The Arts

Are you an artist who speaks Irish?  Do you work in the arts?

POBAL invite you to register your details on a new Irish language website that focuses on Irish language arts. Our research has found that it is often hard for people interested in Irish art or artists to find Irish speaking artists. Substantial work has been carried out on this issue, but some gaps remain. POBAL would like to fill some of these gaps in order to provide publicity and information on the Irish language arts and artists.

Fill in your form Here


Strategy for the Irish Language Arts 2009-2012

There is a lot happening at present in the Irish Language Arts throughout Ireland but a lack of coordination is hampering development opportunities in the field. As a result, Irish language artists may be losing out on opportunities. In 2005 POBAL sent out a consultation to the sector. It was found that Irish language artists and providers were experiencing particular difficulties, such as: funding and assistance, finding and filling employment opportunities in the sector, developing audiences, adding to training opportunities and skills development, raising the image of Irish language Arts locally, nationally and internationally. The proposals that were strongly identified through the consultation process were used to formulate a 3 year plan for Irish Language Arts in Ireland.

POBAL have employed Cormac Ó Briain, the renowned uillinn piper, as its Irish Language Arts Coordinator. He has much experience in project development that qualifies him to undertake the 3 year plan. As a piper and Irish language artist Cormac felt suited to the post, as he says, ‘when I read the strategy I found it inspiring. I could see that the strategy was a great way to promote the sector. I am proud to have this opportunity to assist native cotemporary artists’.

Download Strategy Here


POBAL’s Cuisle an Cheoil – New Gaelic Music on the rise

History was made for the Irish language community last week as the first Gaelic contemporary music school was held by POBAL in Coláiste Feirste. Irish speaking youth from a range of second level schools attended the first ever ‘Cuisle an Cheoil’, learning a range of skills from experienced tutors. The school, funded by Belfast City Council, offered tuition from master musicians as well as workshops each day on the skills needed to build a career in the music industry. The pupils then had an opportunity to practice their musical skills under the watchful eye of ‘Bréag’ front-man Caoimhín Mac Giolla Catháin. Caoimhín not only helped them work together as groups but also offered valuable tips on how to perform in front of an audience.

Irish language Arts Coordinator, Cormac Ó Briain from POBAL who organised the school said, ‘The seeds have been planted for a modern Irish language music sector and seeing young people so enthusiastic about music has given us great hope for the future. We have learned so much from this week and next year’s school will be even better, there are so many possibilities’.

The school of course received great community support but particular thanks go to AMPS studio and Andersonstown Contemporary and Traditional Music School who helped immensely. The school would not have happened if it had not been for the support of Coláiste Feirste whose staff facilitated the school in their building and also offered great support throughout. POBAL will be working on the ground building the sector, and are looking forward to next year’s event which is now set to become a regular occurrence on the events calendar for Gaelic and music lovers alike.

See Cuisle an Cheoil film (made by Meon Eile) Anseo


POBAL Arts for Schools Project 2010

POBAL gave Irish medium schools and A level students all over the north a unique chance to work with recognised writers and actors in a series of storytelling and literature workshops. Among the artists taking part was Fermanagh’s renowned novelist Séamas Mac Annaidh. Séamas ran workshops in 12 primary schools based on his travel experiences and his life as a writer and a journalist, using this experience to help pupils develop their story telling and creative writing skills. He believes that ‘Storytelling is an important tool in educational and social development. We spend our lives telling and listening to stories. Before the coming of computers and television we had stories and we will still have stories when computers and television are gone. I get great enjoyment out of storytelling. I pick up stories on my travels and pass them on as i go.’

In Secondary schools, pupils focused on dramatised workshops on a new text on the Irish A’ level curriculum, Breithiúnas. Janet Muller said, ‘This is the first time that this complex drama has been on the A level syllabus. Teachers are less familiar with it and we decided to work with artists and actors to help pupils get a sense of the themes of the play, whilst also enjoying high level readings and input from Irish language artists.’ These workshops, run by Séamas Mac Annaidh, featured professional actors Mary Ryan and agus Dónall Mac Giolla Chóill. St Dominic’s High School Irish teacher Andrea Higgins said of the project, ‘A2 Irish language literature is a great challenge for pupils and, unfortunately, resources in this area are lacking. I think that POBAL’s project is extremely important and i am grateful to them for catering to these needs. These workshops create opportunities for us to discuss the themes and plots with a professional writer and i am sure that the students benefited enormously from the use of professional actors in the workshops.’

During POBAL’s Arts Project 2010 the need for Study Notes on Breithiúnas was highlighted by teachers and pupils, and because of that, Séamas Mac Annaidh was asked to write the study notes for the CD package. The CD package also contains an introduction from Dr. Éamon Ó Ciosáin, a lecturer at NUI Maynooth and a grandson of the author, and an MP3 recording of a workshop on the subject which provides the opportunity of hearing scenes from the play acted out and discussed by the coordinator, actors, teachers and pupils. The package was launched in St Dominic’s High School on 28/9/10 by the Minister for Education Caitriona Ruane, with guest speakers Damian Smyth, Arts Council NI’s Head of Drama and Literature, and Dr. Éamon Ó Ciosáin. The notes ar available to download below or contact POBAL if you would like a copy of the CD package.

The POBAL Arts Project 2010 was provided, in conjunction with the Arts Council NI, as part of its ‘TÁ’ project to raise a positive profile for the Irish language.  

Downloads:   Download study notes on ‘Breithiúnas’ (Irish and English)


Ródseó na Gaeilge

Ródseó na Gaeilge was an arts project under the direction of Pobal. Established in 2004 with support from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Rodseó ran until October 2008.

Featured on the POBAL Irish Language Ródseó were artists: Breandán Ó Beaglaoich, Lasairfhíona Ní Chonaola, Gearóid Mac Lochlainn (file), Eoin Dillon, Pauline Scanlon, Donogh Hennessy, Dónal Ó Connor, Alan Burke, Julie Fowlis, Éamonn Doorley, Noel   Lenaghan, Doiminic Mac Ghiolla Bhríde, Mairéad Ni Mhaonaigh, Ciarán Curran, Séamus Ó Beaglaoich, Eoin Ó Beaglaoich, Mary Ann Kennedy, Maggie Mc Donald, as well as the best of local talent in the areas that the Ródseó visited.

The aims of the Ródseó from the beginning were:

  • Increase the opportunities’ for Irish language artists to bring their work to the attention of the wider public
  • Increase the audience for Irish language arts
  • Engagement with local Irish speakers and community arts venues and users
  • Strengthening the infrastructure for Irish language arts through collaborative work local councils
  • Enhance awareness and understanding of our shared Gaelic heritage amongst the public

For the last couple of years Pobal has been working with most of the local Councils in the North, with all of the Gaelscoileanna, with cultural groups and other organisations such as Iomairt Cholmchille.


Julie Fowlis and Eamon Doorley perform ‘Òganaich Uir a Rinn M’ Fhàgail’ live at the POBAL Roadshow in Portstewart in 2007.   Listen here

Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and Ciarán Curran perform ‘Gleanntáin Ghlas’ Ghaoth Dobhair’ live at the POBAL Roadshow, Clinton Centre, Enniskillen 2008.   Listen Here

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