American comedian Des Bishop has become the first recipient of the Buanghradam de hÍde, a new award presented by UCD’s An Cumann Gaelach recognising “achievements regarding the Irish language.”
The award was a surprise presentation to Bishop, who is famed for his television programme In the Name of the Fada, which chronicled his journey in learning Irish for the first time as an Irish-American, and for his bilingual stand-up show Tongues.
In a joint statement to The University Observer, co-auditors of An Cumann Gaelach, Tríona Ní Mhurchú and Jennifer Ní Churtáin, and UCD Students’ Union Irish Language Officer Aoife Nic Shamhráin said that “An Cumann Gaelach decided to present this award to Des Bishop as he has done an incredible amount to encourage people in Ireland, especially young people, to both learn the language and to keep it up.” They added that “Des Bishop is a prime example of the modern image of Irish, which is now fashionable and accessible.”
When asked why the award was created, An Cumann Gaelach stated that they felt that since the turn-out for the even promised to be substantial, it seemed the prime opportunity to introduce the award. The society auditors added that they “had been thinking about introducing this kind of award for a while now,” and that when Bishop had confirmed his visit to UCD, the society felt encouraged “to get our skates on and establish this award.”
An Cumann Gaelach already bestows a gold medal, Bonn Óir an Chumainn Ghaelaigh, awarded annually to a member of the society “who has helped or advised the society the most during the year”. However, the society believed that there was also a need to introduce an award for “people outside of our society that have achieved something extraordinary in promoting the Irish Language.”
An Cumann Gaelach will aim to award Buanghradam de hÍde every year as long as they feel “someone deserves this award,” and that it “will be an ongoing award to honour people’s efforts in promoting the Irish language.”
Buanghradam de hÍde is named after the first President of Ireland and founder of the Gaelic League, Dr Douglas Hyde, who is credited with restoring some of the popularity of the Irish language within Irish society.
Photo: Daire Brennan