Organisers of this year’s Seachtain na Gaeilge have a busy week of events planned, promoting the Irish language on campus in UCD. The official launch took place yesterday in the new Student Centre with a presentation from the outside community, including two local Gaelscoileanna along with lecturers, academics and UCD officials.
Efforts to raise awareness of Irish on campus will be aided by a permanent art installation in the new Student Centre. Students’ Union Campaigns and Communications Officer, Paddy Guiney says: “The artwork ranges from notable famous people in the Irish language, to scholars, to poets and to people from Irish history”. The Students’ Union Irish Officer, Gabhán Ó Briain, wants to take a new approach with Seachtain na Gaeilge, so that it has a lasting impact throughout the year: “What we’re trying to do this year, even for the launch, we’re trying to, make it not one big event for the day”.
The most high profile guest during the week is Neil Delamere who performs on Tuesday at 7pm in the Astra Hall. Other events organised for during the week include a pubcrawl, Countdown ‘as Gaeilge’ in the Global Lounge, ‘My First Gaeilge’ and the annual UCD v Trinity College football match. Speaking about the week’s events Ó Briain says: “We’ve put some of the big events we do during the year all in one week to try and make the week as banterful as possible, I suppose”.
Many of the events during Seachtain na Gaeilge have been designed to cater for different levels of fluency, including students who don’t speak Irish on a regular basis. Irish classes will be available for beginners and those wanting to brush up on the ‘cúpla focail’. Tea and coffee mornings will also be taking place on campus, offering an informal and relaxed setting in which to speak Irish.
Similar to previous years, the ‘No Béarla’ campaign will take place, with t-shirts and wristbands available for €6. This also included free entry into the various events during the week. The change from ‘No Béarla’ hoodies to tshirts was made to cut costs.
Unlike previous years no concrete plans have been set in place to donate profits from Seachtain na Gaeilge to a specific charity. Ó Briain says: “The plan was whatever profit was made from the t-shirts and wristbands to put it to Bóthar. We’ll see how that goes, that was the idea that was thrown about there, as I say nothing has been really finalised with that”. According to Students’ Union Campaigns Officer, Paddy Guiney: “budgets are very different” and “our main aim was to break even with anything.” The cost of Seachtain na Gaeilge is currently divided equally between the Students’ Union and An Cumann Gaelach.
As this is one of the largest events run on campus during the year Guiney is hoping for a successful week: “For Seachtain na Gaeilge, we’ve done a lot of planning for it and we’re really looking forward to it and hopefully it’s a very good week. From our point of view for local campaigns, we’re looking to have better quality and less quantity”.