IÙL (Gaelic: "Guide"; pron: “yule”) is a Gaelic services company managed by Coinneach Maclean and Jo MacDonald. Both partners have a long and authoritative track-record of work within Gaelic culture and currently are involved in a range of initiatives involving the language and its development.
Coinneach Maclean is a Gaelic-speaking native of the Hebridean island of South Uist and former deputy chief executive of the National Trust for Scotland (NTS).
Few are better qualified to be your guide to Gaeldom. From an early age Coinneach – the nephew of Scotland’s finest 20th century Gaelic Bard, the late Sorley Maclean – was immersed in the songs and stories of Gaelic’s extraordinary oral tradition, the love of which he retains to this day.
His training as an archaeologist and subsequent career in deer farming, community business development and housing investment, has given him a deep understanding of the landscape, history and culture of Scotland particularly north of the Highland Line. His executive role with the NTS – the largest heritage and nature conservation charity in Scotland – allowed him to develop and expand his love of the nation’s wider culture. He is about to embark on a research thesis at Glasgow University on the role of minority languages in tourism with particular reference to Gaelic.
Jo MacDonald is a native Gaelic speaker from the island of Lewis. During a career spent largely with the BBC she worked mainly in factual and education programming. Before leaving the BBC at the end of 2008 she was Managing Editor of BBC Gàidhlig, a tri-media department employing about 120 staff, whose output includes the national Gaelic radio service BBC Radio nan Gaidheal, a wide range of television programming for the new Gaelic channel BBC Alba and for BBC2, and the Gaelic website www.bbcalba.co.uk.
She was a member of MAGOG whose 2002 report to Scottish ministers recommended the establishment of a body which would take a strategic approach to Gaelic development activities and was one of the three senior support staff overseeing the restructuring of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the national Gaelic Development Agency.
In addition she is responsible for the selection of the material for BBC Alba‘s successful Òran an Là (Song of the Day) and for researching and writing much of the content.
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