The Belfast Gaeltacht, fifty years a growing…

This subtitled documentary on the setting up of the west Belfast Gaeltacht should be compulsory viewing for almost everyone in Northern Ireland (and beyond). It’s a real antidote to the cheap rhetoric currently being indulged in about the language, its speakers and what drives them.

As a personal aside, this project, its extraordinary mission and the many very ordinary folk who’ve been behind the setting of its enduring fruits remain one of the most enduring sources of inspiration “i mo shaol”, as they say…

It deserves a wide viewing…


  • file

    Did you leave out a link to the documentary?

  • JR

    The Shaws road is special and seems to be almost unique, There are other vaguely similar things happening in a few other locations at the moment. Our family is one of about 15 other families that I am aware of in the Newry and mourne area that are raising their kids through Irish (and the group that I know and am part of is by no means everyone). Though Geographically more spread out than those in Belfast we do try and maintain social links and would definitely see ourselves as a community. I think that there is something similar also happening around cairn tochar in Derry.

    My eldest daughter is almost five and in those five years we have never had a negative reaction from anyone and we speak Irish all the time no matter where we are or who’s company we are in.

  • mickfealty

    Should render as a video…

  • Annie Breensson

    No video showing here, Mick

  • mickfealty

    It’s playing fine for me. But I’ll add the link.

  • Annie Breensson


  • SeaanUiNeill

    Myself also…

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I’ve had some links with the inspirational Carn Tóchair “Neo-Gaeltacht” above Maghera myself:

    But the Shaws Road communities steady and dedicated work has certainly trailblazed the way towards a new approach to the revitalisation of the language in the north for everyone.

  • banana man

    Very interesting documentary. Slightly off topic question here, but as some who is actively learning Gaeilge can anyone explain why I find it easier to understand the people in this video (without thebuse of subtitles) than I would most of the time while watching Irish langauge programmes? Belfast isnt an accent id be used to so that woukdnt come into play

  • Northern Visions

    Also available at this link for those not accessing Facebook.

    Next broadcast is Monday coming 21.15 Freeview 7 (Greater Belfast) Virgin Media 159 (NI). Great to see so much interest, special indeed from the days when so much was DIY from setting up community and women’s centres to schools and cooperatives.

  • Paul Culloty

    People like myself who learned An Caighdeán (Standard Irish) would naturally speak slower in Irish than English, deliberating over precision. Most TG4/BBC NI documentaries, however, would involve native dialect speakers, who, accordingly, would speak much faster.

  • mickfealty

    They all speak pretty fluently and easily, but they’ve also always been immersed in the business in making spoken Irish more accessible even to folk who’ve had very little direct experience of the language. That capacity to demystify the speaking of the language in every day is in part what draws people to them.

  • burnboilerburn

    Fantastic stuff. I have been really struck by the increase in the use of Irish out and about and the numbers of people taking it up. Maybe the DUP attitude is acting as a motivator.

  • mickfealty

    Shaws Road was not a reaction to anything but the opportunity for families to live their lives well and in a manner they chose for themselves. All else followed, even as the massive ups and downs continued around them.

    I liked Seamus’s use of the word “cruthaitheach”. Creativity was key to its sheer generativity and infectiousness. It also allowed them carry on despite (rather than in spite of) institutional indifference and passive aggression.

    There’s a lot to learn here (and I don’t just mean the language). “Ní raibh aon léarscáil ann.”

  • Riocard Ó Tiarnaigh

    Iontach! Grma!

  • Katyusha

    Superb documentary. Thanks for sharing.