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Brendan Brankin Exhibition – ‘The Flame’

Aonach Mhacha was honoured to host Brendan Brankin and his new 23 piece exhibition titled ‘The Flame’.

In his works the local artist displayed his artistic interpretations and shared a few thoughtful poems. He has a keen eye for the natural beauty that surrounds him and seeks (and often finds) meaning, joy, hope and purpose in its spectacular simplicity. On a night filled with music, food and fun we give special thanks to Kate from Cairde Teo for organising the event, to Mary from Seacht for the great catering and to John, Leo and Luíseach for the wonderful music.

Lecture: ‘The Linguistic Landscape of Armagh City , Past and Present ‘ delivered by Mícheál Ó Mainnín

The people of Armagh were delighted to welcome Professor Mícheál Ó Mainnín for a special event in Aonach Mhacha last week.

Ó Mainnín delivered a very interesting  lecture entitled ‘The Linguistic Landscape of Armagh City , Past and Present’.

Mícheál is originally from Sligo and he attended NUI Galway. When he first arrived in Belfast in 1987 to undertake work on place names in the north for the new project by Queens University, he had the opportunity to add to his knowledge on the 6 counties and the history related to them. Mícheál is very interested in the historical significance of Armagh City and  he was able to broaden his knowledge on the ecclesiastical Capital of Ireland from his extensive research over the years.

 

New Branding & Logo for CAIRDE Teo

From humble beginnings as a fledgling cultural enterprise formed by volunteer community activists in 2008, CAIRDE Teo has evolved into Armagh City’s leading Irish language community organisation with over 10 full and part-time employees engaged in the promotion and development of the native and indigenous language and culture of Ireland.

Located initially in a small office generously provided pro-gratis by Cumann Pobail Droim Airg [Eng: Drumarg Community Association], CAIRDE Teo rapidly grew in stature and status as they built up a loyal community following and expanded their range of cultural and educational services over the succeeding years.

Winners of a plethora of national, regional and local awards, CAIRDE Teo has received recognition from none other than President Michael D Higgins for their multi-faceted work with community groups, cultural agencies, educational institutions, arts bodies and heritage organisations.

In 2012, CAIRDE Teo established another limited company Aonach Mhacha with the assistance of Newry and Mourne Cooperative and Development Agency. Their first spin-off company went on to develop the ground-breaking £2.5 million Irish language and cultural arts centre on the site of the former fire station in the Shambles area of Armagh City.

A further new social enterprise was to follow in 2014 with the establishment of SEACHT (Social Enterprise for Arts, Culture, Heritage and Tourism) making CAIRDE Teo the owner of three successful Irish language companies.

CAIRDE Teo has emerged from the global pandemic with a new Irish Language Development Officer and an ambitious programme for growth and expansion. Currently providing weekly Irish language instruction to over 100 adults and having successfully delivered another popular summer camp to almost 100 children from Irish medium schools, the energetic team at CAIRDE Teo is currently rebranding with an exciting new logo and corporate identity.

As we are currently expanding our range of community services and developing an area network plan for the Irish language community across County Armagh, CAIRDE Teo has decided the time is right to launch an exciting new image and brand for our ambitious cultural cooperative.

CAIRDE has recently contracted the Creative Workers Cooperative, based in Belfast, to design a logo and branding package that will reflect their status as a vibrant, forward looking Irish language agency facing the myriad challenges of the C21st.

We hope that you are as pleased with the results as we are!

Arán & Im by Manchán Magan

From a deep ancient well, Manchán Magan offered insights into the wonders of the Irish Language with a sold out event at Aonach Mhacha. He explored potent words of landscape , terms of intuition and insight, and the many phrases that bring to the life the mysterious glory of our natural world. Our old history gave a magical taste to the Sourdough bread & butter he generously made for us.

We had a fantastic night at Machán’s fabulous Arán & Im show!

 

Nurturing the Gaelic Connection Between Ulster and Scotland

Perhaps not many people know that the Irish language as spoken in modern day Ulster [Gaeilge] derives from the same origins as the Scots Gaelic language [Gàidhlig] currently spoken in parts of Scotland.

CAIRDE Teo, the Irish Language Development Cooperative based in Armagh City, has long been nurturing and developing linkages between the two regions via inter-cultural exchanges, conferences, study and field trips and practical networking with their fellow Gaels in Scotland. CAIRDE representatives have always been keen to emphasise the strong indigenous links between the two Gaelic cultures, separated by Sruth na Maoile – the narrow strip of water between Ireland and Scotland.

In furtherance of these endeavours, CAIRDE has been supported by Colmcille, a partnership between Foras na Gaeilge in Ireland and Bòrd na Gàidhlig in Scotland: Iontaobhas Colmcille fosters communication and collaboration between the Scottish Gaelic and Irish Gaelic language communities.

In the latest cultural exchange programme, representatives from CAIRDE Teo and Cultúrlann Aonach Mhacha recently visited Inbhir Nis [Eng: Inverness], meaning “Mouth of the River Ness”. Inverness is a city in the Scottish Highlands. It is the administrative centre for The Highland Council and is regarded as the capital of the Highlands. The city lies near two important battle sites: the 11th-century battle of Blàr nam Fèinne against Norway which took place on the Aird, and the 18th century Battle of Cùil Lodair [Eng: Culloden] which took place on Culloden Moor.

CAIRDE Teo youth representative Tomás Mac Eadbhaird outlined the details of the trip:

“Our three-day trip to the Scottish Highlands was highly eventful and we packed in a lot of cultural activities, discussions, meetings and excursions.  We’d like to extend our thanks to the wonderful team in Inverness who are currently endeavouring to build their own Cultarlann [Eng: Cultural Centre] in the highland city. A full itinerary was arranged by our excellent hosts Mairéad and Anndra Fearghasdan that included walks, Gàidhlig classes, meetings, music, guided tours and presentations.

“Local teacher, writer and historian Ruaraidh  MacIlleathain guided us along the Inverness River and canal on Friday afternoon and regaled our group with entertaining stories from local folklore. Ruairidh interweaved the folk tales with examples of the shared heritage between the Gaels of Scotland and Ireland including connections with ColmcilleCú ChulainnFionn Mac Cuthmhaoil and many other legendary figures.

“The walk was followed in the evening by a beautiful meal with our hosts during which six Irish language activists from Armagh shared their experiences and stories with their cultural counterparts from Inverness”.

Tomás continued: “An early start on Saturday morning brought the Armagh Gaels to the picturesque conference suite of the Palace Hotel on the banks of the River Ness where they had a morning of instruction on conversational Scots Gàidhlig with language instructor, singer and cultural activist Susanne Mac Donald. After lunch, we had an epic guided tour of the Culloden Battlefield, where the Jacobite rising of 1745–46 was defeated by the British Goverment. Anndra Fearghasdan brought the full history of the battle to life, dressed in full Highland regalia from the mid C18th.

Later that evening, Aonach Mhacha founder Gearóid Ó Machail and his colleagues, Cáit Ní Choirbhín, Shannon Ní Chléirigh and Níamh Ní Móra delivered presentations on their work and activism to promote the Irish language in Cultúrlann Aonach Mhacha, at the invitation of the local committee from Cultarlann Inbhir Nis. The presentations were followed by performances from local musicians and singers Calum Ailig Mac a’ Mhaoilein, Coll Dòmhnallach, Saffron Hanvidge and our very own Luíseach Ní Thréinfhir from Armagh City.

“On our final day, we visited sites of historical and cultural interest around Inverness, including the famous Clava Cairns, a well-preserved Bronze Age cemetery complex of passage graves; ring cairns, kerb cairns and standing stones in a beautiful setting. A hugely significant and exceptionally well-preserved prehistoric site, Clava Cairns is a fantastic example of the distant history of Highland Scotland, dating back about 4,000 years”.

 

Zohar Exhibition Launch

A powerful night at the opening of the Palestinian Paintings exhibition at the Cultúrlann on Friday night.

The Palestinian Paintings, a series of works started in 2017 to address the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. Because of belonging to and growing up in Israel, Zohar had a familiar position to witness the Six Day War of 1967 and the subsequent occupation of the territories and the ongoing and increasing displacement of Palestinian citizens.

Exhibition of Palestinian paintings by Zohar available to view on the top floor of Aonach Mhacha until 1st November and will leave to continue its tour of Ireland.

A special thanks to our guest speakers,  Eyad S. Mashal, our excellent Palestinian comrade who spoke movingly about his homeland, to Dermot Kelly from IPSC Armagh, to Shannon Ní Chleirígh our Oifigeach Forbartha Ealaíne and to Joseph O Neill from Interfaith Ireland, to Máire Ni Phronntaigh for the catering and to Fra Hughes from Palestinian Aid.

Book Launch with Jake Mac Siacais

We had a wonderful evening launching Jake Mac Siacais new book in Aonach Mhacha in conjunction with Cairde Teo last Friday.

Mac Siacais described the periods he spent in prison during the Troubles together with stories from his childhood and the personal difficulties he faced as well – which underlines the title, ‘Surfing into life on a Bathboard: A Gaeilgeoir Republican’s Pathway to an Imperfect Peace.’ Mac Siacais opened up the discussion for the audience before a close to the night. We had a lovely event at Aonach Mhacha to launch this book by Jake. A night full of truth and full of hope!

 

New Tool Developed By An Dream Dearg

An Dream Dearg have developed a tool on their new website to put pressure on the local councils in the North (https://www.dearg.ie/ga/uirlisi/sraideanna). Due to the many barriers preventing residents who would like to submit an application for bilingual street signage in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council, an email is sent on your behalf to the council condemning the lack of progress, and demanding that they enforce better policies.

This is a unique opportunity for the Irish speaking community and for anybody in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council who would like to see bilingual street signage in their area; put pressure on the Council to enforce better policies and fulfill their duty under the European Charter.

If you make an application, be sure to tag @dreamdearg on social media in order to spread the word! We want everyone to be aware that this tool exists and that it can be used to make substantial changes regarding the visibility of the Irish Language in the North.

Check it out here