Name: Lauren Byrne
Where are you from?
I live in Fassfern, just outside Fort William.
What course are you studying?
I’m doing the music degree (BA Gaelic and Traditional Music), and in first year I’ve been doing Cùrsa Comais, the intensive course for people still learning the language.
Why did you come to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig?
I only really did a tiny little bit of Gaelic in school, but when I was 16 I did the Fèisean Lochabair Cèilidh Trail and through that, doing traditional music and Gaelic songs, I found that I really wanted to learn the language. I started going to Gaelic Ùlpan classes for a while, but I knew that Sabhal Mòr was without a doubt the best place for learning Gaelic, especially alongside traditional music.
What is it like to be living at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and on the Isle of Skye?
Skye is such a lovely place to stay – when the weather’s nice! There are so many good walks to go on and places to explore with incredible views. I like being in a different place and a different community, but I also like that its close enough for me if I’d like to go home at the weekends.
Why did you choose this course?
I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do when I was leaving school, but I knew it would be something to do with music at least. I did a year at West Highland College in Fort William on the NC Music course, and in that year I made the decision to come to Sabhal Mòr. It was between SMO and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, but I realised I was so keen to learn Gaelic and felt that it would give me a great advantage in my music and life in general, so I chose to come to Sabhal Mòr and I’m glad I did.
What is the best thing about studying at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig?
It’s a very social community – there are always people up for a ceilidh! I think the best thing about studying here is that you’re learning all the time. It’s not just the time spent in class; you’re using the language outside of class too at social events and in everyday situations, which is possibly the most important part of the learning: putting what you’ve learned into practice.
What three words does Sabhal Mòr Ostaig bring to your mind?
Community, opportunity, fun
What would you like to be doing after Sabhal Mòr Ostaig?
I would essentially like to be a professional musician, whether it be performing or recording or both. However, I am open to other lines of work, like teaching for example. Definitely something with the opportunity to use Gaelic anyway.