There’s no doubt about it, March belongs to the Irish. It’s not just St. Patrick’s Day, either- right now, we are in the middle of Seachtain na Gaeilge. Though ” Seachtain na Gaeilge” is usually translated as “Irish Language Week,” the festival actually runs for two weeks each year.
The first Seachtain na Gaeilge was held in 1903, by the Irish language organization Conradh na Gaeilge. Since then, it has evolved into an international celebration of Irish language and culture, according to the Seachtain na Gaeilge website:
“The festival has built up incredible momentum in recent years, becoming the largest celebration of our native language and culture held in Ireland every year and sweeping other countries up in the whirlwind along the way. With events ranging from simple conversational evenings to street céilís; speed dating to wine tasting it gives everyone a chance to experiment with Irish whether fluent from youth or only dipping their toe in for the first time. Organisations, local councils, schools, libraries, music, sporting & cultural bodies all register their Seachtain na Gaeilge events with us.”
So, what’s going on this year? Tomorrow in Dublin, there will be a performance of Irish ballads and other traditional music .Meanwhile, across the sea in America, Moya Brennan will be performing in Boston. During the two week period, schools across Ireland are having traditional dances called céilithe. Libraries are hosting free Irish classes for people who’d like to learn. Irish karaoke nights, dances and bingo are also popular ways of celebrating Seachtain na Gaeilge.
To celebrate, you might want to teach yourself a little bit of the language. If so, check out our entry on Gaelic translators for some great online resources.