Breaking the stigma surrounding the Irish language, destroying clichés, and having a “debaucherous piss-up” while doing it. That’s the aim of Pop Up Gaeltacht. Their last event packed the venue out, with hundreds of people speaking their mother tongue.

Find out more about the guerrilla event from the founders themselves - Peadar Ó Caomhánaigh and Osgur Ó Ciardha.  Questions and answers are in Irish with English translations directly underneath.

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Cad ba chúis leis na hócáidí seo? – What prompted you to start these events?

Peadar: Bhíomar ag breathnú ar an-chuid sna meáin a bhí ag rá linn, go bunúsach, nach raibh ann dínn – Gaeil uirbeacha a úsáideann an Ghaeilge ar bhonn laethúil taobh amuigh den chóras oideachais agus, tábhachtach a dhóthain, nach bhfuil á dhéanamh don maoiniú stáit nó don tuarastal. Mhothaíomar gur cic san aghaidh dár fhéiniúlacht a bhí ann. Bhí daoine ag scríobh sna nuachtáin nárbh fiú faic muidne. Sin ráiméis. Bheartaíomar mar fhreagra taispeáint go raibh muid ann, chomh simplí sin. Ní raibh cliú againn, áfach, cé mhéad dínn a bhí ann.

Peadar: We were looking at a lot of stuff in the media that was, basically, telling us that we – urban Irish speakers who use the language daily and outside the education system, or crucially outside of paid, Irish-language employment – didn’t exist. That felt like a kick in the face to our identity. People were writing in national newspapers that we were literally worthless. That’s rubbish. We decided as an answer to show that we simply existed. We didn’t have a clue, however, how many people would join us.

Osgur: Tá níos mó Gaeil san ardchathair ná in aon áit eile ar domhan. Tá siad chomh compordach céanna ag ragairneacht i nGaeilge is i mBéarla, nó fiú níos compordaí. Tá siad dátheangach agus muiníneach. Tá na láthaireacha agus ócáidí éagsúla ag a mbailíonn siad cúng agus tá an slua Gaelach ag dul thar maoile ag lorg spás nua. Is minic nuair a théimid ag ól mar ghrúpa le meascán teangacha (rud atá an-chomónta) go mbeartaíonn an sochaí an teanga, rud atá nádúrtha go maith. Níl mórán faoin áit fhisiciúil a chúisíonn é seo. Is an slua a smachtaíonn sin. So bheartaíomar Bat Signal a chur in airde ar na beáranna is iomráití sa chathair agus breathnú cad a tharlódh. Tharla Pop Up Gaeltacht.

Osgur: There are more Irish speakers in the capital city than anywhere else on earth. They are just as comfortable boozing in Irish as they are in English, perhaps even more so. They are bilingual and confident. The usual places and events that they inhabit are narrow and overflowing with an Irish speaking crowd that long for new spaces. Often, while we are out in mixed language company, (which is very common) society dictates the lingua franca, as is natural. There is little about the physical space that causes that. It is the crowd that controls it. So, we decided to put a Bat Signal up on the most sought after bars in the city and see what would happen. Pop Up Gaeltacht happened. 

Peadar: Cad a thugfadh Zuckerberg agus Sandberg air? Disruption? Sin é. Disruption.

Peadar: What would Zuckerberg and Sandberg call it? Disruption? That’s it. Disruption.

Conas a fheiceann sibhse tírdhreach na gcainteoirí dúchais in Éirinn inniu?  

How do you see the landscape of native speakers in Ireland right now?

Osgur: Is ceist ait í sin ar bhealach. Ní ghlacaimid go bhfuil an t-idirdhealú idir cainteoirí dúchasacha, nua-chainteoirí agus béarlóirí mar dhea, cabhrach nó tábhachtach. Is ionann an cheist dúinne agus ceist maidir le faoi mar atá an tírdhreach Éireannach ina iomláine. Tá an Ghaeilge agus ár bhféinmhuinín náisiúnta fite fuaite. Tá ceisteanna maidir le cearta teangacha soiléir dúinne mar dhaoine a bhfuil Gaeilge againn de thoil agus de mhian. Ach ní fiú labhairt le daoine maidir le cearta muna gcreideann siad gurb ann duit sa chéad áit. Léiríonn Pop Up Gaeltacht ar bhealach tadhlaíoch don tsaol mór go bhfuil ann dúinn agus go bhfuil airgead againn le caitheamh.

Osgur: That’s a weird question, in a way. We don’t accept that the distinction between native, new and non-Irish speakers is helpful or important. The question is the same as asking us how the entire Irish landscape is. The Irish language and our national self-confidence are interwoven. The questions regarding language rights are fairly clear to us as we have Irish fluently and willingly. But there is no point talking to people about your rights if they don’t believe you exist in the first place. Pop Up Gaeltacht shows to society in a tangential way that we are here and have money to spend.

Peadar: Seas aon áit sa tír, aon lá den tseachtain agus abair liom cé hiad lucht an Bhéarla agus cé hiad lucht na Gaeilge. Níl aon difear suntasach eatarthu. Tá sé cliché le rá go bhfuil difear fealsúnach idir duine le Gaeilge agus duine gan í. A mhalairt, bhíomar ag iarraidh úsáid na teanga a normálú, seachas í a bheith mar chuid don “eile”.

Peadar: Stand anywhere in Ireland any day of the week and point out the differences between Irish speakers and English speakers. There’s no difference between them. It’s clichéd to say there’s some philosophical difference between those who speak Irish and those who don’t. On the contrary, we wanted to normalise use of the language, instead of othering it.

Osgur: Nílimid sásta go gceaptar fúinn a thuilleadh mar chúis chatharnachta. Ach ní ócáid feachtasaíochta í; Is oíche ragairne agus drabhláise í.

Osgur: We are no longer content to be thought of as a charity case. But this isn’t an activism event. This is a debaucherous piss-up.

Cén fáth, meas sibh, go gcailleann daoine an nasc leis an teanga nuair a fhágann siad an scoil?

Why do you feel people lose touch with the Irish language when they leave school?

Osgur: Deirtear de shíor gur beatha aon teanga í a labhairt. Muna bhfuil fáth gairme nó sóisialta níl aon fáth agat len í a úsáid seachas mar rud éigin le haghaidh searmanais cultúrtha. De réir mar a scaiptear agus a scoiltear an pobal óna chéile, laghdaíonn na fáthanna sóisialta. Muna bhfuil fonn ort obair san earnáil Gaeilge, cad atá fágtha? Ach tá an t-idirlíon dhá athrú sin.

Osgur: It is always said that the life of a language is in its speaking. If there is no career or social reason, then there is no reason other than some kind of cultural ceremony. As the community is spread wider apart, social motivations disappear. If you are not inclined to work in the Irish-language sector, what is left? But the internet is changing all that.  

Peadar: Cén fáth go gcailleann daoine an nasc atá acu le matamaitic nó tíreaolaíocht nuair a fhágann siad an scoil? Muna gcruthaíonn tusa úsáid di tú féin, caillfidh tú suim inti. Níl an mileán ar fad ar dhrochmhúinteoirí nó an siollabas.

Peadar: Why do people lose touch with maths or geography when they leave school? If you don’t create a use for it, your interest in a subject wanes. You can’t blame bad teachers or the syllabus for everything.

An bhfuil go leor á dhéanamh ag an rialtas chun an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn in Éirinn?

Do you think the government do enough to promote the Irish language in Ireland?

Osgur: Níl aon fhianaise le feiceáil go bhfuil aon cur chuige ag an rialtas i leith na Gaeilge. Níl móran suime agam i ngíomhaíochtaí an rialtais. Tá an brú atá ag teacht ón gcosmhuintir céad uair níos cumhachtaí agus míle uair níos suimiúla.

Osgur: I’ve seen no evidence to suggest the government has any approach to the Irish language. I’m not interested in government action. The pressure coming from the people is a hundred times more powerful and a thousand times more interesting.

Peadar: Níl.

Peadar: No.

Ní chuireann sibh áit in áireamh, ach téann sibh amach ar aon nós. Cén fáth gur maith libh an cur chuige guerilla sin?

You don’t book ahead with the venues, you just go for it. Why do you like that guerrilla element?

Osgur: D’fhéadfainn a rá leat go gcuireann sé leis an dteachtaireacht fo-choinsiasach go bhfuilimd maraon le gach duine eile. D’fhéadfainn a rá leat go gcuireann sé leis an mistéir. Ach leis an fhírinne a rá, dá lorgóimis cead bheadh orainn stuif a eagrú agus níl am againn. Táimid beirt gnóthach agus níl aon airgead á thuilleadh againn as seo. Níl aon rud le heagrú so tá an oíche an-solúbtha.

Osgur: I could say that this adds to the subconscious message that we’re the same as everyone else. I could say that this adds to the mystery. But, to be honest, if we asked for permission we’d have to organise stuff and we don’t have time. We’re both busy and we don’t earn any money from this. Nothing to organise means the night is flexible.

Peadar: Rinneamar iarracht le beár amháin ach scanraigh siad mar níor thuig siad cad a bhí i gceist. Cheapadar go raibh 300 againn chun bord amháin a roinnt nó rud éigin. Ceapann siad go bhfuilimid ar fad weird nó rud éigin. Is custaiméirí muidne cosúil le éinne eile, so rockáilimid suas, like.

Peadar: We tried to organise things with one bar, but they freaked out because they didn’t understand the concept. I think they thought 300 of us wanted to share a table or something. They think we’re all weird or something. We’re customers like anyone else, so we just rock up, like.

 

 

Dúirt sibh gur meascán de dhaoine a théann chuig bhur n-ócáidí, cén cuma a bheadh ar ghnáth-slua?

You mentioned that the people who come along to your events are diverse, what’s a usual crowd like?

Osgur: Plúr na n-óg agus laochra Gael, chomh maith le daoine nua nach bhfuil aithne dá laghad ag éinne orthu. Leiríonn seo go bhfuil na mílte daoine a bhfuil suim acu sa Ghaeilge nach bhfuil nasctha le “domhan na Gaeilge”.

Osgur: The young and the restless, as well as people who none of us have ever encountered before. This shows that there are thousands of people who are interested in Irish who have not been assimilated into the “Irish Language Scene”.

Peadar: Agus tádar chomh sexy.

Peadar: And they’re really sexy.

Osgur: Ar bhealach, is gnáth-shlua iad. Ar bhealach eile, is slua eisceachtúil iad. Is sa forshuíomh sin atá an rúndiamhar.

Osgur: In one way, they’re a normal crowd. In another way, they’re exceptional. It’s in this superposition that the mystery lies.

Cad atá in ann do dhaoine atá ag freastal ar na hócáidí seo?

What can people usually expect at one of the events?

Peadar: Is faoin slua atá an oíche. Níl aon clár siamsaíochta nó aon rud. Ná bí ag súil le crannchur nó céilí. Bí ag ól, déan cómhra, faigh an shift. Pé rud a dhéanann oíche maith duitse, sin go breá dúinne.

Peadar: The crowd decides the night. There’s no programme of entertainment or anything. Don’t expect a raffle or a céilí. Drink, talk, get the shift. Whatever makes a night good for you is good enough for us.

Osgur: A leithéid de cheist! Ag tús na hoíche, bíonn neirbhís le mothú, agamsa pé scéal é, agus mé ag breathnú thart ag iarraidh na Gaeil a phiocadh amach as an slua. Ansin, gan choinne, tar éis deoch nó dhó, abracadeabra bíonn an beár lán le Gaeil. Go dtí seo glacadh seilbh iomlán ar na beáranna. Ag staid amháin tháinig Gardaí thall le sinn a ruaigeadh den tsráid ach chasadar ar a gcuid sála nuair a chualadar an teanga!

Osgur: What a question! At the start of the night people are nervous, well, I am anyway, as I look around trying to pick out the Irish speakers in the crowd. Then, all of a sudden, after a drink or two, abracadabra the bar is full of Irish speakers. Up until now, we’ve taken total control of bars. At one stage, two guards came over to turf us off the street, but they turned on their heels when they heard the language!

Cen cuspóir deiridh atá ag Pop Up Gaeltacht

What’s the ultimate goal for Pop Up Gaeltacht?

Peadar: Ní raibh cuspóir deiridh againn agus muid á bhunú, so bheadh sé slítheach a rá go bhfuil ceann againn anois. Tá an oíche idirnáisiúnta anois, ar fud na cruinne, agus táimid tar éis taispeáint ní amháin go bhfuil an Ghaeilge normálta, ach go bhfuil luach tráchtála ag baint léi chomh maith. Anois, nuair a roghnaítear beár i nDoire, in Hong Cong nó i Washington DC don chéad Pop Up Gaeltacht eile, feiceann siad na dollar signs sna súile. Bingo.

Peadar: We didn’t really have an ultimate goal when we started off, so it’d be disingenuous to say we had one now. The night is international now, worldwide; and we’ve showed that Irish is normal, but also has a commercial value. Now, when a pub is chosen for a Pop Up Gaeltacht in Derry, Hong Kong or Washington DC, bar managers get dollar signs in their eyes. Bingo.

Osgur: Teastaíonn uaim a leiriú do shaol na tráchtála go bhfuil luach mór ag baint le Gaeilge ag leibhéal fíor-bhunúsach. Sin luach tráchtala. Is léir nach bhfuil meas ag domhan na linne seo ar aon rud eile.

Osgur: I want to show the commercial world that Irish has a significant value to them, at a very basic level. That’s commercial value. Obviously, the modern world respects nothing else.

Peadar: Ag smaoineamh siar, b’fhéidir gur chóir dúinn airgeadú a dhéanamh ar an gcoincheap, mar tá carr nua uaim.

Peadar: Looking back, maybe we should have monetised the concept, because I want a new car.


An gceapann sibh gur féidir le hathbheochan forleathan teacht ar an nGaeilge?

Do you think there can be a widespread resurgence in the Irish language?

Osgur: Tá sé f*cáilte, grab it while it’s hot. I ndáiríre tá faitíos orm muna n-athraíonn na Gaeil a meon faoi ársacht murab ionann is nua-aimsearthacht go gcaillfear í, maraon le neart teangacha eile.

Osgur: It’s f*cked, grab it while it’s hot. In all seriousness, I am worried that unless Irish speakers change their attitude about its ancient heritage as opposed to its modernity, then it will be lost along with many other languages.

Peadar: D’fhéadfadh sé tarlúint, ach má tharlaíonn beidh sé in ainneoin iarrachtaí an Stáit, seachas dá bharr. Nílimse chomh diúltach le hOsgur mar chonaic mé an óige in áiteanna cosúil le Carn Tóchair, Co. Doire, atá an Ghaeilge lárnach san fhéiniúlacht acu, agus thug mise dreas cainte do na mic léinn le Gaeilge i UCD. Tá daoine níos óige ná muidne atá chun í a thabhairt ar aghaidh. Má fhaigheann sí bás, ní inár nglúin nó sa chéad ghlúin eile a tharlóidh sé.

Peadar: It could happen. But if it does, it’ll be despite the State’s best efforts, not because of them. I’m not as negative as Osgur because I’ve spent time among the young people of Carn Tóchair, Co. Derry, for whom Irish is a central part of their identity. And I spoke to the Irish speaking students in UCD. Younger people than we two will carry the language. If it’s going to die, it won’t be on this generation’s watch, nor the next one’s.

Tuilleadh Eolais faoin Pop Up Gaeltacht/ More Info:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1164403753665115/

Foilsíodh an alt i dtosach báire ar districtmagazine.ie

This article was originally published on districtmagazine.ie

Focail/Words: Eric Davidson

Pictiúr/Photo: Siún Ní Dhuinn