Posted by liam on July 6th, 2005
Here you will find an archive of all our podcasts from 2005 through 2008.

Podcraolaidhean / Podcasts

  • Program 35: The election is over! Taing do Dhia! But what does it all mean? Liam and Micheal discuss several topics, including what Barack Obama has in store for him, what his win means for the States, and why no member of the Gaelcast team will probably ever make it as President.
  • Program 34: With the 2008 U.S. elections drawing close, we meet Micheal Bochanan, a BBC reporter and former Washington correspondent, for a discussion about how the Scots and Europeans view the American elections and presidential candidates. Why are they important to Scotland, in particular?
  • Program 33: We’re back after a long absence with new programs and new ideas. For one, watch our web site for videos such as our interview with Gillebride MacMillan. In this episode of Gaelcast, Liam and Micheal discuss — what else — politics. U.S. politics to be precise, focusing on the presidential race. After that, we’ll go to the home of our first president, George Washington, along with Liam and Paul McCallum of South Uist. Paul was in Washington for the U.S. National Mòd, where he was the adjudicator, and he spent a day with Liam in Alexandria and Mount Vernon, Virginia.
  • Beag is Beag! 4: In this short program, Micheal discusses the latest news in the debate over illegal immigrants in the United States: efforts by local towns and counties across the country to limit or bar access to public services to illegal aliens. Micheal lives near one such jurisdiction, Prince William County in Virginia, and he outlines the controversy surrounding its attempts to curb what the county claims is a growing illegal population. Is it right for states and local governments to deny public services to illegals? What’s your opinion? This is an issue that echoes around the world, as migration, both legal and illegal, intensifies.
  • Beag is Beag! 3: The third in a new series of short programs that complement Gaelcast. In this program, Liam reviews a new Scottish Gaelic film from Cape Breton, “Faire Chaluim Mhic Leòid.” The film is only about eight minutes long, but it packs more story into those eight minutes than many much longer movies. He also discusses the message about the importance of stories and storytellilng at the heart of the film.
  • Program 32: Music from The Urban Surf Kings! Gaelic education in Cape Breton, in an interview with Bernie Cameron and Margie Beaton. Then, the third and final part of our interview with Dorothy Pottie. She tells us about one of her life-long hobbies: apple growing. We’ll learn why cattle and sheep were so important to the health of orchards. And would you expect coyotes in Cape Breton?
  • Beag is Beag! 2: The next in a new series of short programs that complement Gaelcast. In this program, Mike talks about global warming, and our willingness to carry on as usual despite the connections of global warming to our use of gasoline, and despite the increasing costs of driving.
  • Program 31: In the first portion of this program, Micheal and Liam discuss the mass murder at Virginia Tech and its aftermath. We then interview Cùchulainn — actually Andrew Porter, who plays the Gaelic hero in “Cuchulain: The Hound of Ulster,” a contemporary retelling of the Celtic saga for children created by theater company Cahoots NI of Belfast. And we return to Cape Breton for the second part of our interview with Dorothy Pottie of Glendale and River Denys Mountain.
  • Beag is Beag! 1: The first of a new series of short programs that complement Gaelcast. In this program we go air splaoid (on an adventure) with Raonaid Alcorn of Cànan, the company famous among Gaelic learners for creating the TV-based educational series “Speaking Our Language.” Cànan has a new Internet-based Gaelic program for beginners, “Air Splaoid!”, that mixes animation and interactive storytelling. Raonaid will tell us about the program and what Cànan is doing to promote Gaelic in schools and at fèisean throughout Scotland.
  • Program 30:We attend a Scottish Gaelic weekend in southern Virginia where we meet Fiona NicCoinnich, a Gaelic singer from Dingwall, Scotland, and Goiridh Domhnallach, a Gaelic teacher from Cape Breton. Then we return to Cape Breton for the first part of a three-part interview with Dorothy Pottie, a native Gaelic speaker from River Denys Mountain now living in Glendale.
  • Program 29:This program focuses on news, both the kind of “naidheachd” you get from the Internet, radio, television or even – gasp – a newspaper, and the kind of “naidheachd” you might hear from a neighbor. Of course, in Gaelic “naidheachd” also means a story or tale, and we have a traditional folk tale for you from our friend Glenn Wrightson of Colorado.
  • Program 28:This program featurea an interview with Rudy Ramsey of Colorado, who discusses a little known chapter in the history of Gaelic: the establishment of a Gaelic-medium school in early 19th century Mississippi. That’s right, Mississippi. Mike interviews Gaelic teacher and shinty fanatic Somhairle Domhnallach, formerly of the Isle of Skye and now living in Toronto. And we hear new music from the duo Steaphan MacRisnidh and Scott Coineagan, also available at
  • Program 27: This time around, we talk about the debate and agitation of the November elections before heading to Nova Scotia, where Liam spoke with Professor Kenneth Nilsen about the Gaelic and Celtic Studies programs at Saint Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, including the new online library, Gaelstream. Then Micheal speaks with Gaelic educator Catrìona Parsons, who teaches at St. FX, about her youth in Lewis and Scotland.
  • Program 26 (2006/11/05): We speak with two people who are very interesting and quite famous in the Gaelic world. First, Kenna Chaimbeul, the famous singer from the Isle of Skye, about raising children with Gaelic, and about music and singing. Next, we speak with Seumas Watson of Nova Scotia’s Highland Village museum about “Cainnt mo Mhàthair” (My Mother’s Language), a program that’s trying to capture the sounds and expressions of Gaelic as it’s spoken in Cape Breton, to show how Gaelic is and was on the island and to help educate a new generation of Gaelic speakers there. Also – the first Gaelcast quiz!
  • Program 25 (2006/09/25): Our first program of the “Gaelcast year”. News, discussion about what we’re thinking of for Gaelcast in the coming year, and a report from the Mod in Ligonier, Pa. We welcome Beathag Mhoireasdan and Fiona NicCoinnich as guests, and we get to hear a selection of the people who sang at the Mod. Tune in and see what we’re going to do this year, and how your voice can be heard on the prorgam!
  • Program 24 (2006/08/28): Gaelcast celebrates its first anniversary with this, our 24th program. We’ll look back at the past year, discuss the origins of Gaelcast, and play some choice excerpts from interviews with the more than 40 guests we’ve welcomed this year. Among them, Coinneach MacIomhair, Iseabail Nic an t-Sagairt, Calum Fearghasdan, Bill Reese, Màiri Sìne Chaimbeul, Gillebride MacIlleMhaoil, Mona Striewe (NicLeòid), Ruairidh MacIlleathain, Anne Landin and Beth Benedetto. Our thanks to all our guests over the past year!
  • Program 23 (2006/08/07): Liam interviews Professor Michael Newton about his latest book – a children’s activity book dealing with Gaelic culture in the Highlands and Carolina in the 18th century – and the role Scottish Gaels played in the American Revolution. Micheal interviews Na Maragan – that’s our own Liam and Ed – about their own unique mix of Scottish Gaelic, Irish and original music. And we prepare for Gaelcast 24 – our anniversary program!
  • Program 22 (2006/06/26): Liam and Micheal discuss the storms that struck the East Coast of the States a few weeks back, and the troubles they caused for many people here. Even Ed got stuck in the floods! Next, Liam speaks with Lois Kuter, president of the U.S. Branch of the International Committee for the Defense of the Breton Language, about efforts under way in Brittany and elsewhere to keep Breton alive. Some of the issues she raises should sound familiar to Gaelcast listeners. Then, we go to Ohio where Micheal met with Donnie Murdo MacLeòid, who was there as the adjudicator for Mòd nan Lochan Mòra or the Great Lakes Mòd. Donnie speaks about growing up in the city, how he was raised with music about him all the time, and how he began singing.
  • Program 21 (2006/06/26): Liam attends the Potomac Celtic Festival in Leesburg, Va., to explore just what makes a Celtic festival Celtic in the United States. This festival is considerably more Celtic than others: The Potomac Celtic Festival features musical performers and dancers from most of the Celtic nations and even further afield, local bands playing traditional Celtic music and more contemporary fare, and — significantly — Celtic language classes and booths representing Celtic associations and Clan societies. To give us a good cross-section of the festival, Liam interviews Irish-language teacher Beth Beneddetto; leader of the Scottish Gaelic music group Mac-Talla Joan McWilliams Weiss; Bill Reese of the Welsh-American band Moch Pryderi; Albert Jenkin of the Cornish American Historical Society; and festival goers Kevin Deasy and Gaelic learner Kate MacGregor. He also gives us a taste of The Infamous Welsh Cookie Co. Music from Moch Pryderi, based in Fredricksburg, Va., is featured throughout the program.
  • Program 20 (2006/06/05): A special program looking at the controversial issues surrounding immigration — illegal and legal — in the United States and around the globe. Muriel Fisher of Skye and Tucson, Arizona, tells us what the situation is like on the U.S. border with Mexico. We look at the different approaches to the issue favored by the House of Representatives and Senate.
  • Program 19 (2006/05/22): The long days of summer are almost upon us, and we explore some upcoming events. A mòd in Ohio, a fèis in Seattle and an immersion week in North Carolina, as well as events in Scotland and Cape Breton. What songs will Michael be singing at the Great Lakes Mòd ? What will Liam be doing there? Listen and find out! Also, we take a brief look at some topics in the news — a “National Day of Service” organized by some companies in the United States and the troubles facing the Republican party (and Democrats) in the U.S. Congress.
  • Program 18 (2006/05/08): Liam went to New Orleans and the surrounding communities along the U.S. Gulf Coast in late April, and he saw the houses, streets and the general environment where hurricane Katrina landed last year. We talk about what he saw, why so little has been done eight months after the storm, and how long it’s expected to take before the area gets restored. We next turn to Scotland for Ruairidh MacIlleathain and news about Litir do Luchd Ionnsachaidh. A book has just come out with two hundred letters and a DVD that has the letters and sound files. How do people use the letters? And will we get another 200 when the program reaches the 400 mark?
  • Program 17 (2006/04/24): It’s back to school for Gaelcast after the Easter holiday. Two new Gaelic-related books for school-age children will be launched shortly, both from North America. One is an “activity book” for children (and parents) interested in Scottish Gaelic heritage, while the other is a Gaelic-medium workbook for children learning the language. Trueman Matheson of Sìol Enterprises is publishing the workbook, originally written for his own children. We’ll talk with Trueman about the challenges involved in in early child education and raising bilingual children. An t-ionnsachadh òg, an t-ionnsachadh bòidheach. Also, Liam and Mike spend some time talking about Spring, gardens, and something that is somewhat controvertial over here for the past month – immigration. What is the government doing to deal with those who live in the States without permission, illegally, and what might happen to them in the future?
  • Program 16 (2006/04/04): “Tha buaidh air an uisge bheatha” – whisky’s got great power or sway, as the song says – how strongly does it influence Liam? We’ll find out as he attends a whisky tasting marking the launch of two new blends of Famous Grouse in the United States. But beforehand, we’ll talk with Gaelic singer, actress and educator Beathag Mhoireasdan. Slàinte mhath!
  • Program 15 (2006/03/27): This program focuses on the efforts of Anne (Annag) Landin to collect and preserve Gaelic songs in Nova Scotia. For the past few years, Anne has been collecting old reel-to-reel tapes and cassette tapes of Gaelic singers and storytellers from contributors throughout Cape Breton and digitizing them. She now has more than a thousand hours of material, and she’s preparing to publish a book/CD, “Guthan Prìseil (Precious Voices)” with 20 songs, including several rare and humerous local songs and a few songs handed down through the generations from Scotland. We’ll hear from some of the singers on “Guthan Prìseil” in this program: the late Annie MacLean of Rear Christmas Island, Mary Margaret MacLean of Whycocomagh and Hugh MacKenzie of Christmas Island.
  • Program 14 (2006/03/06): In this program (which has been delayed because of technical problems), we’ll look at how Gaelic “immersion” weekends are organized and how you can start one. We’ll talk with Kate Herr of Midlothian, Va., director of the Scottish Gaelic Enthusiasts in Richmond, or SGEIR, which held a Gaelic-language weekend near Richmond, Va., March 3-5. We’ll briefly discuss some good news from Nova Scotia, where new Premier Rodney MacDonald appointed Angus MacIsaac, MLA from Antigonish, as Nova Scotia’s first Minister for Gaelic Initiatives. Then we’ll speed back across the sea to spend some time visiting with author and broadcaster Calum Ferguson at his home on Lewis.
  • Program 13 (2006/02/20): We look at an item out of the news this time, discussing the trouble and debate that arose from Dick Cheney’s hunting accident from a little while ago. Who was at fault? Was it handled correctly by Cheney or the White house? Listen in to see what our viewpoint is – and let us know what you think! We then travel to Gernmany and talk to Michael Klevenhaus and Mona Striewe NicLeoid to find out about a large group of Gaelic enthusiasts who live there, and travel to Scotland as often as they can to teach, learn and…what else? We also fill you in on the events coming up in the spring and early summer this year – start making your travel plans!
  • Program 12 (2006/02/05): How big is your collection of old Gaelic books? Is it your goal to amass a huge pile of books that would be the envy of your friends and Gaelic-speaking associates? You can listen to the grand master of book collectors in our next program — Domhnall MacCormaig — who recently sold a massive collection of books to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. You might even find a few tips about how to build your collection. We then talk about Tobair an Dualchais, a project aimed at making 18,000 hours of recordings in Gaelic, Scots and English available over the Internet, with Martainn Mac an t-Saoir. He’ll tell us what it’s all about, discuss recent changes to the effort, and tell us when we might start seeing some of the work come to fruition. If you like to listen to Gaelic rather than read it, this is one bit of news you’ll welcome!
  • Program 11 (2006/01/23): Poetry plays a large role in Gaelic culture, larger in many ways than it does in many other cultures today. In this program, Gaelcast interviews Skye bàrd Aonghus Dubh MacNeacail and discusses Gaelic poetry in Scotland and abroad. We also talk with South Uist Gaelic singer Pòl McCallum and finish, appropriately, with his rendition of “Taigh a’ Bhàird” by South Uibhist poet Dòmhnaill Iain MacDhòmhnaill.
  • Program 10 (2006/01/09): We’re talking about books this time on Gaelcast, and about Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig and the excellent work that they are doing to make new books. We talk to Donald John MacRitchie about how the Stòrlann works, the kinds of books that can be gotten from it, and how to contact them. If you like books, it’s the place. Then, we look at a new book that came out at the time of the Mòd, about expressions and oral traditions, called, of course, Seanfhacail is Seanachas. We talk to Iain MacIlleathain agus Maletta NicPhàil about what they had in mind when writing the book, and how they got the interesting and rich material that is in the book. It’s worth listening to, and it’s a book worth reading!
  • Program 9 (2005/12/26): This is our chance to wish you a Nollaig Chridheil (Merry Christmas) and Bliadhna Mhath Ùr (Happy New Year). We’ll get in stride with Alexandria, Virginia’s “Scottish Christmas Walk,” an annual tradition that attracts dozens of pipe bands and thousands of spectators. We’ll talk about Christmas traditions in North America, Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man — including “hunting the wren” on Dec. 26 — and Oidhche Challainn, Hogmanay or New Year’s Eve. We’ll compare Christmas lists, and we’ll hear some appropriate music of the season.
  • Program 8 (2005/12/12): We talk with Alan MacColla of Lochaber about a piping festival and the Pan-Celtic Festival that will be held in Letterkenny, Ireland, next year. MacColla has been the head of the Scottish Committee for the Pan-Celtic Festival for many years. Then we have an interview with Jonathan Dembling of Massachusetts, who discusses how he learned Gàidhlig, the connections he has with Nova Scotia, and what he’s been doing there for many years. You might ask, “Is there a connection between anthropology, Gàidhlig, and Cape Breaton?” Well, you’ll find out when you listen to the second half of our program.
  • Program 7 (11/28/05): The island of Islay is famed for many things, not the least of which is its distinctive single malt whisky. There currently are eight single malts produced on the island. Iseabail Nic an t-Sagairt, operations manager at Morrison Bowmore Distillers, discusses the importance of uisge beatha to the island’s economy and its influence on Islay culture.Slàinte! It’s always pleasant and educational to listen to Calum Ferguson, a man famous in the world of Gaelic broadcasting and books. This time, Calum talks about the Gaelic Society when he was young, about the first time he tried to tell a story on the radio, and how he has seen the world of broadcasting change over the years. Listening to him, and thinking about how far we’ve come from the days when it was not permitted to speak Gaelic in the schools, there’s reason to be hopeful about the state of the language.
  • Program 6 (2005/11/14): Gillebride Mac ‘Ille Mhaoil (MacMillan) was born and raised on South Uist but now lives in Vigo, Spain. That hasn’t stopped him from taking part in the Gaelic Mòd, where he won the men’s Gold Medal in 2004, and in Gaelic-medium education. Trilingual Gillebride currently teaches geography in Gaelic to children in several Gaelic-medium schools via the Internet. He tells us how this came about and discusses how modern technology is expanding the boundaries of the Gaelic world. Mary Ann Kennedy was raised in an environment that perhaps few can imagine today, one that is becoming increasingly rare. She considered it normal to be surrounded by the Gaelic heritage of song and story, and has carried that tradition forward in her work. She talks with us about that upbringing, how it has affected her career, and what she is doing today as host of a popular show on Radio nan Gaidheal, as a member of the very popular group Cliar, and as a partner of the record label MacMeanmna.
  • Program 5 (2005/10/31): A special program for Oidhche Shamhna — Halloween and the Celtic New Year. In honor of the event, we’ll focus on storytelling in Gaelic, with tales in Scottish Gaelic from Micheal, Liam and special guest Neacal Freer. We’ll also hear a story (in English) and song (in Gaelic) from the late Gaelic bàrd Gilleasbuig A. MacCoinnich (Archie Alex MacKenzie) of Christmas Island, Cape Breton.
  • Program 4 (2005/10/17): We look back at the U.S. National Mòd — Mòd Naiseanta Aimeireagaidh — with a program filled with interviews with participants, special guests such as Gillebride Mac ‘IlleMhaoil of South Uist and Iseabail Nic an t-Sagairt of Islay, adjudicator Màiri Sìne Chaimbeul (also featured in our second program) and, of course, performances by competitors and songs from our own Mòd gold medalists, Rudy Ramsey of Denver, Colorado, and Ellen Beard of Arlington, Va.
  • Program 3 (2005/10/03): We return to North Carolina to visit the Grandfather Mountain Gaelic Song Workshop. We meet Dr. Jamie MacDonald, (Seumas Ruairidh Dòmhnallach) who teaches at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, to discuss the origins of the song workshop and the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. We’ll hear from several partipants in the song workshop, including Gaelic singer and workshop instructor Mary Ann Kennedy, before finishing with a song from Rudy Ramsey, gold medalist at the 2005 U.S. National Mòd in Ligonier, Pa.
  • Program 2 (2005/09/19): We start in North Carolina, where Màiri Sìne Chaimbeul, an instructor at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic-medium college on the Isle of Skye, discusses the life of Iain MacMhurchaidh, or John MacRae, a Highland poet who fought on the Loyalist side during the American Revolution. Then we travel to Inverness, Scotland, for an interview with Ruairidh MacIlleathain, BBC broadcaster and creator of the popular Litir do Luchd-Ionnsachaidh series on Radio nan Gaidheal. We wind up with a song composed by MacMhurchaidh sung by Màiri Sìne Chaimbeul.
  • Program 1 (2005/09/05): In our first podcast, we take a look at mòdan — Scottish Gaelic song competitions and music festivals — in the United States. We meet Gaelic singer Flora Nic Nèill at Mòd nan Lochan Mòra, the Great Lakes Mòd in Ohio. In Scotland, Mike Mackay meets with with BBC broadcaster Coinneach MacIomhair to learn more about his long-running Gaelic talk show on Radio nan Gaidheal. We conclude with a song from Tracy Bhochanan at the 2002 U.S. National Mòd in Ligonier, Pa.