Sunday 24 March 2019 06:40:39 PM

Irish Language Week for Castlewellan
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Glór Uachtar Tíre is running a number of exciting events to celebrate Irish language Week/Seachtain na Gaeilge in Castlewellan.
Despite the name, ‘Irish Language Week’ or Seachtain na Gaeilge, this international event is actually celebrated the fortnight preceding St Patrick’s Day every year! And the local Irish language group, Glór Uachtar Tíre, requires the full fortnight because they have so many events on this year including a lecture and mini-concert, a film and participation in the St Patrick’s Day parade.

GUT Whose language march 13The local celebrations will commence on 9 March at 8.00pm in the Lodge, Castlewellan, where the group will host a cross-community event entitled ‘Whose Language is it Anyway’. This is a talk presented by Ian Malcolm examining contemporary Protestants’ perspectives on the Irish Language. Ian, originally from Lurgan, was a journalist for the Newsletter, before returning to full-time education as a mature student at Queen’s University Belfast in 2000. The BBC’s Lynette Fye will be the compere for this night.

Ian’s decision to study Irish was inspired by a lifelong fascination with Irish. Three years as a journalist-by-night, a student-by-day and a single parent in between paid off when he graduated with first class honours, enabling him to undertake doctoral studies with funding from the prestigious Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Ian’s research culminated in his book ‘Towards Inclusion: Protestants and the Irish language’ (2009, Blackstaff Press). Protestants and unionists have nothing to fear from the Irish language, according to Ian, who examines the historic Protestant engagement with and discovers what young Protestants today think of the language

Ian works as a translator/interpreter and freelance language consultant. His specialist lectures on the Irish language from a Protestant perspective have taken him all over Ireland and beyond. A regular commentator in the Irish language media, he served as a member of the RTÉ Authority for three years. Ian’s talk promises to be well-informed and interesting and is particularly current today when recent protests regarding the Union Flag have brought the subject of identity right to the top of Northern Ireland’s public agenda once again.

This talk will be followed by a mini-concert by two vibrant new bands. The first is an exciting young group called Le Chéile made up of local musicians; Matthew McAstocker, Mialughain O’Donnell, Niamh Bloomer, Anna-Mae Ryan and Chris Poland. Le Chéile will provide a zestful, quality supporting act for the night.

Sí Van, another recently established band will follow. Sí Van’s members are all established musicians in their own right. Tiona McSherry, Niamh Parsons and Mary Dillon have teamed up to form a Celtic-style super band. The women will be accompanied on the night by Paul McSherry and Dónal O’Connor, both of whom have recorded and performed with musicians such as Brian Kennedy.

An exciting night with quality entertainment is guaranteed. Tickets are £6 at the door. For more information contact Glór Uachtar Tíre on 028 437 70331 or

The programme of events will be posted up on Down News separately.

irish event copy