The world’s Irish speakers this week broke the world record for the longest Irish-language conversation ever held, completing a massive 170-hour chat.
Community groups from across five continents took part in the marathon conversation that finally ended in TG4 headquarters on Tuesday, October 18, after over a week of constant talk in our national language.
Kicking off at midday on Tuesday, October 11, Conradh na Gaeilge (The Gaelic League) co-ordinated groups around the world as part of #Comhrá16 (meaning “Conversation16”), an attempt to break the record for the longest sustained conversation “as Gaeilge” ever.
Before coming to an end at 3.00pm on Tuesday, the conversation had involved over 1,050 people from 80 groups in ten different countries.
“Every single person who participated in the #Comhrá16 conversation and helped achieve this world record deserves huge praise and thanks,” said Cóilín Ó Cearbhaill, President of Conradh na Gaeilge.
“Language connects people, and #Comhrá16 brought groups from the four corners of Ireland and overseas together to take on this challenge. Ní neart go cur le chéile – there is strength in unity.”
Streamed live over www.snag.ie for the week, the conversation heard from Irish-speaking representatives in Europe, Asia, North America, South America, and Australia, breaking the previous record of 169 hours of talk established in 2014.
First attempted by Conradh na Gaeilge in 2013, each year the 24/7 conversations have brought the community of international Irish speakers together to celebrate the language.
“#Comhrá16 was great for raising spirits and having lots of fun with the language, and we were delighted that so many international groups on five different continents participated in this year’s Irish-language world record attempt,” said Julian de Spáinn, General Secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge.
“Both Irish-language and Gaeltachta groups got involved in this year’s world-record attempt, with third level Irish-language societies, schools, GAA clubs, Is Leor Beirt conversation circles, radio stations, educational institutions, branches of Conradh na Gaeilge, and many more community groups around the world chatting as Gaeilge for #Comhrá16.”
Among those who took part were a group of Gaeilgeoirí from Toronto, set with signs to advertise what they were doing. The group was organized by Éilís Keegan, who is teaching Irish in St. Michael’s College, the University of Toronto as part of the Ireland Canada University Foundation program. The program places Irish teachers in Canadian universities for a year, similar to the Fulbright program to the US that also places Irish teachers in a selection of universities.
Other groups to take part included:
The Irish School in Sydney
Gaeltacht sur Seine (The Gaeltacht on the Seine, a group in Paris, France)
And Manchester, England
Comhghairdeas ó chroí libh! (Massive congratulations!)