A two-week Gaelfest has been launched in Mid Ulster.
Coinciding with the celebration of Seachtain na Gaeilge, a national and international Language festival which takes place every year all over Ireland and further afield, the Mid Ulster event includes talks, music and entertainment to suit all ages.
The festival encourages everyone to give Irish a go and to learn more about the rich Gaelic heritage that’s all around.
The festival kicks off on Thursday, 3 March at Ranfurly House, Dungannon with a performance from Clann Mhic Ruairí a renowned band from Rann na Feirste, Donegal Gaeltacht region. The 5 piece trad band will perform a range of songs through the richness of Donegal Irish sure to get the festival off to a spectacular start!
There will be plenty of opportunities to learn and/or improve whatever Irish you have, whether complete beginner, learner or advanced Irish speaker with a range of Irish language courses across the district.
Gaelic language and cultural fun sessions also feature throughout March in Magherafelt and Augher as well as weekly Rhyme Time sessions in Dungannon library for young children who want to learn the Irish language in an interactive context!
A range of talks in Irish and in English will also take place across the district as part of Gaelfest.
In Pomeroy the grandniece of Joseph Mary Plunket, Honor Ó Brolcháin will lead a special talk on Tuesday, 15 March about Joseph Mary Plunket, the Irish Nationalist, poet, journalist, and leader of the 1916 Easter Rising who had an active interest in Irish heritage and the Irish language.
Aodán Mac Poilín will discuss the Gaelic origins of family names around the Lough shore area at a talk in Ardboe community hall.
Linda Ervine wife of ex PUP Leader Brian Ervine, will take the audience on a fascinating journey through the many links between the Protestant/Unionist/Loyalist community and the Irish language.
Find out how the Gaelic language is present in so many local place names and in everyday speech in this captivating talk with Linda on Thursday, 10 March in Gortlowry House, Cookstown.
A range of St Patrick’s Day activities and events for the whole family to enjoy will also take place as part of the festival.
Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Linda Dillon, is looking forward to celebrating the festival. She said:
“I am really enthusiastic about this year’s Gaelfest line-up and looking forward to enjoying some fascinating talks exploring Irish heritage. Anyone attending the festival can look forward to taking in some traditional Irish music while at the same time getting to use and improve their own Irish speaking ability.
“The festival is a fantastic chance for anyone considering taking up the Irish language to go ahead and give it a go!”
For a comprehensive list of Gaelfest events throughout March, visit Gaeilge Lár Uladh on Facebook or visit www.midulstercouncil.org/gaeilge or contact Irish Language Officer [email protected] or tel: 028 87728600