THE president praised the organisers of the country’s biggest Irish language and cultural festival last night for continuing to make it modern and relevant.
Mary McAleese said the people behind Oireachtas na Samhna have responded well to the challenge of reinterpreting and re-energising the event and bringing it to a wider audience.
Speaking at the launch of the event in Cork’s Rochestown Hotel, she said nowhere is the Oireachtas’s wide appeal more evident than in its events for young people — Scléip na hÓige.
Between now and Sunday, Mrs McAleese said the heart of the Oireachtas will be beating with the pulse of young people speaking the language of their ancestors with pride and confidence.
“Is minic a bhím ag caint in óráidí, sa bhaile agus i gcéin, faoi chultúr na hÉireann agus faoina thodhchaí, agus is mion minic a luaim Oireachtas na Gaeilge mar eiseamláir,” she said.
“Anseo a chluintear daoine óga fuinniúla, bríomhara, daoine atá lán de mhuinín, ag labhairt seanteanga a sinsear le blas úraoiseach agus le compord. Nach álainn é.”
Awards were also presented last night to Máirín Quill, Muiris Ó Rócháin, Breandán Mac Gearailt, Mícheál Ó Ceadagáin, Máire Ní Thuama, Seán Ó Morónaigh, Séamus Langford, Séamus Ruiséal agus Doilín Nic Mhurcadha for their work promoting Irish culture.
Up to 10,000 people have arrived in the city for Oireachtas events with highlights including a special show in the Opera House on Saturday by comedian Des Bishop, and the Steip sean-nós dancing finals which will be broadcast live on TG4 from the Opera House.
The Oireachtas festival celebrates the Celtic festival of Samhain.
Celebrating its 111th year, the festival has received record numbers of entrants for its broad range of traditional Irish arts competitions, including sean-nós dancing, singing and storytelling.
An Oireachtas art exhibition entitled Aisling will be staged in the Cork Vision Centre until November 27.
The sean-nós dancing competition has attracted record entries and the climax of the three-day competitive programme is the prestigious Corn Uí Riada sean-nós singing competition.
The competition, held in honour of composer and founder of Cor Chúil Aodha Seán Ó Riada, will take place on Saturday.
Seán’s son, Peadar, director of Cor Chúil Aodha, is the chairman of the local Oireachtas organising committee.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved