Ciste Infheistíochta Gaeilge (Irish Language Investment Fund) continues to progress Irish language and culture through the funding of new purpose built Irish language community centers throughout the north of Ireland.
“Not to learn Irish is to miss the opportunity of understanding what life in this country has meant and could mean in a better future. It is to cut oneself off from ways of being at home. If we regard self-understanding, mutual understanding, imaginative enhancement, cultural diversity and a tolerant political atmosphere as desirable attainments, we should remember that a knowledge of the Irish language is essential in their realization” – Seamus Heaney.
Established in the context of the Peace Process, Ciste’s work embodies the spirit of Heaney’s words and the funding of bricks-and-mortar projects is a perfect example of practical support which addresses current gaps in provision and which will enable a sustainable future for the Irish language communities involved.
Many of those communities bore the brunt of the conflict, and three recent Ciste landmark successes in west and north Belfast are a testament to the progress of the Peace Process itself, and amplify the wisdom of Heaney’s statement.
An Cumann Chluain Árd is located in the Falls Road area which witnessed the initial Loyalist pograms and British Army curfew which ignited the conflict. Cluain Árd has been the hub of the Irish language in Belfast since it was founded in 1936, and many thousands of learners have experienced Irish as a living language behind its doors. The old building has recently been entirely refurbished to provide a modern state-of-the-art facility for the 400+ learners who attend classes each week. As well as contributing $470k to this work, Ciste was also able to attract a further $520k of funding to ensure this work of national significance continues for at least another eighty years.
In north Belfast, Cumann Cultúrtha Mhic Reachtain has been delivering Ireland’s biggest Irish language school for adults each summer for many years. Previously, it was necessary to hire various premises to facilitate their work. Now, with Ciste’s support, their new premises delivers bespoke accommodation for the annual summer school and for many activities throughout the year.
Glór na Mona delivers youth programs through the medium of Irish in the Upper Springfield area of west Belfast, an area which has long experienced official neglect and deprivation. The new $520k community facility, Gael-Ionad Mhic Goill, provides the much needed space for this crucial work.
Speaking at the recent official launch of the new Gael-Ionad, Caoimhín Mac Giolla Mhín, Director of Ciste, said, “This new Irish language community facility is the latest success in the Ciste schedule, and with over twenty projects completed or in progress throughout the north of Ireland Ciste continues to invest in the Irish language community and the Peace Process,”
Among a range of speakers at the opening of Gael-Ionad Mhic Goill, it was fitting that Gerry Adams, TD, was present as it was Mr Adams who secured the initial $12.5 million fund to establish Ciste Infheistíochta Gaeilge at the Hillsborough Peace Talks in 2010.
To continue and complement this work, Ciste USA Inc. has now been established, and is a Non Profit Corporation and Registered 501(c)(3)Public Charity.
The Ciste mission recently received a major boost when the inspirational Irish artist Robert Ballagh pledged his support. Robert has donated a complete set of his ‘1916 Leaders’ prints as a raffle prize, and the lucky winner will receive a truly unique and significant artwork to commemorate the 1916 Rising.
Five hundred tickets are available at a cost of $100 each, and all funds raised will contribute to the ‘bricks and mortar’ projects that Ciste is delivering for Irish language communities throughout the north of Ireland – click here for the raffle ticket page.