History of the Society

 Many things have changed in the history of the Aberdeen University Celtic Society since it was founded in 1854 by a group of Highland men. This was before Marischal College had joined up King's College to form the University as we know it!

At that time the requirements for joining were a 2p subscription fee and above all, fluency in Gaelic. The early days of the Celtic Society consisted mainly of Gaelic debates in which many of its members were involved, as well as invited guest speakers.

Since 1888 the membership of the Society has been recorded in The Book. At this time the President was Cathel Kerr who had joined in 1883. At this point the society must have been relatively important within the University Community as the first signature in the book is that of the Principal, Sir William Duguid Geddes. 


Since then the society has continued to allow students to embrace Gaelic and music at the University. The only thing to stop the society was the Great War, between 1914 - 1918. The Society even managed to operate during the Second World War, albeit with a drastically reduced membership and no names are recorded for the session 1942 - 1943. Once the War was over the Society once again grew to become a vital part of student life in Aberdeen. 

150 years on since the foundation of the society, with different policies and committees, changes have been substantial: the subscription fee has now risen to £3, Gaelic is no longer a requirement and women are now also permitted to join!

The first female member was Molly Wright Craig in 1897 and the first foreign member was Betsy Diaz from USA in 1962.


In February 2011,
BBC Radio nan Gàidheal, broadcast a series about the Ossianic Society in Glasgow, the Highland Society in Edinburgh and the Celtic Society in Aberdeen. In the programme members old and new share their experiences of the their time in the Celtic Society (in Gaelic).

BBC © MMXI
 

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