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East Church Courtesy Of Calum Maclean Of MAAC Studio Resized

Inverness church set to be transformed into a Gaelic centre

Published: 09/11/2023

The historic East Church in Inverness, which is to be taken over by a charity to transform it into a major Gaelic culture centre, is being supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

HIE awarded Cultarlann Inbhir Nis £176,800 towards the cost of purchasing the Academy Street building. The charity has reached an agreement in principle with the Church of Scotland to buy it.

The category B listed church has a long association with Gaelic since it was constructed in 1798 and it was later extended in the 19th century.

With the Gaelic language at its core, Cultarlann’s ambition is that the centre will be used as a gathering place to showcase, celebrate and strengthen Gaelic and its culture. It will have a space where everyone with an interest in the language and its culture either from the local community or further away can come together to learn, to meet with friends and to take part in a wide range of activities.

Plans include a culture-themed café with Gaelic-speaking staff and a shop selling Gaelic merchandise. There will also be an exhibition promoting the language, meeting rooms for learning and cultural activities and a venue for ceilidhs, concerts and other events.

Chair of Cultarlann, Maggie Mulholland, said that the news of the recent purchase was incredible for Gaelic language and culture in Inverness.

She said: “We are extremely grateful to the 600 individuals who contributed to our crowdfunder campaigns as well as the hundreds of others who contributed in various ways to all our activities and fundraising campaign. We are privileged to have been given the opportunity by the Church of Scotland and the East Church congregation to become custodians of this beautiful and historic building for the benefit of future generations.”

“We are delighted with the funding from HIE. Their support clearly demonstrates the valuable social and economic contribution that Gaelic language and culture makes to Inverness and the Highlands.”

The project is also being supported by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Inverness Common Good Fund, the Architectural Heritage Fund and Enterprise Scotland.

James Turner, head of strengthening communities at HIE’s Inner Moray Firth team, said: “Gaelic is an important part of cultural, economic and social life in the Highlands and Islands so this is great news for Gaelic speakers and learners in Inverness as well as for visitors to the city.

“The Gaelic cultural centre will provide a space where Gaelic speakers and learners of all ages can meet, enjoy, celebrate and showcase every aspect of the language and culture, offering an authentic experience. We’re really pleased to support this project and we look forward to working with Cultarlann as it develops it.”

Eaglais ann an Inbhir Nis ri a cruth-atharrachadh mar ionad cànain is cultair don Ghàidhlig

Tha Eaglais eachdraidheil an Ear ann an Inbhir Nis, a tha gu bhith air a gabhail thairis le carthannas gus a cruth-atharrachadh gu prìomh ionad do chultar na Gàidhlig, a’ faotainn taic bho Iomairt na Gàidhealtachd ’s nan Eilean (HIE).

Bhuilich HIE £176,800 air Cultarlann Inbhir Nis a dh’ionnsaigh a’ chosgais an lùib an togalaich a cheannach. Tha an carthannas air a thighinn gu aonta ann am prionnsapal le Eaglais na h-Alba airson an togalach air Sràid Acadamaidh a cheannach.

Tha co-cheangal fada air a bhith aig an eaglais, a tha air a liostadh aig ìre B, le Gàidhlig on a chaidh a togail ann an 1798 agus a chaidh a leudachadh nas fhaide air adhart anns an 19mh linn.

Le cànan na Gàidhlig aig a theis meadhain, is e àrd-amas a’ Chultarlainn gum bi an t-ionad air a chleachdadh mar àite cruinneachaidh airson cànan is cultar na Gàidhlig a mhòr-thaisbeanadh, a chomharrachadh agus a neartachadh. Bidh farsaingeachd ann far am faod gach neach le ùidh sa chànan agus sa chultar, bhon choimhearsnachd ionadail no nas fhaide air falbh, a thighinn còmhla a dh’ionnsachadh, a choinneachadh ri caraidean agus com-pàirt a ghabhail ann an raon farsaing de ghnìomhachdan.

Tha na planaichean air a shon a’ gabhail a-steach cafaidh le cuspair cultarach, còmhla ri luchd-obrach le Gàidhlig agus bùth a’ reic bathar Gàidhlig. Bidh taisbeanadh an làthair cuideachd ag adhartachadh a’ chànain, seòmraichean airson gnìomhachdan ionnsachaidh is cultarach agus ionad-cruinneachaidh far am bi cèilidhean, cuirmean-ciùil agus tachartasan eile.

Thuirt Magaidh Mulholland, Cathraiche a’ Chultarlainn, gun robh an deagh naidheachd mun cheannach an t-seachdain-sa dìreach do-chreidsinneach a thaobh cànan is cultar na Gàidhlig ann an Inbhir Nis.

Thuirt i: “Tha sinn gu mòr an comain nan 600 neach fa leth a chuir ri ar n-iomairtean sluagh-mhaoin a thuilleadh air na ceudan eile a chuir ri ar gnìomhachdan uile ann an diofar dhòighean. Tha sinn dha-rìribh sochaireach an cothrom fhaotainn bho Eaglais na h-Alba agus bho choitheanal na h-Eaglaise an Ear, a bhith nar luchd-gleidhidh air an togalach àlainn agus eachdraidheil seo gu buannachd nan ginealaichean ri teachd.

“Tha sinn air leth toilichte leis a’ mhaoineachadh bho HIE. Tha an cuid taic gu soilleir a’ taisbeanadh an tabhartais luachmhoir shòisealta is eaconamach a tha a’ Ghàidhlig agus a cultar a’ cur ri Inbhir Nis agus ris a’ Ghàidhealtachd.”

Tha am pròiseact a’ faotainn taic cuideachd bho Bhòrd na Gàidhlig, Maoin Math Coitcheann Inbhir Nis, Maoin Dualchais Ailtireachd agus Iomairt na h-Alba.

Thuirt Seumas Mac an Tuairneir, ceannard sgioba neartachaidh choimhearsnachdan aig Linne Mhoireibh A-staigh HIE: “Tha a’ Ghàidhlig na pàirt chudromach den bheatha chultarach, eaconamach is sòisealta anns a’ Ghàidhealtachd ’s na h-Eileanan, agus mar sin tha seo na fhìor dheagh naidheachd do luchd-labhairt agus luchd-ionnsachaidh na Gàidhlig ann an Inbhir Nis a thuilleadh air luchd-tadhail don bhaile-mhòr againn.

“Bheir an t-ionad cultarach Gàidhlig seo cothrom air àite far am faod luchd-labhairt agus luchd-ionnsachaidh na Gàidhlig de gach aois coinneachadh agus tlachd a ghabhail às, agus gach taobh den chànan ’s a cultar a chomharrachadh is a thaisbeanadh, a’ tabhann fèin-eòlas ùghdarrail dhaibh. Tha sinn fìor thoilichte taic a chur ris a’ phròiseact seo agus tha sinn a’ coimhead air adhart ri bhith ag obair leis a’ Chultarlann mar a bhios e ga leasachadh.”