SpreaG is the Irish and Gàidhlig for Inspire. This series of videos feature leading personalities and inspiring stories from the Greater Gàidhealtachd with the aim of encouraging others to, as they say in Belfast, not talk about it, just do it!
► Connecting Communities: Gearóid Ó Cairealláin
The first of the SpreaG videos features Gearóid Ó Cairealláin, a leading Irish language activist who in 2006 suffered a near fatal stroke. Now confined to a wheelchair, Gearóid tells us his marvellous story, including how he cheated death in a hospital ICU and how he refocused his life after emerging from hospital. A year to day he had the stroke, he married Bríd Ó Gallchóír and today he is a successful writer and performer, touring his own one man show, The Wheelchair Monologues, throughout Ireland.
Over to you Gearóid….
► Connecting Media: Rónán Mac Aodha Bhuí
Ronán Mac Aodha Bhuí is one of the broadcasting legends of RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and founder of the ‘Ciorcal Craiceáilte’, which is a broad movement of people dedicated to living life to the full through the medium of Irish. In this video he calls for a radical revamping of the Irish music industry with the creation of a ‘Racadamh’ or a Rock Academy for musicians/singers/multi-media/internet performers, new music labels, a concert circuit and other resources to keep in step with a revolution among growing numbers of younger Irish speakers.
► Connecting Communities: Linda Ervine
Linda Ervine’s work promoting Irish among the loyalists communities of East Belfast has been one of the most significant milestones in Irish language development over many years. It would have been unheard of previously to have Irish language classes in East Belfast’s Newtownards Road but since 2012, the numbers attending the classes in the East Belfast mission have been growing year on year. In this SpreaG video, Linda makes no secret of the challenges she faces but expresses considerable optimism that more of her community are realising that the Irish language is as much a part of their British identity as it is part of the Irish identity of others. She also makes the case for enhanced links with Scotland and her vision of a United Gaeldom!
► Connecting Tourism: Liam Ó Cuinneagáin
Liam Ó Cuinneagáin is the founder of Oideas Gael, Ireland’s most successful Irish language Summer college for adult learners but here he has another mission, to promote the development of Slí Cholm Cille, a trail which would bring vistors from his homeplace of Gleann Cholmcille in south west Donegal to Iona in Scotland. As far as Liam is concerned this would rival the Camino di Santiago in northern Spain/southern France and would be a huge cujltural tourism asset.
► Connecting Arts: Julie Fowlis
Julie Fowlis is a singer from North Uist in the Western Isles whose powerful renditions of traditional songs in Gaelic has brought her all over the world. It was Julie who sang the theme song to Disney’s movie, Brave, and more recently she became the first Gaelic singer to gain a Scottish Music Award, placing her on the same pedestal as stars such as Paolo Nutini, Annie Lennox and Simple Minds. In this SpreaG fís she encourages aspiring singers and musicians to know their language and their culture as it will be an asset to them as they make their way in the world. Our songs tell our story.
► Connecting Gaelic: Sabhal Mòr Ostaig
Sabhal Mòr Ostaig came as the result of the inspiration and dedication, first of all, of a merchant banker called Ian Noble who became stranded on the Isle of Skye during a snowstorm. He decided to purchase a local estate in Sleat and, inspired by a trip to the Faroe Islands, set about using the local language and culture to generate an economic resurgence in the community. This SpreaG video, by Professor Boyd Robertson, Principal of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, tells the story of the development of SMO from its humble origins as a disused barn into Scotland’s Gaidhlig college with a modern campus and over 1000 students. Forty years on since the era began, a new phase of development is underway with the building of Kilbeg, the first new Gaeltacht village to be built in more than 100 years in Scotland or Ireland.