World's Largest Language Festival Opens - Irish President Hails the Resurgence of the Gaelic Tongue

Ireland’s President Michael Higgins has launched Seachtain na Gaeilge 2016, the world’s largest Language Festival, in a speech at the opening of the Conradh na Gaeilge Ard-Fheis (Gaelic League Annual Conference). Higgins opened the conference, with the Language Festival to follow during the first two weeks of March, with an optimistic appraisal of the current and future state of the Irish tongue. Referring to statistics which point to a strengthening of the Irish Language revival, Higgins is quoted on the Conradh na Gaeilge website:

“With regard to the statistics I mentioned, they ought to be a pillar of hope for the Irish-speaking community in so far as we are going in the right direction. While there were fundamental weaknesses to be found in the various approaches taken by our governments as regards the language since the foundation of the State, it is obvious that the populace’s Irish-language ability, and the good will they feel towards Irish, is a strong foundation upon which we can strengthen and expand the use of the language. The language revival is happening and it is succeeding, and it will endure until we realise our aim.”

The Gaelic League (Conradh na Gaelige) is the main voluntary community organization that promotes the Irish language in Ireland and abroad. The League’s primary objective is the reinstatement of the Irish language as the common tongue of Ireland.  Since its founding in 1893, members have been actively promoting Irish in every aspect of life in Ireland, from legal and educational affairs to the development of media and services through Irish.  Members of the Gaelic League are in the forefront of campaigns to strengthen the rights of the Irish speaking community. 

The Full Text of the Gaelic League’s announcement on Higgin’s address and on the opening of the Language Festival can be found on the organisations web site linked below.  Following are excerpts:

The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, commended Conradh na Gaeilge for “standing their ground from the time of its establishment to today,” and wished the organisation the best of luck with its efforts, before he officially launched Seachtain na Gaeilge 2016, an international Irish-language festival that over 750,000 people around the world will take part in from 1 – 17 March 2016 again this year.  Groups working within the community to continuously promote the Irish language will also be honoured at the Ard-Fheis Dinner in Trinity College, Dublin tonight (Saturday, 27 February 2016), as the Gradaim Chonradh na Gaeilge awards will be presented to branches and individual members of the organisation in recognition of their work on behalf of the language as part of the Ard-Fheis for the first time.


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