Barbara Nic Dhonnacha reports from the launch of Seachtain na Gaeilge 2017 at Facebook’s Dublin HQ.
This year’s Seachtain na Gaeilge, our yearly festival celebrating the Irish language and culture, has officially begun.
Running until Lá Fhéile Pádraig (St Patrick’s Day), the 17 days are filled with all kinds of events, giving people a wonderful excuse to immerse themselves in the Irish language and to try it out – bain triail aisti – as the Seachtain na Gaeilge slogan encourages.
If you thought seachtain meant ‘week’, you are correct, but the festival has grown so much over the years that it now runs for over a coicís (fortnight).
With sponsor Energia this year, their brand-associated guinea pigs Reginald and Philip have also been taking part and making guest appearances, alongside this year’s festival ambassadors: RTÉ’s Miriam O’Callaghan, teen actor Art Parkinson (whom you might recognise from Game of Thrones) and TG4’s Micheál Ó Ciaraidh.
‘We work hard to promote different cultures and celebrate diversity, and the Irish language is an important part of our culture and our identity’
– NIAMH SWEENEY, FACEBOOK
The Seachtain na Gaeilge media launch took place in Facebook’s EMEA HQ in Dublin, where Niamh Sweeney, head of public policy for Facebook Ireland, spoke bilingually of the company’s support and passion for utilising the Irish language.
“At Facebook, we work hard to promote different cultures and celebrate diversity, and the Irish language is an important part of our culture and our identity.
“Facebook is available for people to use as Gaeilge and we’re encouraging people to switch their profile to Irish for Seachtain na Gaeilge, and maybe beyond. It’s an easy way for people to connect through Irish and to share the language with friends and family, both in Ireland and around the world. I am looking forward to seeing my friends using the cúpla focal when sharing photos, videos and messages.”
Facebook is just one of many large tech companies that now offer Gaeilge as a language choice when using their site or apps.
Seachtain na Gaeilge also has its own free app available for getting to grips with the event. You can download it for free at SnaG.ie.
Barbara Nic Dhonnacha is the founder of Teic na nGael, the brand new home of technology as Gaeilge on the web. The website is just getting started, and you can also follow Teic na nGael on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.