Get with the programme for Seachtain na Gaeilge across Ireland in 2019
2019-02-01 00:00:00 -

By Jessica Ní Mháirtín


The biggest events of the year to celebrate the Irish language are quickly approaching as countries all over the world will take part in Seachtain na Gaeilge from 1-17 March.

This year’s events come after 2018’s Bliain na Gaeilge, or ‘Year of the Irish Language’. And organisers Conradh na Gaeilge hope to capitalise on that momentum for a bigger and better Seachtain (Week in Irish, though events run for more than a fortnight).

The best thing about Seachtain na Gaeilge is that anyone at all can take part. You don’t have to be a fluent Irish speaker, and you certainly don’t have to be Irish. If you’ve an interest in the language you might bain triail aisti (surprise yourself).

Last year’s ambassadors for Seachtain na Gaeilge were Tipperary senior hurler and teacher Noel McGrath, TG4 presenter Caitlín Nic Aoidh and Snapchat star James Patrice — representing three different standards of Irish, those with only a ‘cúpla focal’ included.

In an interview with Caitlín Nic Aoidh, there was something very friendly and inviting about how she encouraged those who had the vaguest interest in the language to step up and give it a go.

“A lot of people are intimidated by fluency in a language that they don’t understand but it’s the kind of thing where everyone starts off at the beginning and others may learn quicker than some,” said Caitlín.

“But if I can encourage at least one person to start learning the Irish language, as slow as their own pace may be, I’ll be very happy. Irish is a beautiful language.”

Events for this year’s Seachtain na Gaeilge are already in the planning stages. Some previous and successful events over the years have been céilís, table quizzes, debates, talent shows, coffee mornings, exhibitions and guest speakers. And the vast majority of events are free.

The idea behind Seachtain na Gaeilge is not to make a profit in financial terms. The most successful events are the ones that have people enjoying themselves and that inspire people enough to continue to learn the Irish language.

It’s not uncommon for people who are inspired by these events to go on to host their own in subsequent years.

Fourteen-year-old Nicole Gillen from Wexford takes part in Seachtain na Gaeilge with her school annually. “Making the events as fun and as relaxed as possible is very important because you don’t want to give someone a bad experience with learning the language. It might knock their confidence and they may not wish to continue learning it.

“The advice I would give someone running an event in their local community would be to see how other events were carried out first. Make sure to try different events so you can see what worked and what didn’t.

“Also it’s really important to listen to what people have to say after the events, too. Don’t be afraid to ask them what they enjoyed most about it, then try to apply that to your own event.

If you need some help organising your event, Nicole suggests sending a message on social media to Seachtain na Gaeilge to ask for advice.

To find more details about organising your own event, or to keep up to date about Seachtain na Gaeilge 2019, visit, or


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