Seachtain na Gaeilge

Seachtain na Gaeilge is a very important annual highlight in our heritage, translating as “Irish Language Week” – although in reality it runs for more than a fortnight, from St. David’s Day on March 1st, until St. Patrick’s Day on the 17th.

The festival is celebrated not just in Ireland, but all across the world, giving all those who are Irish at Heart an opportunity to reconnect with the language of the Emerald Isle. It is celebrated with music, quizzes, dances, parades, and sporting events – and has been a fixture in the Irish calendar since the Gaelic revival in 1902.

 

 

Those of you who are regularly readers of our monthly gazette, will no doubt have picked up a few phrases here and there – with the Seanfhocail (Irish proverbs) and Cúpla Fócail (a couple of words) sections. However, this year – why not make an active effort to bond with your roots – either through learning a bit of the language or unearthing some culture or traditions that were previously unknown to you.  

Every year the festival has a new slogan, with 2022’s mantra being “Bain Triail Aisti”, which means “Surprise yourself”. I personally love this concept when it comes to the Irish language, as I think it is quite often portrayed as a tricky pursuit to master. However, once you get used to the sound of the words, you’ll find that you pick up the flow quite easily.

 

Since I have your attention, why don’t we start right here with some sage words of wisdom (and some guidelines on how to pronounce them):

 

Nuair a bhíonn an fíon istigh, bíonn an ciall amuigh

When the wine is in, sense is out.

Noor ah veen awn feen ish-tig, veen awn keel ah-mih

 

Ádh na nÉireannach

Luck of the Irish

Aw nah nair-ih-nuck

 

"Tá an sléibh mustard maith"

The Mountain is a good mustard

Taw awn shlave mus-turd maw

 

Tá cairde níos fearr ná óir

Friends are better than gold

Taw coor-jah nees fyar naw or

 

 

 

Ní dhéanfaidh smaoineamh an treabhadh duit.

You'll never plough a field turning it over in your mind.

Nee yayn-fee smeen-uhv awn trahv-ah dit

 

Bíonn sé níos dorcha roimh breacadh an lae

It’s always darkest before the dawn

Been shay nees durk-ah rihv brack-ah awn lay

Tugann geimhreadh ceoch earrach séimh, geimhreadh séimh earrach ceoch

A misty winter brings a pleasant spring, a pleasant winter a misty spring

Tug-in gihv-rah kyowck arr-uck shayv, gihv-rah shayv arr-uck kyowck

 

 

Incorporating a few of these into your day-to-day exchanges would be a lovely way to acknowledge Seachtain na Gaeilge and who knows, it might even catch on – strengthening the Irish language in whichever corner of the world you currently occupy.

If you’re not much of a linguist, there are still plenty of ways in which you can revel in Ireland’s roots and culture. Why not add some Irish language music to your regular playlists? There is a huge selection readily available on streaming sites such as Spotify, and you can tune in to the cadences of the language, without necessarily having to know their meaning. There is a pretty varied range of Irish artists who have recorded music in their native language, including Enya and Clannad, The Dubliners, Primordial, and The Corrs. Even Kate Bush dabbles in her Irish heritage with her soulful rendition of Mná na hÉireann (Women of Ireland).

 

 

The Seachtain na Gaeilge website has a whole selection of interesting ways to get involved, although you might have to switch on the English translation to understand them all if you’re not quite up to speed with your Irish lessons! There is even the option to host your very own official event, bringing a little bit of Ireland to wherever you might be. However, if you’d like to celebrate in a more low-key manner, why not check out some of the fun Irish twists on games that they have shared on the site?

Once you’ve reconnected with your Irish roots, if you decide that you’d like to stay in touch, then our monthly gazette is freely available to all of our subscribers; featuring recipes, Irish phrases, poetry and old stories – it’s the perfect way to be Irish in mind as well as at heart!

What’s your favourite way to immerse yourself in the culture of Ireland? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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