gaelic songs per album?

    • Eilidh says:

      Ive been a Runrig fan for almost 30 years and don’t know many Scottish fans who are unionists. Some may find their music twee but it was through them and their music that I learned most about my Gaelic heritage and culture. Essentially they and other Gaelic musicians and writers filled in the gaps in my education I have had a keen interest in history since school although little did I know then how little I was being taught about the history of my own country.I do remember that with the exception of a brief mention of the Jacobites, the clearances and the Crofters Act the history of Scotland seemed to end in 1707.Strange that.It is clear that I was taught British propaganda instead.Gaelic Language and music is part of our culture along with Scots and English. I am disgusted that these unionist knuckle draggers seek to insult you Paul purely for trying to create wonderful maps in one of our native languages.I greatly look forward to seeing your finish product.

  53. Norma Slmmon says:

    What a wonderful project! There seems to be a lot of Unionist abuse around. I was told the other day that I hate the English. I hope nobody tells him sitting beside me on the couch being all English! Ignore them

  54. Lillis Ó Laoire says:

    Meal do nàidheachd! Tha na mapaichean dìreach àlainn. I wonder if there should be a ‘h’ in Siughal in Achadh an t-Siughail, as the English seems to suggest Achadh an t-Siugail? Or if you considered and rejected the spelling ‘seagal’?

    • weegingerdug says:

      Actually it’s spelled Achadh an t-Seagail on the map. I just misspelled it in the article because I was beelin’ when I wrote it and didn’t check. Corrected it now.

  55. Tinto Chiel says:

    Busy on here tonight, Paul and all positive. What, no trolls?

    I always say to tumshies who say Gaelic was never spoken in the Lowlands that probably the last speaker of Carrick Gaelic, Margaret McMurray, died near Maybole at the time of Robert Burns’ birth.

    And the last time I looked Ecclefechan was still close to the English border.

    • donald anderson says:

      I think the last Gaelic speaker in Arran died in the late 70’s and the last Scottish Gaelic speaker in Ulster about the same time.

  56. Dave Greig says:

    I would love to have one of my locality. I’d make a nice frame for it and hang it on my lobby wall.

    It’s unfortunate if such a good thing is portrayed as negative by the foolish and ill informed. We however, while always being aware, need to rise above it and remember that it only takes a few arseholes to create a whole load of shit. Just look at the mainstream media!

  57. The Scottish Play says:

    Tha mi an dochas an map nach bi e fada gun tighinn.

  58. Kenny says:


    Which is Persian for “gaun yersel laddie!”

  59. Maldwyn says:

    Well done Paul keep up the good work. Are greeting cards available in Gaelic & Scots up there! Pob lwc, Cymru am Byth a Alba gu Brath.

  60. mogabee says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing and owning a map of the place I live in..Kintyre, still has Gaelic speakers who’d also love it I’m sure!

    I always regretted not getting one of your maps years ago. You’re a talented guy 🙂

    • donald anderson says:

      The Highland Line runs at an angle, from the Mull of Kintyre to Stonehaven. Islay and Cambeltoon and further South than Glasgow.

      Archie Hind is responsible for saying Glasgow means Dear Green Place, which was the English spy, Daniel Defoe’s description. He wrote two histories of the Treaty of Onion. A rosy one for the Kirk and the truth for his London Paymaisters. The Gaelic is green hollow. Glas could be gray or green and chu could be a coo or hollow.

      • Marconatrix says:

        Modern Welsh is ´cau´ but older British would I think have been ´kow´ meaning ´hollow´ or ´enclosure´ hence it´s use in Welsh today to mean ´(enclosed) field´.

      • mogabee says:

        Do you mean a railway line? There is no line near MoK, Islay and Campbeltown, I wish there was! 🙂

        • Highland Boundary Fault, Mogabee. Used to be a wee railway from Campbeltown to Macrihanish though! 😊

        • donald anderson says:

          No.Just the official defualt line. The actual Gaeltacht was much bigger then the Highland line. Apparently they called themselves Gaels, not Highlanders, according to the museum in Crief.

  61. Scots Wa Hey says:

    I will just leave this here
    The 4 founders of Rangers Football club were Shinty playing Gaels 3 of whom signed the Scottish claim of right for Homerule.
    The Unionism was imported by Norn Iron shipyard workers what if they had been Lithuanian workers who came to Glasgow at the same time would they be supporting Lithuanian Indiependance

    Dumbarton and Lochgilphead church records record the number of Gaelic speakers in the 19th century and the glee the church took in Angloising by shaming & use of Corporal punishment on the children who were banned from speaking it.

    The Government Highland line started where Loch Lomond enters the River Leven anything above that and our native culture suppressed by force
    The ultimate Scottish cringe being ashamed of your own history

    • donald anderson says:

      The original Glasgow Rangers was a boys team who played on Glasgow Green. They were mainly Gaels, who came from the Ardamurchan area and employed in the nearby Templelton’s and McPhail’s dyeing factory.

      They were bought over and moved to Ibrox by businessmen and adopted by Harland and Wolfe workers,who brought their own sectarianism into the club, which used to run joint charity matches with neighbouring Celtic club..

      : Ibrox is Gaelic for Place of the Badgers, Hence the old saying, Orange Badgers.

  62. Chris Paton says:

    Very much looking forward to seeing these published!

  63. Kangaroo says:

    Wonderful idea. More power to you. I would love your map (s) in a frame on my wall. Maybe someone could also do one in Scots tongue. There seem to be lots of them too.

  64. Lisa says:

    Excellent project Paul!!…..good on you man – is there no end to your talents?….a” lad o’ pairts” to be sure – I’d love to have one of these maps…..alas,not a Gaelic speaker,but have learned a couple of songs……..also,enjoyed reading all the previous comments ,full of praise and appreciation for all you do for Scotland and the Indy movement – I feel as they do!….keep it all coming!

  65. stuckdoonhame says:

    Oh Paul, my late father would have been so proud of you! He worked tirelessly to educate the people of Galloway about the Gaelic origins of place names down here and was fluent in Scots, Gaelic and English. More power to your elbow!

  66. Guga says:

    WGD, your maps are an excellent idea, an I hope you go on to do a complete set fot the whole of Scotland. I, for one, will scrape together enough cash to pay for a complete set.

    Incidentally, this quote, from Marcus Tullius Cicero, 106-43 BC, is most appropriate:

    “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.”

    • donald anderson says:

      Gaelic maps of Scotland, Alba, have been put for years and published by various Gaelic societies and there have been various place name origins of Scotland wee books by Scottish place name societies.

    • Robert Graham says:

      excellent quote and i bet most of us here could compile a very long list starting with the management at Pacific Heights the BBCs bunker in Scotland a strange place where the news is always washed and disinfected to remove all traces of credit or achievement that might be attributed to our present government in Holyrood , good old aunty keeping us safe from these vicious NATS oh and we get to pay them oodles of cash to continue the cycle aren’t we generous us Jocks .

  67. There’ll definitely be an order for one of your Ayrshire masterpieces fae this household 😀 Yoons, whit ae they like eh, they have been going their dinger over on Twitter about nothing today too. I think it could be the unseasonally warm weather, combined with a proliferation of Ruth Davidson sound bites and God help us all, is that Kezia Dugdale oan the TV again being as clear as the inside o’ a muck spreader and as coherent as me on a vodka/pethidine kill me or cure me migraine therapy ??

    So, Gaelic maps, brilliant, Ayrshire one for me please – thanking you 😘

    (PS You and Ginger were just fabulous in Girvan last Saturday, so ye were)

  68. JC says:

    My father was born on a farm near Kirkoswald in South Ayrshire called Altewan. It obviously has Garlic origins. Locals pronounce it as alt-e-wahn. My unknowledgable interpretation suggests it could mean Ewan’s Burn, and there is certainly a burn known as the Cairdis Burn that runs beside it. Do any knowledgeable Gaelic speakers have a more educated opinion of what Altewan could derive from?

  69. donald anderson says:

    The late Hugh MacDonald, faither of young Shooie, the sports writer, told me that the Rangers Magazine was run by a Sinn Fein member during the fifties and early sixties.

  70. Big Al says:

    ‘S math sin mo caraid!
    Cant wait for the Arran version, I’m a native. I got embarrassed about my lack of Gaelic while living in Aotearoa New Zealand. It’s normal there for Maori to be chucked in the mix with English & nobody has any qualms about using it.

    When i came back i thought it was about time i did something about it so started evening classes at Glasgow Uni a couple of years ago. During my first term i got yakking with a Yank on twitter who shared the family surname who insisted that I had a particularly important ancestor in the Gàidhealtachd. Did some checking and sure enough a few times Great Uncle, Reverend William Shaw who was born at High Clachaig (latter day Kilmory) on Arran in 1749. He was responsible for the very first Gaelic – English Dictionary, under the encouragement of Dr Samuel Johnson. He was also a rather controversial character.

    No Yoon is ever going to persuade me not to try and continue my Gaelic learning now i know of my heritage. I think what upsets me most about it is that my father probably knows of Gaelic speakers in the family, now long dead, and never told us about it.
    In case your missing any Arran info, the hill at the side of the road on the way between Sliddery & Blackwaterfoot is known locally as the Leaca Bhreac, meaning speckled hill. Ive never seen it labeled at all on any map of Arran.

    You’ll have my money when the maps done!
    Mòran taing!

    • donald anderson says:

      A Sgt Shaw, and a MacPherson. were hung as “leaders of a Black Watch Mutiny, when their terms as a Watch were broken and they were classed as a line regiment to be shipped out to fight the French.

  71. John Edgar says:

    Glé mhath! Obviously, the gart in Gartcosh, is cognate with Norse / modern Norwegian gård meaning farm.
    Your work will certainly help to dispel the false etymology which has sprung up over the years. There was a school in Paisley in Foxbar where the school badge showed a fox jumping over a gate ( misunderstanding of the root of the word bar).
    Do not be put off by the detractors of Gaelic and the anglicised monoglots! They only pool their ignorance. What they forget is that English and Scots also were never spoken over all of what was ancient and modern Scotland. For these poor souls Scotland only begins in 1707!!

  72. ebreah says:

    I finally realised a few things of late. There are two things that will mark any land and it will remain there like a scar that refuses to go away; one is language and the other one is tombstones. In my case, I live in the northern part of Malaysia where there is a distinctive dialect; particularly the pronunciation of the letter “r”. It is simply known as the Northern dialect and usually associated with the state of Kedah.

    However the dialect is spoken more widely; spoken solidly in two other states and partially in the fourth. I am always intrigued; why are the speaking like Kedahans but not part in Kedah? As I dug deeper and deeper into history, I found the officially sanctioned version of history had left out many details and sometimes denied certain facts altogether. Because it is convenient to do so now. Kedah did actually ruled those territories and gradually lost them over the centuries. The dialect is the reminder that refused to go away.

    Secondly, there was a period of time I was so engrossed with Prussian history. At the end of WWII, the Russian conquered East Prussia and got the part which is now known as Kaliningrad Oblast. In which lays the city of Koenigsberg. One of the acts the Russian did to erase the German presence was to bulldoze all cemeteries in the city. I truly understand the significance a while back. You rebuild any city after it being destroyed/razed, but as long as the cemeteries are there, it is a reminder that that place does not really belong to you.

    I suppose this is why Gaelic is hated by some in Scotland, because it is a reminder of a lot of things and I dare say all of them are not nice. Same as in Ireland and Wales. Every time Gaelic is spoken, it will remind them of thing they so want to forget.

    I came across a poem in Gaelic (am not sure whether this is a well known poem or otherwise) a few days ago and I was awestruck by the gravity of what it is trying to convey. I rank this the Gaelic version of WGD post on the Unicorn. I am going to quote a part (I’d like to quote the entire poem but the content is a bit too controversial with regards to people having my kind of name. I will email it to WGD):

    “Chan fhaigh sinne am bàs/We will not die”

    Long may Gaelic be spoken throughout Scotland

  73. Brian Fleming says:

    Important work, Paul. Thank you.

  74. Tinto Chiel says:

    JC: it could well be from allt Eoghainn but you’d have to find early forms from old documents to be sure. Can’t do acutes/graves in this field/space.

    Guga: have always loved your quotation. As Macart would say, that’s a keeper.

    Donald Anderson, I think Glasgow is more likely to predate Gaelic, as Welsh/Cumbric glas gau, “green hollow” (as you say) and probably it is the hollow between the Necropolis and cathedral. Cau would change to gau after an adjective.

    I find it so encouraging Paul’s article has excited so much positive comment.

    The times they are a’changin’.

    Unless you’re a perpetual Yoon, of course.

  75. Cymru Rydd says:

    From a Welsh perspective, this is really important work to promote Scottish identity, therefore many congratulations Paul.

    One of the founders of Plaid Cymru, the Welsh National Party, Saunders Lewis once said; “Y Gymraeg yw’r arf i ladd taeogrwydd y Cymro a’i godi’n ddyn” ( Welsh is the weapon to kill the servility of a Welshman, and make him a man”.

    As we have seen in Wales over the last half-century, the gradual promotion of Welsh in our public life has led to an increase in Welsh self-confidence and national pride. We have many problems still to overcome of course but there’s no doubt that cultural promotion is the key to our national renaissance.I am sure that this will be true of Scotland as well as you seek to promote both Gaelic and Scots alongside English in your country.

    Scotland has a special place in Welsh hearts because of the Brythoneg language( antecedent of modern Welsh) which was spoken in the old seven Brythonic kingdoms in parts of Scotland. Indeed, we refer to Scotland as “Yr Hen Ogledd”( the old north). As one of your contributors pointed out Glasgow means Glas gau ( green field) in Welsh. Other examples would be Pebbles( from the original Welsh Pebyll( tents), Caeredin( Welsh for Fort of Edin, Edinburgh) and so on.

    Here’s to Welsh and Scottish solidarity:

    Cymru am Byth/ Alba gu Brath!

  76. scrandoonyeah says:

    You are a bad,bad man and a threat………take it as a compliment. What you write and how you write inspires us all. You translate our thoughts and feelings into words with such dignity and integrity….

  77. […] Source: Drawing a Gaelic map of Glasgow makes you a fascist […]

  78. Weegingerdug. I have just become aware of you via a post in Welsh Discussion Group and I take me hat of to you it was not just an interesting read it is inspirational! All the non-English countries of Western Europe need their own maps! Well done and keep up the great work!

  79. bjwilliams26 says:

    A dead language? Do these people never check before opening their mouths? My nephew (12) has been attending Glasgow School of Gaelic since he was 4 & halfyrs old & will leave at 18yrs. The school serves 700 students with a current waiting list of around 200+ hundred. All students speak only in Gaelic from entering the school until the end of the day Mon-Fri. Also Glasgow recently opened A further Gaelic school on the other side of the City to help accommodate the many students eager to embrace this one of our National languages. There is also the Gaelic College Course details of which can be found online or on various posters in colleges & libraries x🐝x

  80. bjwilliams26 says:

    Meant to say looking forward to purchasing the maps. They will be an excellent addition to my nephew Brodie’s study guides.Many thanks Paul

  81. What a great project, Paul! ‘Delighted to read about it!

  82. mumsyhugs says:

    Paul will I be able to buy an individual area map? I’d love one of my old home area of Inverclyde 🙂 I love maps!!!!

  83. Moran Taing a charaid. I once mentioned to Scottish relatives living in Edinburgh that a large part of Scotland once spoke Brythonic as well as Ghaidhlig….. (Aberdeen,LhanBryde,Penicuik etc…..) They imeediately understood me to be claiming that Scotland was once aprt of Wales!! The ignorance on the linguistic history of the country is mammoth in scale. I look forward to your maps!! Beir bua a chara!

  84. Good on you. Down with cultural imperialism!

    • donald anderson says:

      “Atlas of Scottish History to 1707” Peter GB , Hector L MacQueen, Cartographer, Anona May Lyons.Edinburgh University 1996. ISBN 09503904. 1 0

  85. Paul Williams says:

    Those of here in Wales can completely sympathise with you as it is the sort of thing we have to put up with every day regarding the Welsh language. Don’t let the negative attitude of these people put you off and please continue with this excellent and worthwhile project.

    • Marconatrix says:

      Just out of interest, is there published a wholly Welsh map of Wales in anything like the detail our WGD appears to be working at? Dwi ddim wedi gweld ei degyg.

  86. Dai Barnaby says:

    I just wanted to leave a note to wish you well in your work. This has been a long time coming, centuries in fact, but you are making it a reality now. All credit to you.
    With love and best wishes from your fellow Celts in Wales.


    Well tis interesting to me, a Brit caused by American Irish nastiness to me, to read the words of Scottish folk realizing their own nation and its past. But it is annoying to read the scholar above does not know the fact that a Brythonic language dominated all of Britain prior to the arrival of the Gaelic tribes. My own ancestors passed most of their history in N E Scotland and gave to many places there their own family name, in those centuries until the arrival of the Gaels we spoke a Welsh like language, and it appears that force of power and commerce brought us to Gaelic. So it is not just English or Scots or Gaelic. More accurate would be English or Gaelic or Cwmraig. As for Scots, I don’t know why anybody wants to make an English dialect into a language. As for the maps, Ok so you really need to know the meaning of place names. Tell you what, so does everybody, everywhere. There are place names in England which are also Gaelic origin, but that does not mean the English ever had it as a language. Now for the meat in this sandwich, I have the unique honor to be Irish Scot from the O’NIell wars with the English, my ancestors going over to help the Irish. So I am today a victim of the Gaelgore ( we call them Gaelbores ) attempts to revive Gaelic in Ireland. To be honest I can’t stand these idiots for more time than it takes me to get away from them. And their attempts via their folk music society, Comhaltas Ceoltori Eireann, or CCE to make people all over the world speak Gaelic, is insane. CCE ran by a society Global Gombeens has created in Ireland a new name for this CCE, Cult-Ass. That is the Irish themselves taking the piss out of the Gaelbores. ‘Tis a lesson Scotland should take seriously!

    • weegingerdug says:

      The P-Celtic languages of Scotland were Cumbric and Pictish. Neither survives except as a handful of place and personal names. They are fossil languages which are attested by a few scraps. Not enough of either survives for them to be usable as modern languages. For that reason they cannot be considered as national languages of Scotland.

      Please don’t leap to conclusions about my knowledge of Scottish languages. I know vastly more than you do.

      And if you’re bored by all this Gaelic stuff, although not bored enough to spare us your hauf-airsed opinions, then why don’t you just take a leaf out of your own English language book and piss off.

      • donald anderson says:

        Scots or Irish is Q Gaelic. As you have already stated, P Gaelic belonged to the Brythons, Cruithne and Welsh. The Cruithne (Picts) were and earlier Celtic migration, mixed with Iron age peoples.

    • Marconatrix says:

      Sure, ´tis a terrible thing all that folkie music, there should be a law agin it. You could start by banning the bagpipes … or there again, mebbe banning windbags the likes o’ yoursel?

    • Chang Sha says:


      “So I am today a victim of the Gaelgore ( we call them Gaelbores ) attempts to revive Gaelic in Ireland. To be honest I can’t stand these idiots for more time than it takes me to get away from them. And their attempts via their folk music society, Comhaltas Ceoltori Eireann, or CCE to make people all over the world speak Gaelic, is insane. CCE ran by a society Global Gombeens has created in Ireland a new name for this CCE, Cult-Ass. That is the Irish themselves taking the piss out of the Gaelbores. ‘Tis a lesson Scotland should take seriously!”

      This I’m afraid is utter rubbish. In all my 66 years living in Ireland, I’ve never heard such sentiments. Which suggests DINAELIKEYONBABBLE lives in Norn Iron & is of an Orange persuasion; wishing he/she was British & despising all things Irish.

    • Those of us who are qualified in such matters are well aware of the division of the “Celtic” group of Indo-European languages into P-Celtic and Q-Celtic. We are also aware that Scots is not a dialect of English, but a closely related language.

  88. broadbield says:

    Brilliant project. As I understand it Celtic languages were indeed spoken throughout virtually all of Scotland. As immigrants (cover your ears Farage, Johnson & co) came north, like Vikings, Normans, middle-English speakers from England and so on, the Celtic speakers retreated (perhaps not literally) to the North and West. The lingua franca usually follows the successful warlord so whatever tongue was spoken by the dominant regime became the prestige language. There was surely a definite change in kind after the ’45 when it was UK government policy to extirpate the Clan system, Gaelic and so on. The dominant Anglo-Scottish Establishment pursued the anglicisation of many aspects of Scottish life.

    We also see this in the “stolen continents” of the Americas and Australasia. The indigenous peoples either extirpated or corralled into miserable remnants of lands which were once theirs, their culture usurped, their way of life destroyed, their sense of identity and respect erased, their children stolen and indoctrinated into the European ways, their language annihilated and their maps re-drawn and re-labelled. Plus ca change.

  89. Marconatrix says:

    Long, long, long … overdue! Obair mhath gu dearbh, A Chù Ruadh Bheag 🙂

  90. Tinto Chiel says:

    Nice to see so many Welsh folk taking an interest in Paul’s Gaelic Magnum Opus.

    So I give you two Old Welsh “fossils”: Partick, perthig/og “little wood” and Govan, go vann “little hill”, probably the mound in Govan Old Parish churchyard.

  91. Anne says:

    Never seen so many comments before.Is this a record ? I bet the reader of the audio version is thankful they don’t have to read those too.

  92. liz g says:

    Paul don’t know if you would be interested.
    But there is an evening being arranged in Stirring Castle at the end of November, tribute to Huge Lawrie the piper who wrote The Battle Of the Somme.
    This event will be attended by a lot of members of the Gaelic Community and will feature song’s and stories drawn from Gaelic culture.
    On the 29th if I remember correctly.
    The information is on the Castles website.

  93. […] Yet because Mr Kavanagh is a Scottish Nationalist who just happens to be one of the most prominent advocates for our national languages, he was the subject of much criticism by the usual suspects within hours: […]

  94. Gavin.C.Barrie says:

    Just look what you’ve done Paul, initiated an outpouring of interest in Scots and Gaelic culture. Memories jostled etc etc. Some great contributions.

    Gaelic singing and music does it for me, I just love it.

  95. Idheach says:

    Hi Paul I am first generation non gaelic speaking,there must be quite a few more like me out there! Gaelic was for songs and for english speakers to laugh at when I was a child. “You won’t get anywhere in this world speaking Gaelic” so for the kindest of reasons I and others, I guess- had, had our heritage and over 1000 years of language. Sometimes I feel like the dodo’s ghost. So thankyou for your maps-I’ll be saving.

    • donald anderson says:

      Unfortunately Gaelic speakers are self policing their children by not passing on the beautiful tongue, something precious we cannot affords to lose.

  96. Would love to be able to learn the Gaelic. Precious little opportunity in my current ‘hood though! 😆

  97. bedelsten says:

    Ah! Yes. Maps. Although for map geeks, navigators, road warriors, hill walkers, ramblers and many others, maps are a thing of technical necessity and beauty, ultimately, maps are a political tool. Which is one reason why some get mightily upset when someone does the unexpected with a map. Printing the map of Australia with the south at the top, showing the distribution of infection and drinking water, labelling features in a different language – can cause outrage.

    A minor diversion…
    Rhodes in Greece is significantly dependent on tourism and the locals accommodate the tourists by using Roman text, putting signs up in English, announcements of the ferry are also in English and, generally, speaking English – the default for visitors; Swedes, Germans, Poles, Latvians, Irish, Flemish, Americans, Dutch etc., is English. And the maps are available in English. Which means native English speakers can become terribly complacent about having to even attempt a little Greek.

    Which is possibly why complacent little Englanders get upset when they see a map of part of the UK not labelled in English. Little Englanders will also get upset when an independent Scotland sells tatties and neeps by the kilo, sells beer in metric quantities, changes the signposts to Kilometres and starts to drive on the right – though, initially, this will only apply to HGVs and buses.

    • donald anderson says:

      English cartographers from the 16thc onwards used to call the map of Britain,England. Hence the “confusion” today.

  98. Larissa says:

    My good Scotish friend told me about your blog and I’m really fascinated by your work 🙂 Keep going and please don’t stop 😀
    Greetings from a German fan 😀

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