Hector MacNeil was born and raised in Portage, a rural community ten miles west of Sydney, Cape Breton. Hector ’s interest in Gaelic comes to him from his father, “Hector Joe” MacNeil of Castle Bay, Cape Breton. It was through his father and the people of Castle Bay that Hector came to identify strongly with the Gaelic culture as a whole. Hector worked at a number of jobs after completing high school – warehouseman, union organizer, construction worker, log builder, pulp cutter and silviculturist. He was in his late 20’s when he enrolled at St. F.X University and it was in his first year Gaelic class, that he determined that he could – and that he would – become fluent in the language. Since finishing his MA in Celtic Studies in the late 80’s, he has taught Gaelic to students of all ages in many different settings and has held various offices within the Gaelic community of Nova Scotia.