Pop in to the Pop Up Gaeltacht

By Isabel Ní Challaráin

Tá an Pop Up Gaeltacht ag dul ó neart go neart, sé bhliana ónár thosaigh sé. 

Six years on from its first event in Bar Rua on Clarendon Street, the Pop Up Gaeltacht is still bringing people together to speak their ‘cúpla focail’.

On the last Thursday of every month, the Pop Up Gaeltacht occurs in a different bar in Dublin. This month, Gaelgeoirí from as far as Kerry, Galway, Donegal and Belfast travelled to the Foggy Dew in Temple Bar.

Loretta Ní Ghabháin got the train from Galway to Dublin at 7:30 on Thursday morning. Ní Ghabháin speaks Irish daily, either at home with her twin daughters while reading them bedtime stories, with her friends in WhatsApp groups or at her work office. Ní Ghabháin said that speaking Irish is important to her because it is a big part of our identity and culture as a country. She said: “We can understand ourselves better as Irish people when we understand our language.”

Robert Brennan is a primary school teacher from Dundalk, he attended his first Pop Up Gaeltacht last July and it has become the place for him and his friend from home to meet once a month. “It is a great opportunity to meet and speak Irish. I’m very proud to be Irish and I know that the Irish language is an important part of our culture,” he said.  

New York, Hollywood and Brussels are just a few of the other well-known cities the Pop Up Gaeltacht has taken place. It has become an international success. Conor MaCaba from the United States was accompanied by his Italian friend Maria whom he is currently teaching Irish. Although last night was their first time at the Pop-Up Gaeltacht, MaCaba started learning Irish in college and he’s still studying it now. 

“The Irish language is a significant part of Irish culture. I grew up in the States but most of my family is Irish. The laboratory I work in is bilingual so we speak Irish and English together each week,” he said.

Hugh Cerr first heard about the Pop Up Gaeltacht when its organisers, Osgur Ó Ciardha & Peadar Ó Caomhánaigh spoke to his college class about it in 2016. He says it’s been an integral part of his life in Dublin ever since. Cerr has been attending the Pop Up Gaeltacht since its very beginning. Cerr explained in his lovely Donegal accent, “Without Irish, I wouldn’t have my career, my friends or my passion for stand-up comedy. It is without a doubt, the most important part of my life.”

All standards of Irish are welcome and at October’s Pop Up Ghaeltacht, comedian Michael Fry was there filming with his latest show ‘Creidim Ionat’ with RTÉ. In this show, three Irish celebrities including Marty Morrissey and Merissa Carter are supported by Irish speaking mentors in their journey toward regaining their confidence in speaking Irish.

The ‘Creidim Ionat’ campaign will run until the 11th of November 2022. If you would like to learn more Irish or support someone else to reach an Irish language goal, set a target by the end of the campaign. 

You can find the time and place for the next Pop Up Gaeltacht on their Facebook page.

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