On Thursday of Fourth Week, An Cumann Gaelach celebrated Lá na Gaeilge, an annual tradition in Trinity dedicated to Irish language and culture. The day proved to be one of the most successful in the society’s history, with an extremely varied timetable of events.
The first event of the day was the Bricfeasta Gaelach, which consisted of a free full Irish breakfast, lining the stomachs of around 100 Gaeilgeoirí for the day ahead. An Cumann Gaelach then collaborated with Oifig na Gaeilge for a unique art tour around the college as Gaeilge. Those who took part learned about the history of several valuable pieces of art work in Trinity, such as ‘Sfera con Sfera’ and the ‘Apples and Atoms’ sculpture. After the tour, students were invited to Seomra na Gaeilge for a lunch that was sponsored by Oifig na Gaeilge.
In keeping with tradition, the Cumann Gaelach held the first round of the Oireachtas debating competition, with participants debating the topical motion that Trump should be removed from the presidential race due to his comments made about women. Míde Griffin and Bill Walsh were the chosen to proceed to the next round to represent Trinity at Oireachtas na Samhna on the 5th of November.
Without a doubt, the highlight of the day was the talk given by guest speaker Aengus Mac Grianna, the RTÉ news broadcaster. Former Reachtaire of An Cumann Gaelach in UCD, Mac Grianna spoke about his background with the Irish language, from speaking it at home, to studying Irish and politics in UCD, to the ways in which his bilingualism has helped him to advance his career in journalism. He also spoke about the role of the Irish language in the lead up to the Marriage Referendum last year. He mentioned how he himself had to remain impartial during the campaigning period due to his employment with RTÉ.
Mac Grianna finished his talk by speaking of how languages are simply an instrument which can be used to connect people with each other and with the history of a nation. He described this as ‘Draíocht na Gaeilge’ or the magic of Irish. The members in attendance voted unanimously to award Mac Grianna with honorary membership of An Cumann Gaelach.
Lá na Gaeilge finished with An Oíche Gaylach in Prhomo, another first for An Cumann Gaelach. Speaking to Trinity News, Reachtaire Áine Haberlin expressed that “Lá na Gaeilge showed just how strong the Irish language is in Trinity and the willingness of people to speak it, students and staff alike.”
“This was just one day, a day which highlights the Irish language and makes it more accessible to people. It doesn’t have to be confined to one day though and hopefully through the variety of events run by An Cumann Gaelach during that day, people’s love of the language will be reignited for months beyond Lá na Gaeilge”