Iomain Cholmcille 2012 to be held in Portree on 7 April 2012

 The fifth Iomain Cholmcille, the shinty / hurling international series between Gaelic speakers from Scotland and Ireland, will be held in Portree, Isle of Skye on Saturday 7 April 2012.

Since the competition started in Oban in 2007, the trophy has been fought for between the Alba team and Micheal Breathnach GAA, representing Ireland. This year, however, there will be a new shape to it.

For the first time, there will be four teams, two representing shinty, Alba and a representative Skye team, and two from hurling, Micheal Breathnach and Fir Uladh from Ulster. 

The competition will be held at Pàirc nan Laoch, the home of Skye Camanachd, one of Scotland’s greatest shinty grounds and there will also be a new shape to the competition.

Eòghan Stewart, the project co-ordinator said “ With the four teams, we have the opportunity to play games between the sides from the same sport – its not often that shinty folk get the chance to watch a hurling game, and vice-versa. Therefore, we will have asemi-final between the two Scottish teams and then one between the Irish. Then we will have two games played under the composite rules between the losers then the winners.”

However, victory is not the most important thing, although Eòghan will be going all out to ensure his team wins the tournament. It is language revival that is the main aim of the project.

“This is the thing, there are not many opportunities for young men to speak Gaelic informally, some can access music and dance but through sports many more can come together and use the language naturally and easily.”

“We only have one rule and that is that players speak Gaelic whilst training and playing. In fact we have a rule that the referee can send a player off for not speaking Gaelic but that has never happened. Everyone buys into the concept and within a day, those who may not speak Gaelic that often (for whatever reason) are filled with confidence and speaking away as fluently as everyone else.”

“The last time that the Breathnaich were over, it did a lot for Gaelic in Skye. There were young players fond of shinty and who speak Gaelic seeing that opportunities like this were open to them. The Breathnaich are a good example of how to run a sports club through the medium of a Celtic language and we hope that this competition can help Gaelic and shinty go from strength to strength together.”

The festival has been supported with fundinng from Colmcille, the body with responsibility for strengthening links between the Gaelic communities of Ireland and Scotland, But with the event growing ever more successful each year, Colmcille have been interested in widening the scope of the series.

Iomain Cholmcille a Còig -

5 Years
4 Teams
3 Countries
2 Sports
1 Gael
More information will appear on

Iomain Cholmcille 2012 to be held in Portree on 7 April 2012