Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann

Tá Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann faoi lánseol i nDoire anois. Ócáid mhór i saol na cathrach atá ann. Tá i bhfad níos mó ná ceol i gceist san fhéile. Thosaigh an t-imeacht ar ‘Thaobh na Cathrach’ agus cuirfear cladhsúr air i nDoire Trasna.

Bhí ionadaithe ón dá thaobh den scoilt reiligiúnach ag an oscailt agus bhí seirbhísí idirchreidmheacha sa chathair i rith na seachtaine. Léiríonn sé seo gur leis an phobal uilig an teanga - chan le creideamh amháin nó le grúpa polaitiúil amháin. Ó thaobh na staire de, bhí ról an-tábhachtach ag Protastúnaigh in athbheochan na Gaeilge, dar ndóigh. Bhí mé féin ag easparta in Ardeaglais Cholm Cille Dé Luain seo caite. Bhí an eaglais plódaithe agus d’éist muid le ceol Gaelach diaga le Salmairí Oileán Leòdhais, Albain. agus an Cór Gaelach, Domhnach Mór, Tír Eoghain. Bhí an lucht éisteachta faoi dhraíocht mar a léirigh an dá ghrúpa saibhreas an traidisiúin. Tá áit lárnach ag an Ghaeilge sna himeachtaí – chomh maith le hamhránaíocht, tá cainteanna, drámaíocht, díospóireachtaí agus léachtaí. Tá Coláiste Mhig Aoidh rannpháirteach sa Fhleadh: níl an fhoireann ina cónaí i dtúr eabhair. Chuir cúpla rud díoma orm, áfach. De réir cosúlachta, bhí tithe tábhairne áirithe ag iarraidh a bpraghasanna a ardú. Ba chóir daoibh bheith ábalta na praghasanna a ísliú cionn is go bhfuil an méid sin gnó sa bhreis acu. Tá mé i ndiaidh laethanta saoire a chaitheamh sa Spáinn. Bhí €1 ar an phionta i mbeáir áirithe – agus bhí siadsan ag déanamh brabúis, agus bhí siamsaíocht iontu fosta. Tá an Ghaeilge níos feiceálaí sa chathair ag an am seo, ach sílim gur chaill na siopaí deis iontach: cad chuige nár cuireadh fógra suas ‘Labhraítear Gaeilge anseo’ sna siopaí ina bhfuil Gaeilgeoirí ag obair? Bheadh seans ag daoine Gaeilge a chleachtadh agus úsáid a bhaint as an teanga i saol an uile lae –rud atá de dhíth.

The Fleadh is in full swing in Derry now. It is a great event in the life of the city. But there is more to it than music.

The event started on the Cityside and the closing ceremony will be on the Waterside. There were representatives from both sides of the religious divide at the opening and there were interdenominational services in the city during the course of the week. This shows that the language belongs to the whole community – not to any one religion or any one political group. From a historical perspective, Protestants played an important role in the revival of the language, of course. I was at Vespers in St. Columb’s Cathedral on Monday last.

There was a huge attendance and we listened to Gaelic sacred music sung by the Psalm Singers of the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, and from the Irish Choir from Donaghmore, Co. Tyrone. The audience was enthralled by the singing of the two groups, who demonstrated the richness of our musical heritage. Irish has a central place in the events: as well as singing, there are talks, drama, discussions, and lectures. Magee College is very much involved: the staff does not live in an ivory tower.

A couple of things have disappointed me, however. Apparently some bars were wanting to put up their prices. They should be able to lower the prices since they are getting so much extra trade. I have just come back from a holiday in Spain. It was 1 euro for a pint in some bars- and they were making a profit and entertainment was also laid on.

You see more Irish in the city just now, but I think the shops missed a great opportunity: why did they not put up a sign-‘Irish spoken here’ in the shops where there are Irish speakers working? People would have had a chance to practice their Irish and use the language in everyday situations – this is something that is needed.