Minister of State McHugh and Michael McDowell S.C. to launch Conradh na Gaeilge 2016 Commemoration Programme in Trinity College

Conradh na Gaeilge 2016 Commemoration ProgrammeMinister of State for the Gaeltacht Joe McHugh T.D. and Michael McDowell S.C., former Minister for Justice and grandson of Eoin Mac Néill, will today (Monday, 23 November 2015) launch Conradh na Gaeilge’s 2016 Commemoration Programme, part of the An Teanga Bheo strand of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme, in the Science Gallery of Trinity College Dublin at 6.00pm.

Minister of State for the Gaeltacht Joe McHugh T.D. says:


“The comprehensive programme that has been agreed by Conradh na Gaeilge will take place as part of An Teanga Bheo, the Irish-language strand of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme.  Cultural revival and renewing the role and importance of our native language was a core ambition of the 1916 leaders. It is great to see our language come to life, not just as part of An Teanga Bheo, but across all seven programme strands next year. An Teanga Bheo is built on partnership, in this case partnership between my Department and Conradh na Gaeilge and I look forward to seeing the programme as it comes together over the coming weeks and months.”

Michael McDowell S.C. says:


“We are the inheritors of the Irish language and our Gaelic culture, and the challenge is now ours to keep them alive, to preserve and promote them. This is the same challenge that faced the founders of Conradh na Gaeilge over a century ago, and the challenge is as great and as difficult today as it was for them at that time.”

As part of its 2016 Commemoration Programme, Conradh na Gaeilge is digitising 15,000 pages of An Claidheamh Soluis, the most influential newspaper in the pre-Rising period, as well as reorganising its archives and making parts of its collection accessible online for the first time. Conradh na Gaeilge will also host a series of bilingual seminars, Plé 16, all over Ireland and overseas, which will focus on the key role played by members of Conradh na Gaeilge in the build up to the Rising, the intellectual freedom associated with the Irish-language movement, and the role of women in the Cultural Revival, as well as the future of Gaelic culture. Féile na Físe will take place in schools on Proclamation Day next year (15 March 2016) as part of the international Irish-language festival Seachtain na Gaeilge, Conradh na Gaeilge will run interactive Seó Bóthair workshops in schools, and a special mobile exhibition will travel across Ireland and overseas throughout 2016.

Cóilín Ó Cearbhaill, President of Conradh na Gaeilge says:


“We are delighted to be launching the Conradh na Gaeilge 2016 Commemoration Programme in Trinity College, the alma mater of one of our founders Douglas Hyde, in the presence of the grandson of Eoin Mac Néill, another of our founders, and across the road from the house in which the Pearse brothers were born. I am confident that the rich wide range of events and projects we have planned for the centenary will enable us all to better understand the key role played by the Irish language and by members of Conradh na Gaeilge in our history, and further inspire the renewed interest this generation is showing in our language.”


The historical importance of Conradh na Gaeilge – originally known as The Gaelic League and founded by Douglas Hyde and Eoin Mac Néill in 1893 – has been highlighted throughout the century since the 1916 Rising by numerous scholars and significant key figures in the founding of the state, including Michael Collins in his work The Path to Freedom in 1922:


The Gaelic League restored the language to its place in the reverence of the people. It revived Gaelic culture. While being non-political, it was by its very nature intensely national. Within its folds were nurtured the men and women who were to win for Ireland the power to achieve national freedom. Irish history will recognise in the birth of the Gaelic League in 1893 not only the most important event in the nineteenth century, but in the whole history of our nation.”


Conradh na Gaeilge is the democratic forum for the Irish-speaking community, and its main aim is to promote the use of Irish as the standard language in Ireland. The organisation works on behalf of the Irish language and the people who use it throughout the island of Ireland and around the world. There are almost 180 branches of Conradh na Gaeilge and it is also possible to register as an individual member. Since the establishment of Conradh na Gaeilge on the 31st July of 1893, its members have been active in promoting the Irish language in every aspect of life in Ireland – from legal matters and education issues, to developments in the media and Irish language services. Conraitheoirí are at the forefront of campaigns to secure and strengthen the rights of the Irish-language community, and all members of Conradh na Gaeilge work hard to develop the use of Irish in their own areas. Conradh na Gaeilge runs Irish-language courses in Dublin, Ennis, Galway, Limerick, Mayo, Newry, Tipperary, and elsewhere across Ireland. More information:

The Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme, led by Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys T.D., is a year-long programme of activity to commemorate the events of the 1916 Rising, to reflect on our achievements over the last 100 years and to look towards Ireland’s future. An Teanga Bheo is one of seven programme strands which include State Ceremonial, Historical Reflection, Cultural Expression, Community Participation, Youth and Imagination and Global and Diaspora. Full details of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme are available at:

Féile na Físe is a programme of suggested events for schools and community groups to organise as part of Seachtain na Gaeilge on and around Proclamation Day (15 March 2016), both to commemorate the events of 1916 and to celebrate the influential and important role the Irish language and culture played in the vision the leaders of the Rising had for Ireland. The aim of Féile na Físe is to offer everyone the opportunity to take part in a festival that hopes to focus attention on every aspect of traditional culture from Gaelic games to drama, music, dance, singing, folklore, and much more. Guidelines and resources will be available from Seachtain na Gaeilge from early January. More information:

Seachtain na Gaeilge (Irish-Language Week) is an international Irish-language festival and one of the biggest celebrations of our native language and culture that takes place each year in Ireland and in many other countries. The festival runs from 1 – 17 March every year. The festival gives an opportunity to everyone to enjoy Irish, whether you are a fluent speaker, learner or have a cúpla focal, with a calendar of entertaining and fun events for every type of interest and every age group. Voluntary and community groups, local authorities, schools, libraries, and music, sports, arts and culture organisations organise events for Seachtain na Gaeilge in their local area. More information:

Associated Organisations of Conradh na Gaeilge