Find your Celtic heart
Find your Celtic heart
Centuries ago, Irish and Scottish Gaels began settling in Cape Breton and throughout mainland Nova Scotia. With them came the vibrant Celtic culture that helped shape our province’s identity. This culture of song, dance, music, and craft, not only survives here – but flourishes. Hit the road and follow the sounds of celebration.
Highland Village Museum
Iona, Bras d'Or Lakes Scenic Drive
Fàilte! Costumed interpreters greet you in Gaelic and share the stories of their ancestors at this 43-acre living history museum and folk-life centre, overlooking the beautiful Bras d’Or Lake. The Highland Village Museum, or An Clachan Gàidhealach, brings to life Nova Scotia’s Gaelic culture, heritage, and hospitality..
Celtic Music Interpretive Centre
Judique, Ceilidh Trail
Celtic music may have been born on another continent but its adopted home is in Cape Breton. The Celtic Music Interpretive Centre is dedicated to preserving the music through education and performance. Here you’ll learn about the music and its history through workshops and interactive exhibits featuring interviews, stories, and hands-on demonstrations. Be sure to stop by for one of the lively luncheon ceilidhs.
Take in a Ceilidh
As you wind your way along the Ceilidh and Cabot Trails, make sure to drop in to one of the local church or community halls for a traditional ceilidh. Baddeck hosts many ceilidhs throughout the year – just ask a friendly local for directions or look out for signs announcing, "Ceilidh here tonight!".
Red Shoe Pub
Mabou, Ceilidh Trail
This quaint traditional pub was named for a famous reel written about a woman who loved to highland step-dance in shoes stained with crimson paint. Owned by the famous musical Rankin family, the Red Shoe Pub features live performances every day of the week. The kitchen offers up fresh local mussels, steaming seafood chowder, rich salmon cakes, and mouth-watering hot pub pies.
Glenville, Ceilidh Trail
Whisky lovers and teetotallers alike will find much to love at Glenora Distillery, Canada’s only distiller of single-malt whisky. Tour the distillery, stroll the scenic grounds, and relax by the brook from which the water is drawn to produce the award winning whisky. After you’ve worked up an appetite, enjoy a meal and a live ceilidh before retiring to a mountainside chalet that overlooks the Margaree Valley.
Dancing Goat Cafe & Bakery
Margaree, Cabot Trail
Hungry Cabot Trail travelers will be happy to encounter the Dancing Goat Cafe & Bakery. This stylish café and bakery is the place to sip a cup of fair trade organic coffee, enjoy locally sourced cuisine, and fill up on fresh baked goods. Be sure to try the delicious Porridge Bread, a traditional Celtic favourite.
Celtic Colours International Festival
Various venues thoughout Cape Breton Island
Celebrate music and culture each October with Celtic musicians from Cape Breton and around the world. Dozens of concerts, an extensive line-up of community events, and a nightly Festival Club will leave you feeling like a caper in no time.
Great Hall of the Clans at The Gaelic College
St. Ann's, Cabot Trail
Take a hands-on approach to discovering our Celtic heritage by joining in a kilt making, milling frolic, or step dance at the Gaelic College. The Great Hall of the Clans Interpretive Museum also offers eight interactive displays on Scottish history and culture. Lunchtime ceilidhs are held throughout the summer months, Monday through Friday.
Sydney Waterfront, Marconi Trail
A famous Sydney landmark and a great photo opportunity,you can’t miss the world’s largest fiddle, built in recognition of Cape Breton’s musical talent and deep Celtic roots. You’ll find the 60’ foot tribute outside the cruise pavilion on the Sydney waterfront.