Alasdair MacColla and Scotland’s Forgotten Gaelic History

Colin S MacDonald

HWAs a nation, Scotland projects a particular image of itself out into the world. It’s an image that tells of a nation steeped in history, of a ‘proud people’ who are intimately connected to their culture and heritage. Yet the irony is that although our nation defines itself with tartan, bagpipes and clans, we remain painfully ignorant of our Gaelic heritage and the people that actually gave Scotland these markers of national identity.

This ignorance has meant that we’ve come to believe a simplified, almost cartoonish, version of our own history. Scotland’s Gaelic history is complex, serious and fundamental to understanding Scotland itself, but we have replaced it with a series of caricatures and more often than not we are prone to dismissing it as the periphery, something kitsch, overly romanticised and ultimately not really worth taking seriously. We rarely have the privilege of viewing Scottish history from the perspective of the Gael, and they are instead relegated to a kind of ‘bit player’ in someone else’s story.

The idea that Scotland…

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