SEACHTAIN NA GAEILGE IN DkIT - Craic, Ceol agus Céilís!

DkIT enthusiastically embraced Irish language and culture this week as students and staff participated in various activities throughout the campus for Seachtain Na Gaeilge, promoting the Irish language as well as Irish music and dance. Seachtain na Gaeilge is an annual two-week celebration, with schools, communities and organisations all over the country organising and taking part in events covering all aspects of Irish culture and arts.

Events in DkIT kicked off on Monday, as students took part in various "tradathons" throughout the campus. The money raised from the traditional Irish music sessions was put towards "HelpSergio", a charity set up in aid of Dublin-born Sergio O' Connor, who was born with an incomplete oesophagus. Sergio's condition prevents him from eating, drinking and swallowing, as his digestive system cannot function correctly. The foundation aims to raise funds to enable one-year-old Sergio and his family to travel to Boston, where he can undergo a surgical operation to repair this defect. Over €750 was raised for contribution to the cause.

The events continued on Tuesday, with the performance of the main concert; a traditional music ensemble, "Radharc Ó Na Sléibhte". Dr Daithí Kearney, Section of Music, orchestrated the concert event, whose performance group consisted of over forty musicians from DkIT's student body and faculty and more than twenty others participants. The performance combined several musical compositions by local repertoire from the town of Dundalk and the surrounding regions of Oriel and Farney. 'The concert was a wonderful occasion, a showcase of the rich musical heritage of our area as well as of Ireland generally', says Murt O Seaghdha, Irish Language Officer at DkIT.

On Wednesday, a large group of staff and students assembled outside the McAnna Theatre, where they took part in a céilí during the afternoon. Music was provided by a group of third year students and direction for the performance was largely communicated through the Irish language. 'It was great craic - and a great workout!' commented one student.

Renowned traditional musician, Steve Cooney, arrived in DkIT on Thursday, where he conducted a master class on performance and arrangement in Irish traditional music. Steve has collaborated and worked alongside many Irish musical artists, including Sharon Shannon and Sinead O' Connor and has significantly contributed to the genre of Irish traditional music. 'His new approach to teaching rhythm is really interesting,' comments Damhnait McKenna, music student at DkIT. 'He's also a good laugh and he was cracking jokes the whole time so it didn't even feel like you were learning!'

Irish coffee mornings also took place across the DkIT campus in three different locations - The School of Business Studies, The School of Nursing and The Carroll Building. 'During these sessions of Ciorcal Comhrá we chatted informally in Irish with lots of jokes and personal anecdotes and many explanations for those whose Irish was a bit rusty', explains Murt.

DkIT look forward to hosting another entertaining and enjoyable week of events for next year's Seachtain na Gaeilge. Organisers hope to build upon the success of this year's activities to bring Irish language and culture to life for all staff and students across the campus.