Márta 18, 2020

Óráid Áinín Uí Chaiside ag Oscailt Aonach Mhacha

A Dhaoine Uaisle …

Ba mhaith liom fáilte a chur romhaibh uilig bheith anseo inniu don ócáid stairiúil seo, do na maoinaitheoirí, polaiteoirí, na heagraíochtaí Gaeilge, pobal áitiúil na Gaeilge, cairde agus clann, fáilte go hArd Mhacha agus go hAonach Mhacha.

Ba mhaith liom fáilte ar leith a chur roimh na daoine a thaisteal ó gach cearn den tír go cathair stairiúil Ard Mhacha
… cathair atá beag, ach a bhfuil a lán le hofráil aici do mhuintir na háite agus do chuairteoirí chomh maith.
…welcome to the historic city of Armagh, a city that is small but which has a lot to offer locals and visitors alike
….that includes both the beautiful natural landscape of the seven hills surrounding the city and the two famous Cathedrals we can see on either side of this building …
… making Armagh the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland.

Ard Mhacha is also the ancient seat of the kings and queens of Uladh …
… and takes its name from the legendary spéirbhean and warrior queen Macha …
… who famously cursed the men of Ulster so they could not fight, or do much of anything …
… agus b’fhéidir gur sin an fáth ar iarradh ormsa labhairt ar dtús.

Of course, the centre is also named after the goddess Macha …
… Aonach Mhacha, The Assembly of Macha.
Historically, this was an occasion where the Gaels came together to feast, to celebrate and to make decisions…
… and we like to think we are recreating that tradition, ag tabhairt daoine le chéile le tionchar a imirt ar an obair a dhéantar anseo, le ceiliúradh a dhéanamh agus le cairdeas a chothú.
… so, after more than a decade in the pipeline, it’s a great privilege to be able to welcome the community through the doors today.

There are people here today of many different ages, nationalities, political stances and religious beliefs …
… so today is a celebration of what can be achieved when communities work together
…when they are empowered to take charge of their own area and make decisions to better their communities.

Is ceiliúradh é an lá inniu ar an fhás agus ar an fhorbairt atá tagtha ar an Ghaeilge ag leibhéal an phobail agus trí ghníomhaíocht pobail….
… taking inspiration from the people who first founded the Shaw’s Road Gaeltacht in Belfast and their motto, “ná habair é, déan é”.

Since then, perceptions of Irish have changed greatly agus ní ghlactar leis an dearcadh ‘back to the bog’ mar drochrud, ach go bhfuil muid ag filleadh ar an dúchas tríd an Ghaeilge a labhairt go nadúrtha agus go hoscailte
… the numbers of daily Irish speakers has risen exponentially with the continuous growth of Gaeloideachas …
… and it has been given official recognition in the North, as reflected in in the New Decade, New Approach deal.
So it’s fitting that we’re officially opening Aonach Mhacha at the start of that deal …
… and we look forward to building on its recognition of the Irish Language in the years to come.

Aonach Mhacha aspires to be a beacon of hope for the Irish Language community in Ard Mhacha agus ar fud na tíre
… and we are proud to have created a space of opportunity and community, which promotes and celebrates Irish Language and culture …
… but respects and values all other Languages and cultures also.

For me, it’s fitting that Aonach Mhacha has been built on the site of the old fire station ….
… which was always at the heart of the community …
… particularly in the dark days of the troubles.

The firemen and women diligently served the community here in Armagh …
… and we will continue to do the same.
We can’t save lives, but we can enrich them.
We can provide opportunity, community cohesion, inclusion and a sense of self …
… so this building has maintained its purpose of being a place to help, a symbol of strength, purpose and service.

In tribute to the firemen, our logo features a ladder.
For them it was a tool to save lives …
… for us, our tool is the building because it enables us to get our job done.

As Séamus Heaney wrote in his poem ‘Digging’, referring to the fact he couldn’t follow the family tradition of farming:
But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.
Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.

Ba mhór an onóir agus an pleisiúr dom bheith ag obair ar son Aonach Mhacha le cúpla bliain anuas.
agus le mo chomhstiúrthóirí, Réamonn, Gearóid agus Seán.

This was a very challenging project at times …
…. as all of us work full-time for eagraíochtaí Gaeilge and, as the saying goes, “are stuck in everything but the crib” (!)
There were many late nights and early mornings …
… and meetings in the Cairde Teo or Gael Linn office, Armagh City Hotel or many other cafes and pubs around the town.

But the building is here now …
… and in a prominent, visible position in the Shambles area of the city.
It is not an office building, or a library or a museum …
…. it is a community space which belongs to every single person in Armagh.

So today I want to appeal to the community to come on board and help out or become involved in any way they can.
No skill is invaluable to us here.
Mar a deir an seanfhocal, “mura bhfuil agat ach pocán gabhair, bí i lár an aonaigh leis”.

Cé nach as an chathair seo ó dhúchas aon duine de na stiúrthóirí, tá meas millteanach againn ar an áit agus ar na daoine anseo.
Gearóid was even willing to cross the county boundary from his native Tír Eoghain to make this project happen …
… but he cleverly orchestrated our final directors’ meeting before today to be in Tyrone (!)

I’m sure the other directors will agree that he was the driving force behind it all …
… and the person who kept us all on track with immense attention to detail, creativity …
… and pure thick headedness at times (!)

Mar sin, ba mhaith liom an deis seo a thapú leis a ról luachmhar a rinne sé a aithint
… le buíochas a ghabháil leis as an dianobair atá déanta aige le deich mbliana anuas, agus le iarraidh air teacht aníos agus cúpla focal a rá.

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