Folk icon Dolina Maclennan enlisted to help celebrate Battle of Prestonpans Gaelic culture

Scottish folk icon and Gaelic language champion Dolina Maclennan has been enlisted to help raise awareness of the importance of Gaelic culture at the Battle of Prestonpans.

Singer, actress and political campaigner Dolina Maclennan has been named as a trustee of The Battle of Prestonpans (1745) Heritage Trust.

The news comes as the Trust announces a new programme of Gaelic activity, supported by funding from Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

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Last year marked the 275th anniversary of the famous battle that witnessed Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite soldiers score an unlikely victory over the Hanoverian forces east of Edinburgh at Prestonpans.

A large proportion of the Jacobite men would have spoken Gaelic as their mother tongue and this is now being recognised.

Dolina Maclennan said: “I’m delighted to be involved with the Battle of Prestonpans (1745) Trust and provide a way of raising awareness of the importance of Gaelic language and culture in the legacy of the battle.

"The project being developed is a great example of drawing people together to share Gaelic as part of our shared culture.”

One of the nation’s foremost supporters of Gaelic language and culture, Dolina Maclennan has worked tirelessly down the years in promoting Scottish culture and her native Gaelic tongue.

Gaelic icon and folk singer Dolina Maclennan has been appointed a trustee at the Battle of Prestonpans (1745) Heritage Trust.

In recognition of her significant contribution to Scotland’s life and culture, she received the Saltire Society’s Fletcher of Saltoun Award and was also presented with an honorary doctorate by Edinburgh University.

Dr Gordon Prestoungrange Joint Chair of The Battle of Prestonpans (1745) Heritage Trust said: “We’re honoured to have Dolina’s involvement in the Trust. Gaelic was at the centre of the Battle of Prestonpans, as the language spoken by the great majority of Highlanders as well as some of those on Hanoverian side.”

The Battle of Prestonpans (1745) Heritage Trust works to protect, promote and interpret the Battle of Prestonpans.

The Trust received a £9,000 grant from Bòrd na Gàidhlig to support Gaelic programming with events already planned in Haddington and Prestonpans in the summer and autumn of 2021. These will include workshops and concerts marking the Battle of Prestonpans in literature and song, which will take place in Gaelic with translation into English. Workshops will also take place to train tour guides, battle re-enactors and local community representatives to help spread understanding of the relevance of the Gaelic language in the context of the battle.

Gordon Prestoungrange continued: “We are now developing a series of Gaelic-focused events and Dolina’s involvement will help guide this. However, we’re extremely keen to engage even more widely with the Gaelic community and would be keen to hear from Gaelic speakers in the Lothians who would be interested in supporting and participating in the future events calendar.”

The Battle of Prestonpans was the first major battle of the last Jacobite Rising. The battle took place on 21 September 1745. The Jacobite army loyal to King James Francis Edward Stuart and led by his son Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) achieved a dramatic victory over the Redcoat army loyal to the Hanoverian king, George II. The battle took place in fields between Prestonpans, Tranent, Cockenzie and Port Seton in East Lothian. The victory was a huge morale boost for the Jacobites, and despite their ultimate defeat the following year, the battle left an important cultural legacy.

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