1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Scottish Gaelic
  4. >
  5. Where can I get books to read…


Where can I get books to read in Scottish Gaelic?

I don't much care what books they are--fiction, the Bible, poetry--I just want something to read in Gaelic, and I'm having a VERY hard time finding anything anywhere. Is there some source maybe in Scotland or something that I just don't know about?

Thanks!! Maggie Mairead

March 12, 2020



I think Amazon would have some books in Gaelic. Try books that are very popular like Harry Potter, they usually are printed in many different languages.


There's no Gaelic Harry Potter, unfortunately.


Look into Lucky Luke. I found a site that offered Lucky Luke comics translated into Welsh; you could probably also find something like for Scottish Gaelic.

Volgav vitsenanieff nivya kevach varatsach.


You can certainly get the bible in Gaelic.


Well, I've actually done a lot of research on the Bible in Scottish Gaelic--the only copies of the entire Bible (Old and New Testaments) are antique copies for like $600, but there is a copy of just the New Testament and Psalms, that I intend to purchase. I think there are some people who are translating the Old Testament directly from the Hebrew to Gaelic though, which is awesome!


Really? I thought they used them all the time in Gaelic-speaking congregations.


I mean, I guess I could be wrong, but I did do a lot of research...it's possible that they just have source to purchase them from that I don't have... If so--I want to know where they get them, haha! But I think part of it is that anyone who speaks Gaelic, also speaks English, so I think maybe they just use the English Bible...? I dunno. But if you find out more about that I'd love to hear about it!!


Wow thanks, that's fascinating. It's absolutely true that the bible being in English has been and probably still is one of the main suppressors of Scots.


Wow, thanks! Can't wait to read it!


It was not always thus. There were still monoglot Gaelic speakers in the country when I was a little girl, and there were many in the 19th century.

The services are in Gaelic including the bible readings. And the bible is translated into so many languages (a cousin of mine spent a large part of her career learning the languages of remote Amazonian tribes, codifying them into written form and then translating at least part of the bible into these languages) that I'd be extremely surprised if the bible wasn't readily available in Gaelic. But from what you say I should probably prepare myself to be extremely surprised.


Haha--well I hope it is I who will be surprised. I would be absolutely thrilled if I could find a complete Bible in Scottish Gaelic.


All major cities, most smaller cities and some towns throughout Scotland. Certainly on Skye and the Outer Hebrides. Libraries. Scottish societies and associations all over the world D


I bought these two anthologies of Gaelic verse several years ago: - An Lasair (The Flame): An Anthology of Eighteenth-century Gaelic Verse: - Caran An-t-saoghail (The Wiles of the World): An Anthology of Nineteenth-century Gaelic Verse

At the time I didn't speak a single word of Gaelic. But since the right page provides a translation of the left page, it is still possible to read the poems even if you don't speak Gaelic. However, I don't know how useful they'll be for Gaelic novices such as ourselves (given they are 18th and 19th century poems).

To be honest I had quite forgotten I had these two volumes until I saw this post. So I'll probably give them another read soon.

Amazon links - for convenience, I'm not sponsored or anything ;)

An Lasair (The Flame): https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lasair-Flame-Anthology-Eighteenth-century-Gaelic/dp/1912476770/ref=pd_sim_14_1/260-3745472-9774712?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=1912476770&pd_rd_r=7ab634f5-5eb3-4957-816b-2db2f779914e&pd_rd_w=x8ZEx&pd_rd_wg=h37MQ&pf_rd_p=2fd67464-3829-4391-8747-f4fac7516a6d&pf_rd_r=58CH6P3QNVM5JDZXGX5A&psc=1&refRID=58CH6P3QNVM5JDZXGX5A

Caran An-t-saoghail (The Wiles of the World): https://www.amazon.co.uk/Caran-t-saoghail-Wiles-World-Nineteenth-century/dp/1912476800/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Caran+An-t-saoghail&qid=1584010878&s=books&sr=1-1

[deactivated user]

    Halò, If you're interseted in novels, Ròna by Jason Bond is a gem. Written for learners. There's also Eachdraidh Ealasaid ann an Tìr nan Iongantas, Alice in Wonderland. It's a bit (a lot!) more challenging than Ròna. Also, Bradan Press is putting out Anna Ruadh (Anne of Green Gables) very soon.


    Thank you so much!! That sounds lovely!

    Moran taing, a charaid!


    You could start with The Gaelic Books Council. They have all kinds of books from Children's books to Poetry, and both Fiction and Nonfiction.


    You could look at LearnGaelic.scot for online reading. I've been reading "Litir Bheag" (The Little Letter). The topics are on history, culture, famous people, etc. Each letter has a page with both English and Gaelic, a sound file so you can listen to the Gaelic being read, and a pdf to download with both English and Gaelic. The English is a complete translation.


    If you are more advanced you can look at the "Letters to Learners" (Litir do Luchd-ionnsachaidh). These have the complete Gaelic text and a recording, but the English is a list of vocabulary words and phrases. There is also a downloadable pdf for each one.


    There are books of poetry with Gaelic and English on facing pages like "An Lasair - Anthology of 18th Century Scottish Gaelic Verse" and "An Tuil - Anthology of 20th century Scottish Gaelic verse." Both of these are edited by Ronald Black. I think you can get new copies at gaelicbooks.org.

    There is a book (also poetry, Gaelic/English on facing pages) called "Caran an t-Saoghail (The Wiles of the World) - Anthology of 19th Century Scottish Gaelic Verse" edited by Donald Meek. I think this one is out of print but I've seen used copies online.

    EDIT - I found a 2019 reprint online for Caran an t-Saoghail:


    There is also a new book called "The Highest Apple (An Ubhal as Àirde) - An anthology of Scottish Gaelic Literature" edited by Wilson McLeod and Michael Newton. It has both prose and poetry and the English follows the Gaelic for these selections.

    Another post noted you can get a Gaelic bible - which is true. I bought an inexpensive one (with both Gaelic and English) because I know all the stories so I can make some sense of the Gaelic.

    Happy reading!


    Wow--thank you so much for all the info!! I really, really appreciate it!

    Moran taing!


    The Adventures of Tintin (well, five of them) are available in Gaelic - http://www.dalenllyfrau.com/tintin-gaidhlig.html, as are eight Asterix books - http://www.dalenllyfrau.com/asterix-gaidhlig.html . You should be able to get these from the Gaelic Books Council, and you can get them from Book Depository and Amazon too.

    Book Depository doesn't sell everything available in Gaelic, but you can get a good sense of what's there by doing a restricted search by language - https://www.bookdepository.com/ Click "Search" on the home page without entering anything into the search box - then click the drop-down list on "languages", select "Scottish Gaelic" and see what treats are available.


    Thank you so much everyone for all the input! It's so kind of you all to put time into this. I have a nice long list of things to look at now. <3


    I'm glad that you are devoted on learning Gaelic! Reading books in the language you are learning really help.


    Moran taing a charaid!


    I'm watching the Sunday church service on BBC Alba now (and I will never get used to Gaelic church congregational singing, even the Church of Scotland version on at the moment is execrable), and there were two bible readings, both from the New Testament, in fact both from the Gospels (first the "Doubting Thomas" episode, and second the trial of Christ).

    But the "reader" didn't read. He seemed to be reciting the Gaelic bible passages entirely from memory. There was no sign of an actual book at all!

    ETA: A third reading, I think Old Testament, from the Proverbs. Different reader. There was a big book on a lectern, but the lectern was sloping away from the reader, who again seemed to be reciting entirely from memory.


    WOW, that is INCREDIBLE!!! I'm so thrilled that you found that!! So it was just on BBC Alba?


    There is some sort of religious service on BBC Alba every Sunday. I usually watch whatever is on the channel because it's helping get my brain's "radio" tuned in to listening to a variety of Gaelic speakers. The Sunday service is the only place where there is occasionally Gaelic with Gaelic subtitles, in some of the hymns, and that can be extremely useful.


    That is so awesome. I'll have to remember that's there and watch sometime! Can you tune in online?


    It may be blocked to anyone who is not in the UK, but you can give it a go. This is the news page, you should be able to find a link to the feed I think. https://www.bbc.co.uk/naidheachdan

    This is the daily schedule. https://www.bbc.co.uk/schedules/p00fzl67/2020/03/16


    Cool, thank you so much! Hopefully it's available in the U.S.


    You may have t find a way to spoof the site into thinking that you're in the UK.


    I just checked archive.org for some of the out-of-print books mentioned below, and found a TROVE of Scottish Gaelic books. Most of them are old, but there are a handful of recent ones -- mostly children's board books -- which can be borrowed by the hour using the archive's reader. (Out-of-copyright you can download -- in a bunch of formats)
    You can filter them down -- see the checkboxes under Year and Topic and Subject on the left.
    Here are ALL the holdings in Scottish Gaelic:


    Here are the holdings from 2013 -- a bunch of children's board books:


    You may need to copy and paste the links, looks like Duolingo has trouble with the filter text.


    This is great for learners, and there is even a video of the author reading the first chapter.



    This link has a few books from a trusted source, including the bible:


    Learn Scottish Gaelic in just 5 minutes a day. For free.