Members of the Irish community in Glasgow were delighted when the winner of the Irish Youth Foundation’s Hibernian Hero Award was named in London last week, writes Liam McLaughlin.
The award, sponsored by the Irish Post, the weekly newspaper for the Irish in Britain, went to Margaret Gallagher for her work with Conradh na Gaeilge (the Gaelic League) and in particular, for setting up an Irish language summer camp for young people in conjunction with the IYF.
Margaret was born in Buncrana, but the family moved to Scotland when she was very young. She received all her education in Scotland and did not come in contact with Irish till she was in her teens.
She soon made up for lost time, making rapid progress in learning Irish. She has been interviewed on a number of occasions on Raidió na Gaeltachta. She combines her love of the language with her love of music, and has won numerous prizes at feiseanna.
Margaret sees the award not as a tribute to herself personally, but to all those who contributed to the work of the Gaelic League in Glasgow over the years, including her late husband, Pádraig, from Rann na Feirste, who made an invaluable contribution to the Irish language and Irish culture in the city. Margaret and Pádraig were involved together in other Irish organisations, including Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and Feis Ghlaschú.
Margaret’s entry was backed by Sunderland manager, Martin O’Neill who praised the work of Margaret and the other volunteer workers in the League who keep the Irish heritage alive in Glasgow. An important development has been joint ventures in cooperation with the Scots Gaelic community, including intensive weekend courses in both languages and musical events. Members of the Gaelic League go to Belfast and to the Donegal Gaeltacht regularly to build on the skills learned in Daisy Street.
Cecilia Mc Daid, of Sledrin Glen, Buncrana, is the newly elected Cathaoirleach (Chairperson) of the Glasgow Gaelic League. An accomplished singer, she directs the Gaelic League Singers.
James Clafferty, one of the oldest of the Daisy Street stalwarts, and winner of many feis awards, also hails from Buncrana. It must be something in the water…
For further information about Glasgow Gaelic League activities, visit www.cnag-glaschu.co.uk, or phone 0141 433 9495.