AS the year draws to a close, Fleadh Feirste have launched a jam-packed programme of events and artistic initiatives to enjoy.

Fleadh Feirste represents the core values of the Irish language community in the Gaeltacht Quarter of Belfast. A range of groups and organisations have come together to produce its most versatile and varied programme yet. 

The festival will kick start with a night of entertainment by Máire Dubh and friends. The Oíche Síol is always a popular favourite with a night of music, company and prizes to win on the night. Anyone is welcome to attend and sing a few songs, play a few tunes or even tell a story. Oíche Síol will take place on the 26 November at Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich and is a free event but donations are welcome.

 

On Tuesday 20 November, Irish language achievements of the last year will be celebrated at Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich. This will include the residential scheme at Queen’s University and An Dream Dearg’s campaign among other achievements. A panel of guest speakers will discuss the campaigns followed by a traditional music session and night of celebration. The event begins at 5pm until late and is a free of charge.

An exciting new 21st century panto will be taking to the stages throughout Fleadh Feirste. The panto Luaithríona agus Pósadh an Phrionsa is a revamped tale written by Seán Ó Muireagáin. Produced by Aisling Ghéar, the show will be performed at An Cultúrlann with school showings from the 30 November until 2 December, and family showings on 3 December.  

St Mary’s University College Traditional Music Society will be performing a fantastic music session at an Cultúrlann throughout Fleadh Feirste. The session will include Christmas carols, popular traditional tunes and folk songs as well.

Glór na Móna will be launching their Sólás na nÓg programme for the next four years. The programme “aims to further develop the current bespoke informal Irish-medium youth work provision for children of Irish-medium primary and secondary level with additional learning and behavioural needs.” Commissioner for Children and Young People Koulla Yiasouma will be a guest speaker at the event. The launch will take place on 30 November at 7pm in Gael-Ionad Mhic Goill.

Musician, singer and songwriter Andy Irvine will be performing at Áras Uí Chonghaile on 30 November at 8pm. This is sure to be a popular night as one of the great Irish singers comes to Belfast. 

The official launch of Raidió Fáilte’s music recording studio will take place on 1 December at 12pm and the event will be broadcast live.

Ionad Uíbh Eachach are organising an Ollchiorcal Comhrá in Cumann Chluain Árd which will bring together Irish speakers of all levels. Taking place in Cumann Chluian Árd and a music session will follow after. The event will take place on the 2 December at 7pm.

The annual lecture and dinner will take place at the Cultúrlann on 3 December at 7:30pm.

Don’t miss the chance to meet Daidí na Nollag this Christmas during Fleadh Feirste as he will be visiting An Cultúrlann on 4 December at 1pm. All the good children will get a present on the day as well as a fun art workshop taking place.

The Christmas tree lights will be switched on by special guests on the 4 December also at 4pm at the Cultúrlann and is a free event. Special guests this year includes Dáithí Mac Gabhann, "a young Gael from West Belfast and hero of the ‘Is Deontóir Mé’ campaign" along with the "powerful Dream Dearg campaign which inspired 20,000 to take to the streets in demand of language rights."

From live broadcast, book launches to film showings and poetry competition, Fleadh Feirste has you covered this festive season.

Launching the event last Friday at An Cultúrlann, Tina Black, Lord Mayor of Belfast said: “It’s such a pleasure to help launch Fleadh Feirste 2022, the Gaeltacht Quarter’s annual festival. It gives us a wonderful opportunity to be immersed in the Irish language through traditional music, art and poetry.

"The partnership and collaboration evident in this programme is testament to the vibrancy and creativity of the Gaeltacht Quarter’s Irish language community – and I love that there’s an opportunity for all ages to get involved and enjoy it.

"From Luaithríona – a revamped Cinderella for the 21st century – to the launch of Ráidió Fáilte’s music recording studio, traditional music sessions in the Cultúrlann every lunchtime, Forbairt Feirste’s annual lecture and dinner and Cultúrlann’s family day with Santa’s grotto – it’s a real treat for the season.”

More information on the festival can be found at An Cultúrlann’s website and social media channels.