Ealaín na Gaeltachta has awarded bursaries of up to €6,000 to 57 Gaeltacht artists. These include writers, musicians, visual artists, dancers, storytellers, theatre makers and filmmakers, established and emerging artists in the contemporary and traditional arts, whose audiences spread far beyond our Gaeltacht regions.
With the Gaeltacht arts sector hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, additional support of €200,000 has been awarded by the Creative Ireland Programme as part of the July stimulus to substantially increase supports to Gaeltacht artists. These bursaries will support artists to create new work, undertake research, develop their practice and, where possible, undertake residencies.
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin T.D., said: "It gives me great pleasure that the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media is able to provide additional support to our wonderful artists working in the Irish language. Their projects are truly inspirational and are a tribute to their unique vision. Our language is a precious jewel and those that are working in it must be cherished and supported."
Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for the Gaeltacht and Sport, Jack Chambers T.D., also welcomed this initiative as a demonstration of the Government's commitment to the development of the arts in the Gaeltacht, in line with commitments made in the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030.
Minister Chambers said: "The creative arts is one of the sectors most affected by COVID-19, while the Gaeltacht is the region most disproportionately impacted, so these bursaries are particularly significant and timely. These artists are doing incredible work at the most difficult time. This funding is an investment in the preservation and promotion of the Irish language and Irish culture at a time when the arts is most needed to lift the nation’s spirits."
This increase and additional supports to Ealaín na Gaeltachta’s Scéim Sparánachta was warmly welcomed by Micheál Ó Fearraigh, development executive for Ealaín na Gaeltachta, who said: "Without artists, there is no art. We have a deep appreciation of the vital importance of the arts in our everyday lives in the Gaeltacht. We are grateful to the Creative Ireland Programme who have allowed us to offer substantial additional support to Gaeltacht artists at a time when many of their livelihoods have been decimated by the pandemic."
Ealaín na Gaeltachta, with the support of the Arts Council and Údarás na Gaeltachta, has been supporting Gaeltacht artists for over twenty years. The Scéim Sparánachta (Bursary Award) supports up to 20 artists on a yearly basis, to invest time in the development of their practice.
The awardees include the IFTA nominated actor Dónall Ó hÉalaí who has recently been listed as one of the 'Stars of Tomorrow’ in Screen International. Dónall Ó hÉalaí said: "I am very grateful to Ealaín na Gaeltachta and Creative Ireland for this artist’s bursary award. It gives me a great personal opportunity to put time aside to script write. As an actor, one often dreams of the opportunity to write one’s own script. I can further this dream as a result of the motivation and support this bursary from Ealaín na Gaeltachta and Creative Ireland has given me."
Other awardees include:
Visual artists - Nuala Ní Fhlathúin and Andrew Duggan
Poet - Ceaití Ní Bheildiúin
Dancers - Ruairí Ó Donnabháin and Ríonach Ní Néill
Composer - Manus Lunny
Theatre maker - Darach Mac Con Iomaire