31/12/12: Start of Bliain na Gaeilge



Local sporting legend Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh and renowned Kerry musician Pádraig Ó Sé officially started Bliain na Gaeilge 2013 and its yearlong celebration of the Irish language with a personal pre-recorded message from President Michael D Higgins in Daingean Uí Chúis, Co. Kerry, starting the year with a programme of special events before the annual fireworks on New Year’s Eve, 31 December 2012.


Thousands of people gathered at the marina and heard President Higgins’s inspirational message for Irish speakers everywhere on New Year’s Eve. There were fireworks for all the family to enjoy at 10.00pm before ringing in the New Year as Gaeilge by singing Auld Lang Syne in Irish, a translation of which was sent to local schools and was also distributed amongst the crowd on the night.


The revival of the Irish language began 120 years ago with the founding of The Gaelic League, or Conradh na Gaeilge as it is now known, and almost 2 million people on the island of Ireland claim to have Irish today. The Bliain na Gaeilge festivities aims to provide these people with thousands of different opportunities to use Irish throughout 2013.


Speaking about Bliain na Gaeilge 2013, President Michael D Higgins noted how Douglas Hyde, the first President of Ireland, chaired the first meeting of Conradh na Gaeilge in July 1893 and said: “With minority languages under pressure around the world at present, Irish has never had a more important role to play. The Irish language is at the core of our culture and our unique identity. As the President of Ireland, I am delighted to wholeheartedly support Bliain na Gaeilge – Irish is our language and its future depends on us.”


President Higgins is encouraging everyone to use Irish with their friends, relatives, colleagues and anyone else that they can in 2013, as well as checking out the events listed online at www.gaeilge2013.ie and attending some of them. The President also urged the public to take part in the various Bliain na Gaeilge competitions, to go on holidays to the Gaeltacht, and to encourage friends from abroad to come to Ireland in 2013 to attend some of the Bliain na Gaeilge events and to take part in The Gathering Ireland.


Julian de Spáinn, National Coordinator of Bliain na Gaeilge explains: “Bliain na Gaeilge is a year-long celebration of the language that aims to motivate and empower people to use Irish next year, both within Irish-speaking areas and beyond. We are delighted to have started Bliain na Gaeilge 2013 in the Corca Dhuibhne Gaeltacht this New Year’s, and would like to take the opportunity to thank the Kerry Gaeltacht community for helping us to organise such a fantastic night in Daingean Uí Chúis.”


Over 100 other language and culture organisations from across the country will be taking part in this important language initiative, including the likes of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, TG4, and USI. As well as finding information on national Bliain na Gaeilge events, you can also register local events on www.gaeilge2013.ie.


For more details, see www.gaeilge2013.ie; www.facebook.com/gaeilge2013; or Twitter @gaeilge2013. Foras na Gaeilge and Údarás na Gaeltachta support Bliain na Gaeilge 2013. Bígí Linn – Let’s Celebrate Our Language!


What can you do as part of Bliain na Gaeilge 2013?

  • * Use Irish with your friends, your relatives, your colleagues and anyone else you can in 2013
  • * Check out all the events on our website at www.gaeilge2013.ie & attend some of them
  • * Take part in the competitions – there are great prizes to be won!
  • * Make the decision to improve your Irish or learn it from scratch in 2013 – you could even take part in the Líofa 2015 initiative
  • * Go on holidays to the Gaeltacht
  • * Encourage friends from abroad to come to Ireland in 2013 to attend some of the Bliain na Gaeilge events and to take part in The Gathering Ireland 2013
  • * Buy products made in Ireland to help support the environment in which we’re promoting Irish