Letterkenny to host Irish language festival

AN IRISH language festival will be held for the first time in Letterkenny next weekend aimed at encouraging as many people as possible to come out and speak the language in a social setting.
The Féile an Fhómhair festival will run from October 1 to 3 and will see a marquee set up in the Town Park as part of the celebrations.
Speaking to the Donegal News yesterday Bairbre Uí Chathail, Irish language development co-ordinator for Letterkenny said the festival is for anybody with an interest in the language.
“One of the aims of the strategic plan for the Irish language in Letterkenny is to increase the opportunity for people to come together to speak
Irish so it is really important we crease social occasions,” said Ms Uí Chathail, who is employed by Líonra Leitir Ceanainn.
A social meal will be held on the Friday, a Béile na Féile at the Yellow Pepper where three tables of six have been booked to allow people to meet up in a safe environment with other Gaeilgeoirí.
On the Saturday there will be  marquee in the Town Park where a number of workshops will be held- Boomwhacker music, yoga through Irish, storytelling and music and movement.
In the afternoon families from different ethnic communities are being invited to come along and enjoy some traditional music, learn some Irish, learn how to write their name in the old Irish script and also in Arabic script.
“This cultural exchange is important,” said Ms Uí Chathail.
“It is really important to bring families and communities together especially after Covid and create something positive and engaging.
“The Irish language is for the whole community and it is really important that we reach out to people who may not have any background in the language at all.
“We are inviting families who have come to Ireland, to Letterkenny and to Donegal to come along.”
On the Sunday several guided walks will take place at Muckish. There will be a three hour morning walk for adults while a shorter walk more suited to families will take place in the afternoon. The guide will be Seamus Doohan from Walking Donegal, a qualified guide and native Irish speaker.
Ms Uí Chathail said the festival, which is funded by Foras na Gaeilge, is something they hope will become an annual event.
There has been a surge of interest in the language particularly Líonra Leitir Ceanainn’s Irish classes. There has been such a demand for their intermediate level classes that they have had to start a second class over Zoom to meet demand.
Beginners Irish classes are starting this Tuesday evening over Zoom while Burrito Loco has offered their premises for in-person classes on Wednesdays for beginners.
Two reading clubs are also being run on over Zoom on Thursday mornings at 10am for people with a fairly good level of Irish and on Thursdays at 8pm for those who want to develop their fluency, vocabulary and understanding of grammar but in an enjoyable and engaging way.
Anyone who would like to attend classes or the reading clubs can get in touch with Ms Uí Chathail by email ( or phone (086-0751663).

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