Grandfather Mountain 2016 – Retrospective.

GfM 2016 Instructors

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

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


Our second instructor for the Grandfather Mountain Gaelic Song and Language Week, 2016 (July 3 – 8, 2016), was Joanne MacIntyre.

Photo Credit: Ryan MacDonald
Joanne MacIntyre – Photo Credit: Ryan MacDonald

Joanne hails from Mabou Coal Mines, Inverness County, where she was raised in the rich culture of Gaelic language, music, and dance. Since her teen years in Cape Breton, she has appeared on stages throughout the island. For a number of years, Joanne performed regularily as a Gaelic singer, step dancer, and story interpreter at the An Clachan Gàidhealach / Nova Scotia Highland Village. Currently teaching Gaelic language and Gaelic Studies at Dalbrae Academy in Mabou, Joanne is sharing her knowledge and passion for the culture and language with the next generation. She continually studies and adds Cape Breton and Inverness County Gaelic songs to her repertoire.

Joanne received the 2012 Big Sampie Award, a recording studio sponsorship given to young, up-and-coming traditional musicians for their first recording. She released her debut album, Craobh a’ Mhathain, during Celtic Colours 2013. You are sure to enjoy Joanne’s beautiful singing and her expert language instruction during the Gaelic Song and Language Week.

You can listen to Joanne singing O ’s àlainn an t-àite

as well as  promoting  Gaelic and Nova Scotia Tourism:

We were very happy  to have Joanne join us for the 2016 Grandfather Mountain Gaelic Song and Language Week.


Our third teacher for the 2016 Grandfather Mountain Gaelic Song and Language Week was Màiri Macinnes!

Màiri Macinnes

Màiri is one of the most accomplished singers performing in the Gaelic language in Scotland today.

The beauty and purity of her voice has made her compelling listening for those interested in Gaelic music. She has also become a regular fixture on Gaelic television and radio, with her songs and personality entertaining in equal measure. Career highlights have included entertaining his Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, at Holyrood Palace, and performing as a soloist at the world famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Màiri was born in Baghasdail A Tuath, a small township on the beautiful and remote Hebridean island of South Uist. Gaelic was spoken exclusively at the home she shared with six siblings and it was not until Màiri went to school that she learned English. Her love for Gaelic is instinctive and enduring; her desire to share the beauty of her mother tongue has been a theme throughout her career.

Màiri’s latest album Gràs (Grace) was released in January 2015 to rave reviews. Resonating with deeply felt emotion, it tells the story of the past 10 years in beautiful, haunting, but ultimately uplifting phrases.

Beyond her musical career, Màiri is interested in the origins of Gaelic song and its historical content. Màiri loves meeting people and hearing and learning ever more about the human voice. But music remains her lifelong love and she has dedicated her career to the promotion of Gaelic music and culture throughout Scotland and beyond.

Visit Màiri’s website:

See and hear her on YouTube: Scottish Country Dance with Puirt

Subscribe to Màiri’s YouTube Channel:

We were very happy to have Màiri join us for the 2016 Grandfather Mountain Gaelic Song and Language Week.