The Gaelic Society of Inverness was established in 1871 for the specific purpose of “cultivating the language, poetry and music of the Scottish Highlands and generally furthering the interests of the Gaelic-speaking people”. It has continued this work for over 140 years.

Whilst the majority of members are in the north of Scotland, it has members all over the world including Europe, North America, Japan and Australia.


Central to the Society is a series of between eight and ten meetings, held in each winter in Inverness, at which invited speakers present papers to the Society. Every two years or so a selection of these papers is published in book form in the Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness.

So far 67 Volumes have been published and the Transactions now form an invaluable source of information regarding Gaelic and related subjects. All members of the Society receive the Transactions free of charge. The next Volume (number 68) is to be published in the summer of 2018.

Much detail of the Society’s activities is contained in the centenary “History of the Gaelic Society 1871–1971” written by Mairi A. Macdonald.

The Society has, since 1926, held an annual Culloden Anniversary Service each April on the Saturday nearest to the actual date of the battle. This is held at the Cairn and all those those who wish to remember the fallen at Culloden are welcome to attend the Service, which is conducted in Gaelic.

Since it began the Society has been active in supporting Gaelic in many ways, including:

  • Campaigning in the 1870s for the Chair of Celtic at the University of Edinburgh — the first such chair in Scotland;
  • Proposing the appointment of a commission to investigate the appalling conditions in the crofting districts of the Highlands and Islands. The Napier Commission report was to result eventually in the Crofter’s Act of 1886, the cornerstone of the modern crofting system;
  • Close involvement in the first Gaelic question in the 1881 Census and the Education Act of 1918, the first time provision was made for the teaching of Gaelic;
  • More recently, supporting the establishment of a Gaelic Language Board and providing financial assistance for Faclair na Pàrlamaid (Parliamentary Dictionary of Terms) published in May 2001.

Chief of the Society   

Ms Jo MacDonald

      (April 2017 – April 2018)

      (April 2017 – April 2018)


  • Mr. Hugh Barron, MBE, MUniv. (Aberdeen)
  • Mr. Roderick Balfour, TD, MA, Mlitt, LLB, FSA (Scot)
  • Mr. Roderick MacCrimmon, MA
  • Mrs. Anne Souter
  • Mrs. Janet B. MacGregor, MA
  • Mr. Allan Campbell
  • Dr. Donald John Macleod, PhD
  • Mr. Iain MacIllechiar, MA
  • Mr. John Macleod
  • Mr. Murdo Campbell (Chairman)
  • Miss Alice Macdonald (Secretary)
  • Mr. Donald N. Macleod (Treasurer)