The annual Irish language festival, Seachtain na Gaeilge, is well underway across Ireland and across the world and the Gaels of Armagh have plenty to look forward to over the coming weeks. Cairde Teo’s bilingual hillwalking group, Siúil, is organising a special walk on Saturday 4 March to kick off the celebrations and will be meeting up with Pobal an Ghleanna in south Tyrone to take part in an interesting guided walk to St Patrick’s Chair and Well outside Augher. The walk commences at Clogher Valley Community Centre on the Augher to Aughnacloy Road at 1pm.
On Tuesday 7 March, local conversation group Comhrá & Craic will be organising a special Seachtain na Gaeilge celebration with a meal at Embers Café and Restaurant at 6pm. The weekly Ciorcal Comhrá Ard Mhacha group will meet up on the same evening at 9.30pm in the Northern Bar. On Wednesday 8 March, a large crowd is expected for an interesting talk from Gerry Oates on the local placenames of Armagh. The talk will commence at 7.15pm at the venue of the weekly Irish language classes, St Catherine’s College. The annual Ulster GAA Irish langauge quiz will take place on Friday 10 March at the Athletic Grounds in Armagh at 7.30pm.
There will be a full programme of Irish language events in Armagh on Saturday 11 March. A family picnic will take place at 12.30pm in Armagh’s hidden gem at the Astro Park, which is located in the grounds of Armagh Observatory. Families are asked to meet up at 12.30pm at Armagh Planetarium carpark. In the event of inclement weather conditions, the picnic will take place inside Armagh Planetarium. The weekly Irish language mass also takes place at St Patrick’s College at 5.30pm. That evening, the fantastic Belfast singer, Gráinne Holland, plays a concert at the Marketplace Theatre at 8.00pm and tickets are available from the Theatre or on the Marketplace website.
Cairde Teo are organising a special Irish language storytime at Armagh City Library at 3.15pm on Tuesday 14 March for young kids from local gaelscoils. At 6.30pm, the Culture Committee of Armagh GAA are inviting representatives of Armagh GAA clubs to the Athletic Grounds to record a video that will promote and encourage the singing of Amhrán na bhFiann at GAA games, events and functions. Later that evening, there will be a special Seachtain na Gaeilge party and traditional session as part of Ciorcal Comhrá Ard Mhacha in the Northern Bar from 9.30pm. On Wednesday 15 March, the weekly youth club, Cumann Óige Ard Mhacha, which runs every Thursday at Sherry’s Field, will be going on a trip to JumpBox indoor trampoline park in Banbridge. BBC Radio Ulster’s Irish language show, Blas, will also broadcast live from the Irish language classes at St Catherine’s that evening from 7pm.
On St Patrick’s Day itself on Friday 17 March, Armagh’s two cathedrals will play host to Irish language religious celebrations. At 9am, an Irish language mass will be read in the Catholic cathedral, while a Eucharistic Service will take place at 10am in the Church of Ireland cathedral. The Gaels of south Armagh will also recognise Seachtain na Gaeilge, with a special family day on Saturday 18 March. Staarting with Irish classes for all levels, the day will also include drama, music, storytelling, puppet shows, yoga, talks, dancing and a special concert with Bothán.
And as if that is not enough, the Marketplace Theatre in Armagh will play host to the Ulster final of the annual Irish language schools drama festival, Féile Scoildrámaíochta, on Thursday 23 and Friday 24 March. For more information on Armagh’s Seachtain na Gaeilge programme, contact Seán at email@example.com or 028 3751 5229.