Celebrating 25 years of Ealaín na Gaeltachta
Culture//Events//Irish Language

Celebrating 25 years of Ealaín na Gaeltachta

As Ealaín na Gaeltachta celebrates 25 years, they shine a spotlight on the vibrant arts scene in the Gaeltacht for ten days in November. Find out all that's in store here...

From Friday November 10th to Sunday 19th, there will be 21 events in 14 venues across the Gaeltacht, 100 classes and arts events for young people as well as two festivals (An Fhéile Bheag Filíochta in An Daingean and Féile Liteartha Chorca Dhuibhne). This diverse programme offers a window in to the lively arts landscape in the Gaeltacht, even in these darker evenings of winter.

The celebration kicked off on Friday in Donegal with Blaidaire an entertainment show presented by Áine Ni Bhreisleáin broadcasting live for over two hours from RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, showcasing the very best of Gaeltacht artists from around the country and chatting about the history of Ealaín na Gaeltachta and what their supports have meant these last 25 years to Gaeltacht communities.

Later that Friday, the 10th of November, Údarás na Gaeltachta in partnership with Ealaín na Gaeltachta announced an exciting new opportunity in recognition of Clannad’s influence on the Irish language through their music.

The launch of Ealain na Gaeltachta’s current strategy (2023-2027) will also form part of the exciting programme. In addition a two day gathering celebrating many years of international collaborations with our Celtic neighbours will place, on Thursday and Friday, 16th and 17th of November. Celtic collaborations over the last 25 years will be celebrated with musicians such as Síle Denvir, Máire Ní Churraoin, and James Dumbleton from the island of Guernsey, amongst others.

Throughout the celebration, Ealaín na Gaeltachta will celebrate the creative communities, outstanding artists, invaluable venues and arts organisations which are the essence of the Gaeltacht and central to the vibrant life of the Gaeltacht arts.

Established in 1997 as a partnership between the Arts Council and Údarás na Gaeltachta, Ealaín na Gaeltachta’s mission is to develop contemporary and traditional arts in the Gaeltacht. They have supported 6 arts venues across the Gaeltacht areas and, this year, supported 29 festivals. Ealaín’s support for individual artists includes a bursary award which offered support to 53 artists this year and a residency for a Gaeltacht artist at the Centre Culturel in Paris each year.

The exceptional artistic life that is flourishing in the Gaeltacht areas is demonstrated by the unprecedented demand for Ealaín na Gaeltachta’s funding support over the past few years. They are staunchly pushing for funding to meet this demand.

"The arts play a fundamental part in Gaeltacht life. There is a rich repertoire of the Gaeltacht’s cultural heritage that has been preserved and strengthened over time in music, storytelling and drama in particular. The arts foster an imaginative and creative image of the Gaeltacht and the Irish language, serving as a bridge to the exciting life of the language." Tómas Ó Síocháin, Príomhfheidhmeannach ar Údarás na Gaeltachta.

Micheál Ó Fearraigh, Feidhmeannach Forbartha Ealaíne commented by quoting the well-known Rann na Feirste writer, Seosamh Mac Grianna: "Tá an saol mór lán den fhilíocht don té dar dual a thuigbhéail agus ní thráfaidh an tobar go deo na ndeor". Micheál Fearraigh also added that this is not only true for poetry but is true for the arts in the Gaeltacht. It is a privilege for us in Ealaín na Gaeltachta to have had the opportunity to support the development of traditional and contemporary arts over the past 25 years.”

International work has been a feature of Ealaín’s work for many years, with a particular emphasis on fostering relationships with other minoritised-language communities. They will reflect on some of this work during the celebration, as well as bringing together new generations of artists from different countries.

Ealaín has been dedicated to supporting young people to engage with the arts since 1999 and, since 2019, the Cuisle initiative, a programme in the traditional arts for young people throughout the Gaeltacht began in 2019 with support from The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media (€1.6 million between 2019 and 2022). A pilot programme in Drama for Young People in the Gaeltacht began in 2021, supported by the Department of TCEGSM to the value of €150,000. Throughout the year, their work directly engages with at least 2,534 young people.

This week is a celebration of all that work and the arts communities of the Gaeltacht. Because of the people who generously share their arts and creativity with us, the Gaeltacht is a wonderful place to live. So, join the celebration from the 10th to the 19th of November!

Find out more by checking out the Ealaín na Gaeltachta website and following them on social media.

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