Irish culture was alive and well in the Longford library last week, as Seachtain na Gaeilge celebrations got underway.
Young and old came together on Wednesday last, March 4, to speak Irish and enjoy some traditional Irish poetry, dance, music and song.
Speaking on the day, Irish Officer with Longford County Council and event organiser Teresa O’Kelly explained that many public libraries throughout the country were celebrating the occasion.
“It’s traditional really to have a celebration for Seachtain na Gaeilge in the library because it’s a cultural centre.”
Adding that it allows her to gauge the level of demand for events like this to become a regularity, Teresa added, “I just see it as a lovely opportunity for people to come together and celebrate our culture.
“I think Irish is a beautiful language, and it’s our language.”
Opening the event, Teresa explained to attendees that the aim was to celebrate our language and our culture, and they did just that, with musicians Una Campbell, Mary Hughes, Ann O’Donnell, Noel Sweeney and Joyce O’Hara providing a wonderful soundtrack for a highly enjoyable afternoon.
Spurred on by the beautiful music, some of those gathered shared their own songs, poems and in one instance, a sean nós dance.
One of those in attendance, Michael Kenny, described the event as “refreshing” adding that the music and song meant that everyone got “a little out of it” regardless of their ability to speak the language.
“I’ve an interest in the Irish. I’d like to see the heritage of it being kept on,” he continued, stating that “culture is very important”.
Co-organiser Geraldine Ryan said that it was “great for a first outing,” going on to add that it’s “amazing to see all the different talent we have, young and old.”
Originally from Canada, Joyce O’Hara was one of the five musicians who kept the crowd entertained. Though she had no Irish herself, she explained it was easily picked up from the words of songs.
“Getting together, speaking in Irish, even if you only have a little you’re learning,” she added.
Margaret Horan, who treated the crowd gathered to a few songs as Gaeilge, said that “the atmosphere was lovely,” while musician Mary Hughes remarked that it was amazing how quickly her Irish came back to her at the event.
County Librarian Mary Carleton Reynolds was of course on hand to help mark the occasion, happily adding, “It was great to see this gathering today and it just shows how important our culture is.”
Pointing out that the lunchtime event was “a nice celebration of Irish culture”, musician Ann O’Donnell summed up her opinion on it i nGaeilge.
“Bhain mé taitneamh as.
“Tá sé [tábhachtach] mar mura n-úsáideann tú an teanga, cailleann tú [í].”
Further events have been organised for the library for Seachtain na Gaeilge, including table quizzes for primary school pupils throughout Longford.
For more information on Seachtain na Gaeilge and the events taking place throughout the country, visit www.snag.ie.