CAIRDE Teo, the Irish language promotional company based in Armagh City, has launched a packed programme of events for ‘Seachtain na Gaeilge 2014’. Seachtain na Gaeilge (Eng: Irish Language Week), or SnaG as it is now better known, is a national festival catering for people with a passion for the Irish language. You don’t need to be fluent to join in the fun as there are events for every level of competency.
Dublin footballer Ciarán Kilkenny, TV and Radio Presenter Lynette Fay &TG4 star Máire Treasa Ní Dhubhghaill are this year’s festival ambassadors! You will see them throughout the festival in the media and around the country promoting the Irish language. Armagh Planetarium – which itself provides astronomy shows in the Irish language – recently hosted perhaps the universe’s most famous Irish language ambassador, Commander Chris Hadfield of the International Space Station. Commander Hadfield made history by being the first ever person to tweet in Irish from space!
As you can see from the list of events above, there is no shortage of Irish language events going on in Armagh. Local activities will kick off on Monday 3rd March with the official launch and an invitation from CAIRDE Teo to register with the Líofa campaign.Líofa is an initiative which aims to motivate you to pledge to become ‘Líofa’ or fluent in the Irish Language by 2015. Cultural Minister Carál Ní Chuilín launched the campaign in September 2011 with the aim of engaging 1000 people to embark on the Líofa challenge and achieve Gold Fáinne level in spoken Irish by 2015. Such is the interest across the north (and beyond) that this target has been revised to aim to ensure that 5000 more people are fluent in Irish by 2015. So come along to Armagh City Shopping Centre on Monday 3rd March and sign up for the challenge or register online at: http://www.dcalni.gov.uk/index/language-cultural-diversity-r08/liofa_introduction.htm
On Tuesday 4th March, Gael Linn will be hosting COIRM 2014 in the Marketplace Theatre Armagh. Coirm festivals are organised throughout the country in theatres with first class facilities. Each school performs a variety show of no more than 20 minutes duration. Children participating may come from different classes and there is no age limit. To enhance their enjoyment of the day Gael Linn will provide a short performance by professional artistes. Participating children receive a memento of their day at Coirm. To ensure an Irish language ethos at the festivals, Coirm is aimed primarily at Gaeltacht schools and Gaelscoileanna. However, other primary schools are invited to participate if the pupils are prepared to make a commitment to speak Irish at all times. Coirm aims to promote the use of Irish among primary school pupils by providing a stage for them to display their talents in a non-competitive Irish-speaking environment.
For anyone who has never visited Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum in Dublin, keep Saturday 8th March free in your diary. Glasnevin tells the story of the birth of the Irish nation and contains the graves of many of Ireland’s most prominent national figures. These include the graves of Daniel O’Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell, Michael Collins, Éamon de Valera, Jim Larkin, Maude Gonne, Kevin Barry, Roger Casement, Constance Markievicz, Pádraig Ó Domhnaill, Seán MacBride, Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa, Frank Ryan, Brendan Behan, Christy Brown and Luke Kelly of the Dubliners.
As well as a bilingual guided tour of the cemetery, CAIRDE has arranged a visit to the awarding winning onsite museum which currently houses a fantastic exhibition celebrating the centenary of the formation of the Irish Citizen Army and the Irish Volunteers. Neither would any visit to Glasnevin Cemetery be complete without a social visit to the world famous Gravediggers Inn at the edge of the cemetery – not to be missed!
The Irish language has been much in the news in recent times and the publicity has not always been good. However, CAIRDE Teo ascribes to Oscar Wilde’s assertion that there is only one thing worse than being talked about …. In recent times the Irish language has been spoken by US President Barack Obama, Queen Elizabeth of England and even beyond the earth’s atmosphere. With that in mind, we have organised a lecture and panel discussion on Wednesday 12th March at 7pm, featuring Ian Malcolm, an author (‘Towards Inclusion: Protestants and the Irish language’), self-professed unionist and Irish language enthusiast. Ian will share a platform with Feargal Mac Ionnrachtaigh, author of the book ‘Language, Resistance and Revival’ and an activist and campaigner for Irish language rights with Forbairt Feirste in West Belfast. The discussion will be chaired by Réamonn Ó Ciaráin of Gael Linn who will precede the panel discussion with a presentation on the influence of Gaelic on the English language spoken in the north of Ireland.
Rith 2014 is a Basque-inspired national Irish language festival that will take place between the 7-15 March 2014 during Seachtain na Gaeilge. A 1000km course has been laid out for a massive cross-county relay race, running from morning to night, starting in Baile Bhuirne (Ballyvourney, Cork) to Béal Feirste (Belfast) over a 9 day period, with thousands of people taking part across the 200 towns/townlands on route.The relay will be coming through Armagh City on Friday 14th March and hundreds of runners will carry a hand carved baton with a concealed message hidden inside from Bunscoil Ard Mhacha through Armagh City Centre, finishing up at the Athletic Grounds in Armagh.
Rith 2014 is an enjoyable and innovative way for communities to celebrate the Irish language and culture in a visual way across Ireland. Rith 2014 is also a fund-raising activity, with a special fund established as a result of Rith that will be used to promote the development of Irish in the community. Encourage your sports club, youth group, community association to join the relay and raise funds for both themselves and the Irish language.
In 2013, CAIRDE commissioned independent Irish language media company Macha Media and Digital Key Productions to build and develop two new mobile, digital GPS Apps for Armagh’s most understated tourist attraction – the world heritage site at Eamhain Mhacha (Navan Fort). With funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Armagh Council, CAIRDE Teo has developed the new service for the benefit of both the local community and tourists to the area. The Apps will contain multi-media resources in the form of adventure games triggered by satellite GPS. Downloading the Apps is free of charge and they are designed to sit on iPhone, iPad and android devices. After the launch of the bilingual Apps on Friday 14th March at the Navan Centre, they will be downloadable from the CAIRDE Teo and Armagh City and District Council’s websites and will be available in the Irish language as well as in English.
A brand new SnaG App is also available to download now on iTunes and Google Play! It’s never been easier to find Irish language events near you. So why notjoin the thousands of people who are getting behind the Irish language revival, not only here in Ireland but all over the world (and beyond)! For more information on any of the above events contact Seán or Gearóid on 028 37515229 or email firstname.lastname@example.org . Alternatively, check out our website www.cairdeteo.com or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.