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23 Feb 2018

The ancient capital of Gaelic Ulster at Navan Fort will play host on Thursday 8 March to the launch of the annual international Irish language festival, Seachtain na Gaeilge. Local Irish language community organisation, CAIRDE Teo, are joining forces with the festival’s organisers, to announce the arrival of Seachtain na Gaeilge in style. The festival, which takes place every year between 1 and 17 March, aims to encourage Irish speakers across the globe to celebrate the vibrancy of the language and to encourage everyone else to embrace the native language of Ireland. Each year, the organisers of the festival appoint three ambassadors to help promote the language during Seachtain na Gaeilge, and this year’s ambassadors are TG4 personality and weather presenter Caitlín Nic Aoidh, former All-Ireland winner, former All-Star and current Tipperary hurler, Noel McGrath as well as social media sensation and RTÉ Operation Transformation leader, James Patrice.

The Armagh launch will feature some of Armagh’s best talent including local musicians Annie and Aoife Nic Gabhann from the Armagh Pipers Club, Armagh GAA Scór na nÓg solo singing champion Cailíosa Ní Dhúill, and the world reknowned Armagh Rhymers. Irish speakers of all ages are invited to attend the launch at the Navan Centre, where there will be plenty of special guests, fun, games and facepainting for young people and families, as well as refreshments. Irish language video journalism website Meon Eile will also be present to record the event.

The launch on Thursday 8 March is part of a jam-packed programme of Irish language family and youth events, walks, talks and celebrations in the lead-up to St Patrick’s Day. There will be an Irish language hillwalk on Slieve Martin in Rostrevor on Sunday 4 March, a talk on the last native speakers of the county Armagh dialects of Irish on Wednesday 7 March, an Irish language contingent taking part in the weekly park run on Saturday 10 March, a special Seachtain na Gaeilge meal and party at Embers on Tuesday 13 March and a special Irish language trip for the members of Armagh’s Irish medium youth club, Cumann Óige Ard Mhacha. As well as these events, the Ulster GAA Irish language quiz will be held at the Athletic Grounds on Friday 9 March and the Armagh Pipers’ Club annual concert takes place during Seachtain na Gaeilge on Sunday 11 March at the Marketplace Theatre. The Irish language celebrations will close off on 17 March with an Irish language mass and Irish language service in the two cathedrals of St Patrick here in the ecclesiastical city.

As the Irish language carnival Beo was postponed due to the weather, Cairde Teo are now organising a trip for local Irish speaking families to the highlight event of Bliain na Gaeilge, or Irish Language Year, on Saturday 14 April. The event aims to commemorate the revival of the Irish language over the past 125 years and celebrate some of the milestones in that period. The Beo event will see thousands of Irish speakers from right across the country converge in a carnival parade to Merrion Square for a massive street party and concert featuring Delorentos, Scannal and Kíla, as well as an important address by Irish President, Mícheál D. Ó hUiginn.