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Ealaín sa Ghaeltacht/Gaeltacht Art

Video and description of art in the Gaeltacht and the Spiddal Craft Centre

There is and always has been a strong link between arts, culture and An Ghaeltacht, the Irish-speaking communities found throughout Ireland. Traditional song and dance have become renowned all over the world, yet the creative aspects of the Gaeltacht do not stop there.

Painting, crafts and pottery are all found throughout the region, such as at Ceardlann an Spidéil, the Spiddal Craft Village, where all the above can be found alongside much more. Much of the work created by artists found in the Ceardlann reflect themes that are both of the unique region and resonant with people from all over the world. These include themes of wilderness, the links between humans and nature and indeed language itself as both an instrument of culture and a reflection of it. This can be examined by considering the following passage from a speech by Orlaith McBride on the very theme of art and language in the Gaeltacht:

‘The role of arts in language planning, the purpose of this conference, is fundamental. Without art, without culture, language is simply words, vocabulary for functional expression. It is art that gives language its emotional hinterland. It is art, in its joy, its sorrow, its anger and in its sensuous pleasure that give language the context that transforms it into culture.’

This notion of language as being not purely sounds or symbols but a reflection of something more profound and fundamental is something that can resonate deeply, particularly with those who speak a minority language. It can be important to consider that a language is not purely a store of information but in many senses a living repository of a culture. Important too is the idea that perhaps a language builds a culture and that much of what matters ultimately is driven by the joy we receive from cultural goods rather than the mechanical usage of a language alone. In other words, what one does with a language is as important as what one knows about a language.

Have a look at the video for Ceardlann an Spidéil in this step to see the many different works of art and crafts on display in each of the shop units. We also encourage you to explore Ceardlann an Spidéil’s website to find more useful information on the work performed by the various artists and we encourage you to read Orlaith McBride’s speech in its entirety.

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Irish 102: An Introduction to Irish Language and Culture

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