THE Ennis Branch of Conradh na Gaeilge celebrated its founding in November 1900 with a weekend of celebrations in the town recently.
Bunaíodh Craobh na hInse ar an 5ú lá de mhí na Samhna i Seanscoil na mBuachaillí ar Bhóthar Chill Ruis, agus bhí Easpag Chill Dá Lua an Dr S Mac Réamonn mar phátrún ar an gcraobh agus bhí an tAth. R Ó Conaill, leas-uachtarán ar Choláiste Naomh Fhlannáin mar chathaoirleach. D’eagraigh Craobh na hInse reatha deireadh seachtaine mar Chéiliúradh ar Bhliain na Gaeilge agus Tóstal Éireann chun an ócáid stairiúil sin a chomóradh.
A comprehensive programme of events was organised to celebrate the historic event. A booklet outlining the history of the development of Irish in Ennis from 1900 to the present day, compiled by branch uachtarán, Seán Ó Ceallaigh and cisteoir, Domhnall Ó Loingsigh, was launched in the Auburn Lodge Hotel by Íte Ní Chionnaith, past-president of Conradh na Gaeilge. Ms Ní Chionnaith praised the work of Conradh in the town and said she had first-hand experiences of many of the innovative projects undertaken by the branch over the years to promote the use of Irish in the community.
She said in many respects, the branch was a “market leader” in this field and had won many national awards in recognition of this.
Comóradh an Chéid, the exhibition prepared in 1993 for the 100-year celebrations of the founding of Conradh na Gaeilge in Dublin, was re-launched in Musaem an Chláir. It features reproductions of many historic pictures and documents, will be open to the public in the museum foyer for the next two weeks.
Later that evening, Gradam Gaeilge an Chláir, the award presented to the group or individual who has done most to promote the use of Irish in their business, was presented to Andrew Newland, the artist now living in Kilmaley. When he arrived from England some 15 years ago, he had absolutely no knowledge of Irish and now is a fluent speaker. Indeed, Irish features largely in all of his exhibition material and many of his pieces have Irish titles. Andrew has had many high-profile national exhibitions and has adjudicated the art competition in Féile na hInse for many years.
On the Sunday, a special aifreann was celebrated in Ennis Cathedral, and featured the music and singing of the pupild of Gaelchoiláiste an Chláir, under the direction of music teachers Kathleen Tuohy and Orla McDonagh.
The mass celebrant, Fr Ger Fitzgerald, said the Irish language is a priceless treasure, which should be protected and guarded safely. It is, he said, what makes us Irish and he was particularly pleased to see students of other nationalities participating in the liturgy, a nice way of paying tribute to their newly adopted home. He praised the work of Conradh in Ennis, which performs a valuable community service, he said, in promoting Irish at a local level and creating an awareness of the importance of the language in our multi-lingual society.
After mass, Donnachadha Ó hAodha, uachtartán Chonradh na Gaeilge, unveiled a commemorative plaque on the wall of the Old National School on the Kilrush Road to mark the founding of the Ennis branch in that building in 1900. At a reception in the school hall afterwards, an tuachtarán said that it was very fitting that he should be in the very room in which the meeting to establish the Ennis branch was held more than 100 years ago.
Ghabh an t-uachtarán buíochas le baill reatha de Chraobh na hInse a rinne gaisce thar an deireadh seachtaine chun comóradh den scoth a eagrú i mBlian na Gaeilge, nuair a bhí an bhéím ar ‘Chéiliúradh na Teanga’. “Is féidir le muintir na hInse bheith bródúil as an éacht atá á dhéanamh sa bhaile chun an Ghaeilge a chur cun cinn mar theanga pobail. Tá toradh na hoibre le sonrú go láidir sa bhaile agus táim cinnte go mbeidh cáil náisiúnta ar an dtionscnamh “Inis Dom!” sár i bhfad.