It’s Lá Gaelach — use Irish for the day and amaze the visitors

The Volvo Ocean Race is the perfect opportunity to exhibit the best of Irish culture to the world and Galway has a long and proud tradition in keeping the Irish language alive. With this in mind, Údarás na Gaeltachta, along with Gaillimh le Gaeilge, Conradh na Gaeilge, Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe, and Ealaín na Gaeltachta, have organised a Lá Gaelach (Day of Irish ) which will take place on Thursday July 5.

The event was announced at the recent Cairde Ghaillimh le Gaeilge beárbaiciú (barbecue ) by the chairman of Gaillimh le Gaeilge, Iggy O’Muircheartaigh. A host of Irish language events will take place on Lá Gaelach, giving locals and visitors a taste of our native language and culture. Events include exhibitions, music workshops, sean-nós singing, dance, and storytelling for young and old. For the musical, there will be lilting and percussion at beginner and intermediate level, in association with Traidphinic and Áras na nGael.

An Lá Gaelach will focus on the culture, art and heritage associated with the Gaeltacht and the Irish language and will present a unique opportunity for both Irish and International visitors to get a taste of a wide range of activities. These activities, funded by Údarás na Gaeltachta, have been organised in the Global Village and are suitable for all ages leading to a vibrant atmosphere throughout Galway city with music and dance shows taking place during the day.

Events will kick off at 12 midday today Thursday, July 5, on the Theatre Stage, Global Village, where children’s authors from the publishing house Futa Futa, Ailbhe Nic Giolla Bhrighde, Patricia Forde and Bridget Bhreathnach will read from their wonderfully illustrated children’s stories. Lá Gaelach will also provide a unique chance to listen to Máirín Mhic Lochlainn or Scéalaí ‘Thóin a’Chnoic, one of Ireland’s foremost storytellers and there will also be a magical production from the Branar theatre company at 1:15pm.

'Uisce agus Beatha' a display of sean-nós traditional dancing and an exhibition launch will take place at 1pm at Galway City Museum.

Later, singers and composers from Cois Fharraige will be on the Theatre Stage, Global Village, including Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin, Áine Ní Dhroighneáin, fiddler Toner Quinn and Fergal Ó Béarra accompanied by Ruairí Mac Con Iomaire in addition to the young singer Gráinne Ní Bheoláin from the group ‘Scread’. The renowned whistler Nóirín Ní Shúilleabháin will be joined by her brothers Seán and Frankie Gavin, with Seamie Ó Dowd on guitar, Ritchie Lyons on bodhrán and feature a special guest performance from Ceoltóirí Óga Charna, a group of youth performers from the Conamara Gaeltacht. Crann Óg, a young musical group from Gaoth Dobhair will perform on the Outdoor Stage, Global Village, showcasing Donegal music.

Beginning at 4pm, Conradh na Gaeilge will give a 15 minute workshop at the Bar Stage, Global Village, detailing the history of the language – including presentations, music and examples to explain how Irish survived and evolved over the years. Afterwards, a short taster class in the Irish language will take place offering a chance to learn a cúpla focal and an opportunity to practice them. A display of sean-nós dancing will take place afterwards.

An Taibhdhearc, the National Irish Language theatre company will perform a special show called ‘Seoda an Aigéin’ on the Theatre Stage, Global Village, at 5pm. The performance will include drama and literature performances by Peadar Ó Treasaigh and Séamus Ó hAodha, Irish songs with Seosamh Ó Flaithearta and Delia Boyce accompanied by Tom Cullivan, and extracts from Béal Faoi, a book written by Enda Ó Coineen, the chairman of Let’s Do It Global.

Cristóir Mac Cárthaigh, UCD Delargy Centre for Irish folklore will give a talk at the Theatre Stage, Global Village, on his latest book entitled Traditional Boats of Ireland, History, Folklore and Construction. A bilingual Irish and German book by Arndt Wigger and Feargal Ó Béarra, Scéalta Eachtraíochta ó Bhádóirí / Abenteurliche Erzählungen von Fischern, will be launched afterwards.

Crosbhóthar, a projected exhibition piece featuring work by visual and text based artists from the Gaeltacht curated by Artist Andrew Duggan can be seen all day in the Global Village.

A special performance by Altan, the internationally renowned Gaeltacht music group will be the highlight and finale of the Lá Gaelach and they will be accompanied on the Volvo Main Stage, Race Village by a number of special Gaeltacht guests. The concert which starts at 8.45pm is free to the public.

A photographic exhibition providing a rich contemporary visual experience celebrating the Connemara Pony will take place from Monday, July 2 to Monday July 9 in the Galway Arts Centre, 47 Dominic Street, Galway from 10am – 5.30pm.

There will also be fun events for families as well as speakers discussing maritime heritage and a demonstration on how to build a traditional boat. Musical group Altan will finish the day with a concert on the main stage with friends at 8.45pm. For more information on this event, call Sinéad Ní Dhomhnaill, Údarás na Gaeltachta, on 091 503100.

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