THE Irish language will be at the heart of Belfast city centre this weekend as the biggest event of its kind celebrates Seachtain na Gaeilge.

‘Spraoi Cois Lao’ will a fun-filled day for all the family at Custom House Square. The exciting day will see hundreds of Irish speakers converage on the city centre.

Backed by Belfast City Council, and organised by a new partnership between Conradh na Gaeilge and Féile an Phobail, Spraoi Cois Lao will be the first Irish language fun-day of its kind to hit Belfast city centre.

The event will be Belfast’s flagship Irish language community event during Irish Language Week and Féile an Earraigh. The event was launched on Wednesday by Lord-Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Tina Black.

The event will see an Irish-language carnival sweep over Custom House Square, with musicians, dancers, activities, games, food and entertainment for the entire family. 

Cuisle Nic Liam from Conradh na Gaeilge, said: “Spraoi Cois Lao is an incredibly exciting event that aims to bring the Irish language back into the heart of Belfast city centre. We are delighted to partner with Féile an Phobail and bring both Seachtain na Gaeilge and Féile an Earraigh together, with the backing of Belfast City Council.

"The Irish language revival across Belfast is showing no signs of slowing down, and we want people to see and use the language more and more in the city centre. We want the language to be celebrated, to be recognised, respected and normalised, especially in our shared spaces.

"Spraoi Cois Lao will be the biggest Irish language family fun-day of its kind here, and looks to build on the pioneering work of community groups right across Belfast. So whether you have a cúpla focal, are learning the language, have children in a local Gaelscoil, are fluent or are just generally curious about the language, Spraoi Cois Lao is the place for you this weekend. Bígí linn.”

Kevin Gamble, Director, Féile an Phobail, commented: “Féile an Phobail is delighted to partner with Conradh na Gaeilge to bring Féile an Earraigh and Seachtain na Gaeilge le Energia together. Spraoi Cois Lao looks set to bring hundreds of Irish speakers, learners, families and friends together to celebrate the language and Irish culture.

"Bringing the Irish language into the heart of Belfast for an event like this is hugely important for the community and we want everyone in Belfast to come along and experience the joy of the Irish language through family events and activities. That is what Féile an Earraigh is all about, and with the new partnership with Seachtain na Gaeilge le Energia, we have an incredible opportunity to build on the fantastic Irish language and community events taking place across Belfast.

"The Irish language belongs to everyone and we want as many people as possible to come down and enjoy the day at Spraoi Cois Lao. Céad míle fáilte to all.”

Spraoi Cois Lao will take place at Custom House Square, Belfast, on Saturday 4 between 1pm-5pm. Seachtain na Gaeilge le Energia runs between 1-17 March coinciding with Féile an Earraigh running from 1-19 March.