Northern Ireland news

Irish language fun day is first of its kind for Belfast

Belfast lord mayor Tina Black helps launch Spraoi Cois Lao an Irish language fun day in Custom House Square this weekend. Also pictured is Cuisle Nic Liam from Conradh na Gaeilge and Joe Herald of Féile an Phobail. Picture by Mal McCann
Suzanne McGonagle

THE first Irish language fun-day of its kind is to take place in Belfast city centre this weekend.

Hundreds of Irish speakers are expected to attend 'Spraoi Cois Lao' at Custom House Square on Saturday as part of celebrations to mark Irish Language Week.

The event, funded by Belfast City Council for the first time, will see an 'Irish-language carnival' of musicians, dancers, activities, games, food and entertainment. It has been organised by a new partnership between Conradh na Gaeilge and Féile an Phobail.

Cuisle Nic Liam from Conradh na Gaeilge said Spraoi Cois Lao is "an incredibly exciting event that aims to bring the Irish language back into the heart of Belfast city centre".

"The Irish language revival across Belfast is showing no signs of slowing down, and we want people to see and use the language more and more in the city centre," she said.

"We want the language to be celebrated, to be recognised, respected and normalised, especially in our shared spaces.

"Spraoi Cois Lao will be the biggest Irish language family fun-day of it’s kind here, and looks to build on the pioneering work of community groups right across Belfast.

"So whether you have a cúpla focal, are learning the language, have children in a local Gaelscoil, are fluent or are just generally curious about the language, Spraoi Cois Lao is the place for you this weekend."

Kevin Gamble, director of Féile an Phobail, added that the event "looks set to bring hundreds of Irish speakers, learners, families and friends together to celebrate the language and Irish culture".

"Bringing the Irish language into the heart of Belfast for an event like this is hugely important for the community and we want everyone in Belfast to come along and experience the joy of the Irish language through family events and activities.

"That is what Féile an Earraigh is all about, and with the new partnership with Seachtain na Gaeilge le Energia, we have an incredible opportunity to build on the fantastic Irish language and community events taking place across Belfast.

"The Irish language belongs to everyone and we want as many people as possible to come down and enjoy the day at Spraoi Cois Lao."

Spraoi Cois Lao takes place between 1pm and 5pm.

Northern Ireland news