Gaeltacht Arts investment breaks €1 million a year barrier

26 September, 2008

min read

€6.3 million invested in Gaeltacht Arts in past decade pays off.

Over €6.3 million has been invested in Gaeltacht Arts over the last ten years by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, a joint venture between Údarás na Gaeltachta and The Arts Council that promotes the development of both the contemporary and traditional arts within the Gaeltacht areas, according to the Údarás na Gaeltachta CEO, Pádraig Ó hAoláin.

Mr. Ó hAoláin, who was speaking at the official launch of the partnership’s tenth anniversary celebrations at the Connemara Coast Hotel, Na Forbacha, Co. Galway yesterday (Thursday 25th September), pointed out that Ealaín na Gaeltachta was now supporting the arts with up to €1 million a year and that this money was on top of separate grant aid from the Arts Council as well funding from Údarás na Gaeltachta.

Mr. Ó hAoláin added, “When Ealaín na Gaeltachta was formed 10 years ago there was a reasonably strong contemporary arts scene in the Gaeltacht areas. However, there was little or no infrastructure, no framework of support, the traditional arts were on the wane, and many of the artists and groups were functioning in isolation. Ten years on, and there exists a lively, vibrant, distinct and well-structured arts scene encompassing all disciplines of the arts. Indeed many of the art forms have successfully fused both the contemporary and traditional that in turn has breathed fresh life into the whole arts scene. This has also meant that new up-and-coming artists have been attracted from across the island and even from overseas to what is a unique creative economy in the Gaeltacht areas.

“Just some of the examples I can think of include the puppet theatre Fibín run by Mícheál Ó Dónaill and Darach Ó Tuairisg. These young puppeteers who at one stage studied under the Henson clan have so far won an Irish Times Theatre Awards nomination as well as an Allianz Business to Arts nomination. Then there are Ian Joyce and Úna Hyland who came from Belfast to set up Ceardlann na gCnoc in Donegal where they are involved in some of the most exciting visual art projects in the country that is getting increased international recognition.

“And speaking of international artists, we also have traditional dancer Seosamh Ó Neachtain, who though only in his thirties, has brought sean nós dancing to audiences all over the world while giving this art form, unique to ourselves, a new attraction to younger people ensuring its survival.

“Ten years on Ealaín an Gaeltachta can be very proud of what is has achieved both in developing new arts initiatives and preserving those that we already have, things that will give pleasure to many thousands of people, recession or not.”