Seachtain na Gaeilge is an annual international Irish language festival and the biggest celebration of our native language and culture.
For two weeks every March, the festival offers everyone an opportunity to enjoy speaking Irish, whether they are fluent, beginners or in the immortal words of Richie Kavanagh, have only “aon focal eile!”
According to Conradh na Gaeilge – a social and cultural organisation that promotes the Irish language in Ireland and worldwide – some 41% of our population are able to speak Irish, but only 1.8% speak Irish every day.
South Dublin County Council (SDCC) and South Dublin Library Services, in partnership with Aras Chronain, recently launched this year’s Seachtain na Gaeilge Atha Cliath Theas (SnaGACT) ahead of next month’s festival.
As well as supporting Seachtain na Gaeilge, SDCC are also getting behind the Gaeilge Le Cheile initiative, which encourages people to use spoken Irish in their everyday lives.
This involves just three simple steps: Gaeilge a usaid, Gach La, Gach Ait, le Gach Duine – Use Irish Everyday, Everywhere with Everybody.
Under the Gaeltacht Act 2012, the Government announced its intention to develop the Irish language in communities outside of the core Gaeltacht areas.
These areas would be called ‘Irish Language Networks’ or ‘Lionra Gaeilge’ and would, in effect, create urban Gaeltachts.
South Dublin is home to one of only five communities on the island of Ireland nominated to seek official recognition for Lionra Gaeilge status.
Clondalkin village has a significant number of people who use Irish every day and the campaign to achieve recognition has brought the community together and raised the profile of spoken Irish in the village and surrounding areas.
Seachtain na Gaeilge was officially launched recently by the Mayor of South Dublin County Council, Cllr Vicki Casserly.
The programme will run from March 1-17, and this year’s packed calendar has more than 100 events, including a special concert by Kila, a St Patrick’s Day Ceili, pop-up gaeltacht, workshops in the libraries, traditional music sessions, and many other entertaining events, most of which are free of charge.
Cllr Casserly (FG) said she’s really looking forward to this year’s programme of events, adding: “I would encourage everyone to get involved in Seachtain na Gaeilge, attend as many of the wonderful events as you can, and take the opportunity to speak as Gaeilge.”
For some further information, and to download the brochure, see www.sdcc.ie.