Thursday, May 20, 2010

Trojan work has been undertaken by Fiontar (DCU) on three aspects of the language, a terminology database (, the placenames database (, (and The Placenames Branch Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs) and they are also working on the Irish Biography Project (

The following is a summary of new implementations on the mapping interface on the placenames website due to the feedback the have received:

- The first page was rearranged to make it more like the current version.

- A clickable map was put on the first page so that one can go straight to a specific county.

- More coordinates were added to geographical objects that didn't previously have coordinates, especially baronies and civil parishes, and they are displayed on the map at the appropriate zoom levels.

- Links were created at the top of the map to "Quick-zoom" to the level of the baronies, the parishes etc.

- The button "Show placenames" was changed so that it only appears when it is necessary to click on it.

The site with the mapping interface is to be launched in the next few days. We hope that you will benefit from it and enjoy it. The team welcome feedback anytime at this email address:

Monday, May 17, 2010

Reevaluation of Irish language entities

Review of the Irish Language organisations funded by Foras na Gaeilge

This is a release from the Forum for Joint Planning
At a meeting of the Irish language organisations core-funded by Foras na Gaeilge, announcements made by Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs, Pat Carey TD, in the media last week were welcomed, which related to the continuation of funding for said organisations until a review, which is currently being carried out by Foras na Gaeilge under the direction of the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC), is completed.

Two meetings of the core-funded organisations were held last week, on Monday 10 May 2010, and on Friday 14 May 2010. An expert in the field of transition management was appointed as a facilitator at Friday’s meeting. A Forum for Joint Planning was established during the meetings, and recommendations relating to the restructuring of the sector have been forwarded to Foras na Gaeilge.

Both recommendations submitted to date to Foras na Gaeilge by the core-funded organisations respond specifically to the directive issued by the NSMC on 2 December 2009.

The progress outlined above demonstrates the core-funded organisations’ dedication to the ongoing process. The recently established Forum for Joint Planning will provide a strong basis for further co-operation between organisations in the future. The core-funded organisations are hopeful that they can continue the process in conjunction with Foras na Gaeilge, and with the relevant Government Departments both North and South, to the benefit of the Irish language and the Irish language voluntary sector.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Killed by bureaucracy?

I suppose one of the most effective organisations in fostering love and use of the Language over the years has been Glór na nGael (Irish). It is a comparatively young organisation from it's foundation by the Catholoc Priests organisation Cumann na Sagart. It's first patrons were Úachtarán na hÉireann Éamon de Valeara and Cardinal D'Alton and the first competition was organised in 1961. It is now a company half owned by the Cumann and the other half by the umbrella group of all Irish language organisations, Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge (Bilingual).

It sends a team throughout the length and breath of the country looking for the town, parish or district looking at how they are progressing in the promotion of Irish in the life of the community and award not insubstantial prizes for those communities who, in their opinion, have advanced most in the preceeding year. The awards are graded to the size and type of community. This year the awards were presented recently in the hallowed and iconic chambers of Belfast City Hall, a city which recently, through the establishment of the only truly urban Gaeltacht, and historically has had such a positive influence on maintaining and growing the opportunities for developing a healthy Gaelic environment.

This story in Gaelscéal 7th May 2010Like most communities they are funded, especially for their running costs, but the state. Recently however they have been forced to issue protective notice to seven of their staff because there is no guarantee that funding will continue after July of this year. They are not alone in fearing that this funding will not be forthcoming. The other language organisations whether community based or even State bodies like Údarás na Gaeltachta expect to be faced with cuts or outright cessation of the grants which enable them to perform in a professional way. For instance the Language Commissioner (An Coimisinéar Teanga)was unable to use his entire budget last year because of delays and restrictions placed on him by the bureaucracy. The money was there but he was not allowed to spend it and so the statutary service he provides must suffer.

It is not denied that these are stringent times and good houskeeping is essential no matter how laudable an organisations vision and aims are. However the fact the the bureaucracy does not see fit to advise its decision in good time means that effective realistic planning, so important in our modern world, cannot take place.

Voluntary language organisations, such as the non-state funded Guth na Gaeltachta (Irish), and private individuals, have raised their voices in support of these bodies. They state that there is great danger letting these initiatives fade if we are to achieve the objectives of the Government's 20 year plan.

Eventually the new minister, Pat Carey, made a statement saying that there was no need for worry as long as the process of reassessment was in progress. He is referring to the examination of the many language organisations and their relevency. Most people do agree that some "rationalisation" is required in the nineteen language bodies but the delays caused in the meantime create a sort of limbo situation.

Delays like this caused the death of Foinse, leaving a gap in the Irish language newspaper scene which lasted for several months while the body charged with funding these assessed possible alternatives. And as Concubhar Ó Liatháin, (a paper he edited in the past, Lá Nua, also was allowed to perish due to Departmental ineffectiveness) in Fóram Iriseoireachta na Gaeilge (Irish)blog stated, this means that the expertese and knowledge fostered over a period of years is lost and valuable time is wasted by a new team getting up-to-speed. Not good planning!

So in effect the Minister is saying that the jobs are safe until they are not!

Hardly the most reasuring of news to people trying to make a living in this day and age.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pop station named in top 50 businesses in Irish

Ireland’s first Irish-medium chartstation for young people, Raidió Rí-Rá, has been named among 50 top individuals and companies who have pioneered business in Irish and will receive a Barr 50 Gnó le Gaeilge award at a special ceremony in Mansion House, Dublin, Friday, 14 May 2010.

Traic Ó Braonáin, Chairperson of Raidió Rí-Rá says: “Raidió Rí-Rá consistently shows innovation and fresh business-thinking by using the Irish language in a way that hasn’t been utilised by Irish businesses to date - employing the latest technologies, finding new marketing mediums, pioneering exciting new programmes, and developing different ways for listeners to tune into the station.”
50 top individuals and companies who have pioneered business as Gaeilge – Barr 50 Gnó le Gaeilge - are to be honoured at a unique celebration in the Mansion House, Dublin on Friday, 14 May 2010.

The Top 50 nominees will be:
• Businesses based in the Gaeltacht or which operate in Irish
• Business leaders who are recognised as advocates for Irish language
• Businesses which use Irish as a marketing tool or provide services in Irish
• Six of our Top 50 will be awarded with Special Achievement Awards at the gala luncheon.

Among those receiving this special accolade will be:
• Entrepreneur of the year
• A company or individual in the public sector which makes the most effective use of Irish as a marketing tool
• Company or individual in the private sector which makes the most effective use of Irish in service provision
• A company or individual which shows innovation and fresh thinking in their business by using the Irish language
• A company or individual located in the Gaeltacht which makes outstanding use of the Irish language in business

The Top 50 Business as Gaeilge awards will be marked by the publication of a special magazine profiling the Top 50 and celebrating their achievements.
It means a lot to Raidió Rí-Rá to be recognised for the pioneering work we do and to be nominated for a Barr 50 Gnó le Gaeilge award alongside the other top 50 best businesses in Irish this year.

As well being chosen for a Barr 50 Gnó le Gaeilge 2010 award recognising its excellence in business through Irish after only two years broadcasting, Raidió Rí-Rá was also nominated for two prestigious Oireachtas na Gaeilge communications’ awards last year - Miriam Maher for the Radio Personality of the Year award and the weekly celebrity news programme PopNuacht for the Radio Programme of the Year award - alongside some of the country’s most prominent and well-established stations, such as RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta.

Síne Nic an Ailí, presenter and Public Relations’ Officer with Raidió Rí-Rá says: “As Raidió Rí-Rá is the only Irish-medium chartstation for young people in Ireland, we are dedicated to providing the Irish-speaking community with a service equal to, if not better than, our English-medium contemporaries.
“The station seizes every opportunity to make the most of the Irish language in its business, and Raidió Rí-Rá is leading the way in the provision of music and Irish-language services for young people in Ireland by providing a free-to-download iPhone application, by utilising social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, and by making the station available on Nokia phones.”

Raidió Rí-Rá plays all the latest music from the charts, completely through the medium of Irish, non-stop online at since the station began broadcasting online in March 2008. Raidió Rí-Rá spent three weeks broadcasting live on FM in March 2009 and in March 2010 as the Irish-language festival Seachtain na Gaeilge’s official station, during which time over a million and a half people in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick could tune into the Irish chartstation.

Raidió Rí-Rá’s working group have plans to broadcast on the digital television system and on DAB in the future, and is also working to realise a full-time Irish-language radio station for young people on the national FM system.

Details of this story in Irish on Do Chonradh Blog!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

No Gaeilge!

No need to understand much Irish to get the message here!

This is a short YouTube video from some students of OCBhÁC (Olscoil Chathair Bhaile Átha Cliath=DCU). They have mounted a campaign to have the language respected in their establishment and indeed within the Students' Union. See their spirited campaign facebook page is attracting attention too. Though mostly in Irish you still can get the student enthusiasm exuding through the comments...

The Students Union in DCU says in its constitution - available only in English states that it exists
"To represent all of its members on matters affecting their distinctive student experience. This is with regards to both their academic and extra-curricular education, as members of the University."

The fact that the University doesn't even have an Irish Language officer speaks volumes in a college that hosts one of the most progressive and modern Irish Language 3rd level range of courses and research under the banner of Fiontar. Among these is the important work on the the National Terminology Database for Irish in and on the Placenames Database of Ireland in, and a national biography database in

Is this commentator alone in thinking that the institute that hosts this important national research and yet does not think it important to provide a background that indicates at least some understanding of the importance of that language in the daily happenings of that institute, is somehow remiss in its responsibilities? The singular lack of enthusiasm in preparing it's statuatary plan for Irish (under the Language Act) the college authorities and indeed the student union highlights this at best mediocre approach.

Hope you enjoy the video!

More about this (in Irish) at An bhfuil an Ghaeilge feiceálach ar do champas?

Naíonra directors in demand

Intensive training courses for Naíonraí Directors at the end of May in Dublin.

As a result of a substantial increase in demand received for the Dianchúrsa (Intensive course) for Stiúrthóirí Naíonraí (Directors) this year, Forbairt Naíonraí Teo.(Bi-lingual site) is organising a further Dianchúrsa from the 24-28th May, which will run Monday to Friday between 9am-5pm. The course will take place in Dublin city centre. The Dianchúrsa provides the basic qualification required by FNT to work as a Naíonra Leader.

Those who wish to attend the Dianchúrsa will be required to sit an Irish language interview in order to assess their standard of Irish. The Irish language interviews will take place in Dublin on the 11th and 12th of May in the Marino Institute of Education (English), Griffith Avenue, Dublin 9.

This is a fundamental course, through the medium of Irish, which covers the management and running of a Naíonra. It is aimed at Naíonraí Assistants and anyone with fluent Irish who is interested in using the language with young children.

This course is mandatory for anyone who wishes to start a Naíonra under Forbairt Naíonraí Teo. Presently there are 156 naíonraí registered with Forbairt Naíonraí Teoranta, with over 3,500 children attending childcare services through Irish.

Clíona Frost, Chief Executive of FNT said, “I’m extremely pleased by this visible increase in demand for Naíonraí services. The effect that our established naíonraí have on the community, and the link that is being established with the gaelscoileanna throughout the country, highlights the growing strength of the Naíonra brand.”

“It’s clear that parents are now recognising the full advantages of the Total Early Immersion model by choosing pre-schooling entirely through Irish for their children.”

Forbairt Naíonraí Teoranta is working continuously with the other main Irish language voluntary organisations to promote the language, along with childcare and education through the medium of Irish, especially with regard to Total Early Immersion Education.

É seo as Gaeilge