Blog post written by Audrey Nickel
Croí na Teanga: It’s You! (“The Heart of the Language: It’s You!”)
This is the official slogan of Seachtain na Gaeilge (“Week of the Irish Language”) which runs from March 4 through March 17 this year (yes, that’s longer than a week…more on that in a bit!). What are you doing to celebrate?
A celebration of the Irish language
If you’re new to Irish Gaelic, you may not be familiar with this vibrant, 111-year-old, international, festival that celebrates the Irish language and everything associated with it.
Established in 1902 by the Irish language association Conradh na Gaeilge (The Gaelic League), Seachtain na Gaeilge is now a nonprofit organization administered by Foras na Gaeilge (The Gaelic Institute).
The main points of the festival and its motto — Croí na Teanga: It’s You! — are both to bring attention to the language and to emphasize that everyone who loves Irish Gaelic — in and out of Ireland; from the newest beginner to the native speaker — is an important part of the language’s revival.
WHY NOT “COICIS NA GAEILGE” (IRISH LANGUAGE FORTNIGHT)?
Seachtain na Gaeilge (“Irish Language Week”) seems like an odd name for a festival that lasts two weeks, doesn’t it?
As it happens, when the popularity of the celebration made it necessary to expand it to two weeks, it was decided that the brand Seachtain na Gaeilge was so well-known it would be a mistake to change it.
Thus, for this one time in the year, we have a two-week week!
How is it celebrated?
Seachtain na Gaeilge observances are as varied as the people who love and speak the Irish language!
In Ireland, on a national level, the festival is promoted by well-known Irish TV presenters. One can expect everything from special Irish language inserts in newspapers and additional Irish TV programs to street festivals, library story hours in Irish, quiz nights in Irish…it really runs the gamut!
Outside of Ireland, festivities are limited only by the imagination of local promoters. Here in my neck of the woods (San Francisco Bay Area, California) festivities often include Irish-language film festivals; “Night visiting” with stories, songs and poetry; an Irish language mass, and even wine tasting as Gaeilge!
A complete list of Seachtain na Gaeilge events, in Ireland and abroad, can be found on the official SnaG website.
What if there are no special events in my area?
While the organized events are fun, you can observe Seachtain na Gaeilge in other ways as well. Some suggestions from the SnaG website include:
- Use more Irish from day to day. For people outside of Ireland, this could include using Irish (even if you only have a few words!) on social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.
- Watch some TV shows or listen to some radio shows in Irish. Both TG4 (Irish language television station) and Raidió na Gaeltachta (Irish language radio station) are available free on-line. For more information on such resources see Watch TG4 Live to Learn Irish and Hear Irish Gaelic Spoken.
- Organize your own Seachtain na Gaeilge event. Even if you think it’s too late to organize something for this year, you can start thinking in terms of next year. For ideas and information, visit the Event Ideas page.
A FEW OTHER IDEAS
- Do more reading in Irish. We offer some suggestions for reading resources here.
- Show your pride in the language and promote discussion by wearing an Irish T-shirt. An Spailpín Fanach in Spiddal has a lot of great options, and they ship worldwide!
- If you haven’t already, consider signing up for Irish classes. Our no-risk free trial is a great way to get started!
Whatever you do, get out there and do it!
As a person who is interested in Irish Gaelic, you’re an important part of preserving and promoting this ancient and living language!
There’s no better way to show your pride in your Irish heritage than to celebrate Ireland’s cultural heart: Its hereditary language.
Croí na Teanga: It’s You!