The current affairs site breakingnews.ie carries a lengthy article on the well-publicised work of Coláiste Lurgan, an independent Irish language summer school in Galway, to popularise the use of our national language with young people across Ireland and well beyond. Below are a few extracts from the piece (the spelling mistakes in the original have been corrected):
“You can’t have failed to have notice that a certain Irish college has been making serious waves online with their inspired translations of modern pop hits into Irish.
TG Lurgan – part of Coláiste Lurgan – is fast becoming an Irish language internet phenomenon. Their YouTube channel has over 47,000 subscribers and their videos have been viewed over 12 million times.
That’s impressive considering that they’re – in the words of the college’s bainisteoir Mícheál Ó Foighil – for all intents and purposes, “just another traditional coláiste gaeilge”.
Located in the small village of Inverin [ASF: Indreabhán!] in Galway, they run four courses over June, July and August – each with 500 students between the ages of 14 and 17. There are Irish lessons, Mná Tí and everything else you’d associate with going away to Irish college.
So what’s the key to their success?
Hard work and, of course, the music.
Speaking to breakingnews.ie, Mícheál explained that music has always been a part of life at the college and that they’ve a long tradition of translating English lyrics into Irish.
Of course, now with the latest developments in technology, it’s never been easier for the college to record themselves and, with their clever use of social media, their music has been heard all over the world.
At any given time, there are up to 150 people working at the college – “a mini country” as Mícheál puts it – and as time has gone on, the production values have gotten better and better – and take more work.
And it seems like all the hard work is really paying off. The newest video was widely share online with Kodaline tweeting their praise.
Of course, there would be no point to any of this if it didn’t benefit the students. Mícheál believes that making the videos – translating, singing, playing, recording and so – form the students’ favourite memories of their time at the Irish college.
Coláiste Lurgan’s motto is ‘Gaeilge Gan Eagla’ – ‘Irish without fear’ and it sums up their refreshing approach to the Irish language which for years has been viewed with a certain amount of fear and trepidation among students.
Mícheál feels that the Irish language deserves recognition and that they are willing to keep up the hard work, expense and time.
“Anything that gets people engaging with Gaeilge – that’s what we’re into,“ he said.
So dust off your cúpla focail and join in because, as Mícheál says, “everything sounds better in Irish”.”
“My land, my language, my choice” — good slogan! In two minds about just doing English style pop with translated words, the Welsh do this of course with their rock music, although often with their own political words. All the same, it would be better to try to pull in some elements of Irish music and create a fusion as some of the Scotish bands have done on occasion. Gaelic refrains reborn as electric guitar licks, amazingly powerful (am I showing my age?)
Happy Lughnasa btw 🙂
An old Celtic Punk! 😉
Happy Lúghnasa! (Belatedly)
Well by the lunar calandar it’s probably in a few days’ time at the full moon.
Very good point. But then we get into Easter-style mysteries of calendrical calculation 😉
Years ago I worked out a modernised version of the Coligne system, using modern figures for the length of months and years. It comes out fairly well, you basically have to drop the ‘leap-month’ every 30th year (the Coligne tablets only give a 5-yr sub-cycle). Didn’t some classical author mention that the Druids did something or other every 30 years?
Have you listened to the songs?
Abair Leat = “Muide an todhchaí, gach éinne agaibh, Gaeilge gan eagla…”
BEO Lurgan = “Tá sí fós anseo, ‘s airím an nós
Go bhfuil an t-athrú ‘ tíocht, ar ár n-intinn(e) óó
Céard dhó a sheasaim? Céard dhó a sheasaim?
Seo linn, an rud is mó, ‘nois an t-am.”
All of the music is re-arranged and recorded with Irish instruments like the box and fiddle.