A Proposal to Make the 209-year-old Golspie Inn Hotel in Scotland a Culture and Heritage Centre

The owner of the historic Golspie Inn Hotel would like to add a Culture and Heritage Centre to the hotel. He writes:

“Our main focus is to make the Golspie Inn a conductive meeting place where people from the world wide Highland diaspora and, indeed, all those interested can stay, meet and mingle in the ‘homeland’, socialise, research their culture, heritage and ancestry and, of course, sample the goodies and have fun whilst doing so! Another one of the Centre’s unique features will be the chronicling of the diaspora stories and the celebration of the immigrants’ incredible contributions in the new world but that it will be taking place in their own original homeland.”

I guess this is a “solicitation” for funds but it strikes me as a very worthwhile cause:

Hello,

My name is Eddie MacRae and I own the 209 year old Golspie Inn Hotel www.golspieinn.co.uk located on the east coast of Sutherland.

I’m contacting you see if you or any relevant people and/or organisations would be interested in participating in a collaborative project we are developing.

Because of the age of the building and its long, rich and varied history including being next door to Dunrobin Castle, it has witnessed at first hand many local and national historical events, notably the Clearances in the early 1800s. If only walls could talk!

(Please have a look at the 10 short films on our website under History and Heritage that deals with aspects of heritage and the Highland/Canada links).

Because of our unique position and significant role in the hospitality, music and culture of the region – including the Gaelic language – we are currently developing a Culture and Heritage Centre here at the hotel and including tours of the area (see http://www.northcoast500.com/).

Our main focus is to make the Golspie Inn a conductive meeting place where people from the world wide Highland diaspora and, indeed, all those interested can stay, meet and mingle in the ‘homeland’, socialise, research their culture, heritage and ancestry and, of course, sample the goodies and have fun whilst doing so! Another one of the Centre’s unique features will be the chronicling of the diaspora stories and the celebration of the immigrants’ incredible contributions in the new world but that it will be taking place in their own original homeland.

Given that the forebears of 2 Canadian Prime Ministers (the first, John A MacDonald and the13th John Diefenbaker) stood outside the Golspie Inn to be told they were being evicted from their homeland means that this building, still serving the same functions now as then, gives us an especially close link with Canada and is truly living history (and the Trudeau’s maternal side is from Wick – an hour along the coast!).

To try and better tailor our offering to what potential visitors to our Culture and Heritage Centre might want, we have commissioned post-graduate students from the University of Strathclyde to undertake a project where they will look to:

  • explore the level of interest, motivations and level of intent of Canadians and others for visiting Scotland as an ancestral tourist
  • explore what Scottish-Canadians and others would be seeking from their ancestral tourism experience and what activities they would be looking for
  • understand the cultural landscape of organisations in Canada and elsewhere that seek to develop links with Scotland or are rooted in a Scottish identity
  • devise a marketing communications plan to target Scottish-Canadians and others interested in an ancestral tourism experience
  • provide information on why Canadians and others with Scottish heritage and/or interest want to come to visit Scotland so The Golspie Inn Heritage Centre can cater to these desires
  • provide information on their desired activities in Scotland to get the best from their Scottish experience so the Golspie Inn Heritage Centre can adjust its product to fulfil these wishes
  • provide information on organisations within Canada and elsewhere who wish to link with Scotland and Golspie Inn Culture and Heritage Centre.

The Strathclyde University graduate students will be conducting interviews of interested persons primarily via Skype or telephone. The goal is to get feedback and suggestions for the project from the Highland diaspora and all those interested. Please consider participating in this and/or suggest people and/or organisations who may be interested in doing so as your input will help us shape the details of the Culture and Heritage Centre. The conversations are taking place now. Please message me if you are interested. I look forward to your response

Thanks and best regards,

Eddie MacRae

3 Comments

Try the Donald! Keith Atkinson

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Fascinating project. As a Sutherland descendant and Clan Sutherland Society of North America representative, I am looking forward to speaking with the students at Strathclyde University about this project.

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Seems a very worthy ambition to me also. Just adds another place of interest to the beautiful highlands

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