This year will be the Year of the Irish Language, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced in December 2017.
This year marks the 125-year anniversary of the language revival movement set up by Eoin MacNeill, an Irish language enthusiast and nationalist activist. Just like in 1893, the aim of this campaign is to get the wider public involved with the Irish language and to try and create a culture among people who wouldn’t normally use the Irish
The concept was developed after the highly successful tourism initiative, ‘The Gathering’, took place in 2013. Over 5,000 special events aimed to engage people were hosted across the country.
DCU is getting involved with the campaign through Cumann Gaelach – the Irish speaking society who promote the use of the language throughout the university. They plan on celebrating the ‘Year of the Irish Language’ with a series of events.
“Basically we just want the Irish language weeks like ‘Viva la Gaeilge’ and ‘Seachtain na Gaeilge’ to
be bigger and better than ever. We want to put emphasis on them” said Colm Redmond, vice-chairperson of Cumann Gaelach.
“We’re trying to plan some exciting things, specifically with guest speakers focused on people our age who have jobs through the language or promote the language in modern and fun ways”.
By promoting the language throughout DCU, the society is hoping to reach out to as many people as possible.
“It will be a great opportunity to promote Irish to people who are both actively involved with the language as well as those who want to become more involved,” said Niamh Balfe, Cumann Gaelach’s brand design officer.
While DCU is doing its part its part to promote to the ‘Year of the Irish Language’, there will be on-going festivities throughout Ireland as they attempt to spark a national interest in the language.
“We are inviting the public to get involved in events organised during the year, to use more Irish during the year and, similar to the Gathering in 2013, to host their own events, be it a coffee morning through Irish or something even bigger” said Niall Comer, President of Conradh na Gaeilge.
There will be a parade in Dublin on March 3rd to celebrate the Irish language in what is the first major event in the year-long campaign.
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