Launch of Irish Language Week with virtual events

Launch of Irish Language Week with virtual events

17 February 2021

DETAILS of the annual Irish Language Week across the district have been unveiled, with this year’s event taking place virtually.

Seachtain na Gaeilge runs from  March 1 until St Patrick’s Day and features a specially commissioned programme of content.

Widely regarded as the largest celebration of Irish language and culture that takes place in Ireland and many other countries every year, Irish Language Week provides an opportunity to engage with and enjoy the language through music, literature and storytelling. 

Newry, Mourne and Down Council — which is running the event — said whether new to the language or a lifelong learner, all participants will be made very welcome.

Song and storytelling are two of the best ways to learn, develop and connect in a positive way with the language, with the online delivery of the events allowing people to enjoy the mix of music and literature from the safety of their home.

This year’s event features the vocal talents of local artists including Bláithín Mhic Cana and Piaras Ó Lorcáin filmed in South Armagh, newly composed songs from Gráinne Holland recorded in her home town of Castlewellan, and storytelling from Newry man and President of Conradh na Gaeilge, Dr Niall Comer.  

Council chairwoman Laura Devlin said she was delighted to see the Irish language celebrated throughout the district.

“I am very pleased to see the creative approach that the council’s Irish language unit have taken this year in developing Irish language projects, including online content and events for everyone, to ensure that Seachtain na Gaeilge is celebrated safely,” she said.

Key events include music and story through video, consisting of a series of 10 short videos which will be hosted on the local authority’s YouTube channel and will be shared across its social media channels. 

The video will showcase some of the talented musicians and storytellers in the district, including Gráinne Holland, Bláithín Mhic Cana, Piaras Ó Lorcáin and Niall Comer, with English translations provided, allowing everyone to sing along or even learn the words and find their own new performance piece.  

The accelerated reading project with Irish medium primary schools is a joint initiative between the local authority, Gaeláras Mhic Ardghail and the Irish medium schools in the area.  

Each school will be provided with a pack comprised of a selection of Irish language books and fun exercises, with pupils invited to read all 15 books and complete the interactive exercises to demonstrate that they have read the books, there will be prizes available for the young readers. 

This is a pilot scheme and it is the intention of the council to build on this project in the next financial year, with other schools and a wider range of Irish language book titles.

Irish language groups and individuals the world over are organising their own events, many of which will be accessible online with local Irish language community forum, Fóram an Dúin & Oirialla (óram-an-Dúin-Oirialla), keeping people up-to-date regarding online events and resources during the week and indeed throughout the year.

There are lots of other local Irish language groups who work very hard behind the scenes to enable everyone to celebrate the language in a safe and enjoyable way.