BELFAST City Hall is to be lit up in green this evening to mark 130 years of the Irish language advocacy group, Conradh na Gaeilge.
Sinn Féin’s vice president Michelle O’Neill is to deliver a key note speech at the event where musical performances and archival material will also be on display.
The organisation was founded on July 31, 1893, with curator and historian Cuan Ó Seireadáin praising its “immeasurable” contribution to Irish life since then.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to mark this very special occasion at Belfast City Hall,” he said.
“This pluralist cross-community Irish language revival organisation, was founded on O’Connell Street Dublin on this day 130 years ago and has left an immeasurable mark on society here as we know it.
“The organisation’s archives, along with long-running research, illustrate the decisive impact that Conradh na Gaeilge, the Gaelic League, its members and employees have had on Irish history and the development of the language, which was under existential pressure at the time of the organisation’s inception.”
He added he was hopeful those attending Monday evening’s event would gain a deeper understanding of the work of an “inspirational organisation”.
Paula Melvin, President of of Conradh na Gaeilge, said the anniversary presented a “unique opportunity” to appreciate the progress of the last 130 years and the remaining challenges.
“We want to use this occasion to everyone who has supported us and stood with us down through the decades, especially to our branches and our members, our staff and our board members, and the community as a whole for supporting our efforts,” she said.
“We also remember those great activists, members and pioneers who have gone before us, many who kept the torch burning in their local communities, and many others who spearheaded the organisation and helped inspire us and our work, especially those who have passed in recent years.
Beidh Conradh na Gaeilge ag ceiliúradh 130 Bliain d'aois Dé Luain 31 Iúil i Halla na Cathrach, Béal Feirste. Deis dúinn súil siar a chaitheamh ar an am atá caite, agus atá romhainn #CnaG130— Conradh na Gaeilge ⭕️ (@CnaG) July 24, 2023
Aoichainteoir: An Chéad-Aire Ainmnithe @moneillsf
RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org roimh 27ú Iúil 2023 pic.twitter.com/SknEdN5ieK
“On days like these we also have the chance to look forward, to assess our vision for the future and to set out with renewed purpose our mission to promote and protect the Irish language across this island.”
As well as the keynote speech from Ms O’Neill, music will be performed by Piaras Ó Lorcáin, Bláithín Mhic Cana and Lauren Ní Néill.
Local actor Conor Torbóid will also perform a short one-person performance on the history of the organisation.