Irish language

One of the most Gaelic - and fun - festivals in the whole of Gaeldom

BRENDÁN MAC SUIBHNE: The Donegal-born Professor of History at Centenary College in New Jersey launched his new book, The End of Outrage, during Fleadh Feirste last Thursday
Robert McMIllen


Go mbeannaí Dia daoibh agus bhur gcéad míle fáilte isteach chuig the Bluffer’s Guide to Irish.

Well, the Bluffer is just about getting over the Gaelic-est weekend he has had in a long time.

The reason for the Gaelfest was Fleadh Feirste, an annual festival to celebrate and promote an Cheathrú Ghaeltachta - the Gaeltacht Quarter in west Belfast.

The Bluffer particularly enjoys it because of the variety of events and the first event last Thursday he went to was a seoladh leabhair - a book launch at Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich on the Falls Road.

The book in question was The End of Outrage by Breandán Mac Suibhne, Professor of History in Centenary College, New Jersey. 

The End of Outrage focusses on a small community in west Donegal i ndiaidh an Ghorta Mhóir - after the famine in what is part history book, and the title refers to the end of the foréigean polaitiúil - political violence that was prevalent in Donegal at the time and also to let go of the horrors of the famine and to start life as an úr -  afresh.

After the book was duly launched by an léirmheastóir litríochta - the literary critic Patricia Craig, the company headed downstairs for the opening of a new  taispeántas ealaíne - art exhibition, Immeall Tíre - Edge of the Land in which visual artist Susan Hughes and fiddler Danny Diamond explore their experiences of the land and seascape, and the fiddle traditions of Donegal and Norway.

Fíon - wine, cáis - cheese and ealaín art - Gaels have definitely come a long way since the tatie-hokin’!

The Bluffer had to give the geamaireacht - pantomime a miss but he hopes to catch it 6/7/8 or 9 December. 

Friday was full of greann - comedy beginning with ceardlanna coimicí - cartoon workshops and, that night, a short comedy based on Father Ted which was then followed by a lovely gig with the up and coming trio, Ériu.

This was after Lasadh na Soilse - the Christmas lights switch on by Pantomime character, Lára Loingseach.

Saturday was also choc-a-bloc with activities, starting with another book launch, this time of Conaire Mór by Diarmuid Johnson, Buaiteoir Leabhair Gaeilge na Bliana 2017 - winner of the Irish Book of the

Year Award, Scéalaíocht do pháistí - storytelling  for children with  Seanán Mac Aoidh while Fleadh Feirste scored a real coup in bringing ríshliocht an cheoil - a musical dynasty Na Mooneys to the Cultúrlann for a fabulous afternoon gig.

That night, however, saw the main event of the festival with the annual Cothaigh - Nurture dinner at Bia restaurant.

This was a celebration of the huge achievements of the Irish language community, those “ordinary” pioneers, innovators and visionaries whose sole aim was to improve society for everybody via the Irish language and that journey is just beginning as guest speaker Gerry Adams insisted.

Sunday heralded a guided walk on Divis  Mountain.

Nature, music, literature, education, art, ideas, food, creativity and a lot of fun - all wrapped up in one festival. 


an Cheathrú Ghaeltachta (un kehroo gayltakhta) - the Gaeltacht Quarter

seoladh leabhair (shawloo lyore) - a book launch

i ndiaidh an Ghorta Mhóir (i nyay un gorta wore) - after the Great Famine

foréigean polaitiúil (foraygin poalitchooil) - political violence 

as an úr (iss un oor) - afresh

an léirmheastóir litríochta (un layrvastore litchreeakhta) - the litrary critic

taispeántas ealaíne (tashpaantis aleena) 

- art exhibition 

fíon (feean) - wine

cáis (caash) - cheese 

ealaín (aleen) - art 

geamaireacht (gyamerakht) - pantomime

greann (graan) - comedy 

ceardlanna coimicí (cardlaana kimikee) - cartoon workshops

Lasadh na Soilse (lasoo ne solshe) - the lights switch on

Buaiteoir Leabhair Gaeilge na Bliana (boitchoire lyore gaylicka na bleeana) - winner of the Irish Book of the Year Award

Scéalaíocht do pháistí (shkayleeakht daw faashtee) - storytelling  for children

ríshliocht an cheoil (reelikht un kyoil) - a musical dynasty 

cothaigh (cawhee) - nurture 

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