Marking the launch of Seachtain na Gaeilge in Donegal on Wednesday last
Seachtain na Gaeilge got off to a momentous start across Donegal, when the annual festival was launched in The Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny on Wednesday last.
The Seachtain na Gaeilge international festival takes place from 1 - 17 March 2018 and a wide range of events is planned for Donegal during the festival. Seachtain na Gaeilge was launched by Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Gerry McMonagle. In attendance too was Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easpuig, Cathaoirleach of the Council’s Coiste na Gaeilge.
An Crann Óg performing at the launch
The selection of traditional music from Crann Óg got the proceedings off to a flying start. A group of students from Gaelscoil Adhmhnáin surprised the audience when they broke into song during the formalities and provided some very enjoyable entertainment. Both they and An Crann Óg brought the proceedings to a close.
Speaking during the launch the Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Gerry McMonagle ‘There will be approx 100 events organised across County Donegal as part of Seachtain na Gaeilge between the 1st and 17th March, and I am delighted that the County Council and the Library Services and many community groups are taking part in the festival again this year’.
Mr Seamus Neely, Chief Executive of Donegal County Council, spoke about the importance of the Irish language and on the duty of the Council, as a Local Authority, to promote and encourage the use of Irish on a county-wide basis. He also spoke about the importance of providing Irish classes for both elected members and staff members of the Council. At present, there are in excess of 50 attending such classes which are being provided by the Council. Referring to Rannóg na Gaeilge, he advised that the Council has provided further resources to the Irish Language Section of the Council both in terms of human resources and other practical resources. He praised the support of native gaelic football player – Michael Carroll who has agreed to act as the Council’s Seachtain na Gaeilge Ambassador, which is particulary important this year, being nominated as ‘Bliain na Gaeilge’.
Students from Gael Scoil Adhmhnain in Letterkenny enjoying the launch of Seachtain na Gaeilge.
Cllr Mícheál Colm Mac Giolla Easbuig, newly elected Cathaoirleach on Donegal County Council’s Irish Language Committee, spoke at the launch. “ If we want the Irish language to survive, we have to speak it. And we have to give every support to our children in using the language, and to older people, and to the new Irish who have come to live in our country. But if we are really serious about the language there is a real need for a complete cultural transformation in this country and a complete change of mindset too”.
Donna Cavanagh, from the Library Service spoke to those present as ‘a learner of the Irish language’. She spoke about the Irish classes that she is attending at present. She referred to the challenges she encountered regarding the Irish language in her youth. But now, she is learning about the ‘spirit of the Irish language’, which is the most important part of all, she says. She personally thanked Fiona Sweeney all the staff across the county who are organising events in their local libraries as part of Seachtain na Gaeilge.
Michael Carroll, county footballer from the Gaeltacht, has kindly agreed to be Ambassador for Seachtain na Gaeilge in Donegal: “Tá lúcháir ó chroí orm a bheith mar ambasadóir Sheachtain na Gaeilge 2018 do Chomhairle Contae Dhún na nGall. Tá an Ghaeilge agam ón lá ar rugadh mé. Is í an Ghaeilge an teanga teaghlaigh atá againn agus tá sí fite fuaite i ngach gné de mo shaol – i mo bhaile dúchais Gaeltachta, i mo chuid staidéir in Institiúid Teicneolaíochta Leitir Ceanainn, ina bhfuil an Ghaeilge mar ábhar lárnach, agus ar an pháirc imeartha – coinním an Ghaeilge i gcónaí i lár báire. Bígí liom agus seasaimis an fód ar son Gaeilge, Gaeltacht agus Condae”.
2018 Seachtain na Gaeilge Programme of events for Donegal
Seachtain na Gaeilge is an international Irish-language festival promoting the use of Irish language and culture, both at home and abroad, running over a fortnight in March every year. The festival has built up incredible momentum in recent years, becoming the largest celebration of our native language and culture held every year. The festival gives absolutely everyone a chance to enjoy the Irish language, be they native Irish speakers, language learners or those with only a few words.
Róise Ní Laifeartaigh, Irish Language Community Officer with the Irish Language Section of the Council stated that “…Donegal County Council is delighted to be launching the programme of events for Seachtain na Gaeilge; with a wide range of events taking place during the Seachtain, it is hoped that all the community, young and old, will take part in the festival. Many community groups, Gaeltacht groups, individuals and schools throughout the county are busy planning for their own events to support the festival and the promotion of the language.”
Among the many events being organised for Seachtain na Gaeilge 2018 in Donegal, there will be storytelling, historical talks, quizzes, art competitions, coffee mornings, Irish language hikes, conversation groups and much much more.
For more information on events in Donegal, contact Róise or Seán 074 94275 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to www.snag.ie.
Download an overview of the artists that have contributed to the Taispeántas Ealaíne na Gaeltachta