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Sunday's Spectacular Event: Revival of Irish Language and Culture |

Sunday’s Spectacular Event: Revival of Irish Language and Culture

The open-air performance held at the Markets Field on Sunday in Limerick exceeded all previous gatherings of its kind. Excursionists from Dublin, Waterford, Tipperary, Cork, and Ennis arrived in large numbers by train, resulting in an estimated attendance of around six thousand people. The weather was delightful, further enhancing the appeal of the festivities. Three platforms were set up for dancing and singing competitions.

The program commenced at Platform No. 1, with the Mayor, Mr M. Donnelly, taking the chair. Reverend T. Lee, R.V., from Croom, delivered an address amid applause. The Mayor expressed his immense pleasure at presiding over such a magnificent gathering, given its purpose. He believed everyone was eager to hear from Father Lee, and he warmly welcomed the attendees. The Mayor anticipated a great treat from Father Lee’s speech and did not wish to delay their expectations.

Father T. Lee, who received enthusiastic applause, expressed gratitude to all the visitors, particularly the Colum Cille Branch, who had attended previous events. He also extended his appreciation to the organizing committee, members of the Limerick Branch, and the Sarstield Branch for their successful coordination of the festival (Feis). He commended their dedication and acknowledged the tremendous effort they had invested, as evidenced by the impressive turnout.

The Reverend then directed his address towards the children, specifically those who had participated in the previous day’s school competitions. He emphasized the significance of their role in shaping the future of Ireland. He encouraged them to continue their study of the Irish language, stating that their commitment to learning and speaking Irish would contribute to the true and rightful development of Ireland.

Father Lee urged the children to persevere with their Irish language studies, making it a regular part of their lives—week after week, day after day, and year after year. He advised them to say their prayers in Irish and encouraged them to speak Irish at home. He emphasized the importance of reclaiming and preserving their language, highlighting that it was not only the language of the Irish but also a language taught in numerous European universities, including prestigious institutions.

He asserted that the Irish language was the best means for the Irish people to express their thoughts, feelings, history, and experiences of their race. Father Lee dispelled the misconception that Irish lacked literature, pointing out its remarkable wealth of romance that European nations had drawn upon during the 9th and 10th centuries.

Father Lee passionately argued that the language which had suited the Irish people in their prosperous past, the language is spoken when Ireland was known as the Queen of Learning and a beacon for scholars, should be the language they embrace today. He urged the children to speak Irish, and learn the ancient stories of Finn MacCool, the Swan Children, and the Children of Usna. By understanding these narratives and the countless legends associated with the hills and valleys of Ireland, they would become true Irish girls and boys, deeply connected to their land and filled with love for it.

Father Lee implored the children to promise that they would learn Irish at every school, speak it at home, and say their prayers in Irish. He emphasized that the language was not dead but composed of living forces that would shape their character, reviving the distinctive qualities and strengths of the Irish race from the past. He further requested their commitment to staying in their own land, fostering a brighter and happier future for their souls and bodies.

Father Lee envisioned a new and authentic Ireland if they remained true to their promises. He believed that in twenty years, they would have an Ireland where the Irish language thrived, embodying their cultural heritage and shaping the nation’s identity. The audience responded with applause, signalling their agreement and enthusiasm for this vision.

The address by Reverend T. Lee served as a call to embrace Irish language and culture, instilling a sense of pride and fostering a deeper connection to Irish roots. It aimed to ensure the preservation and revival of the Irish language, emphasizing its importance in shaping the future of Ireland and nurturing a strong national identity.

Limerick Echo – Tuesday 28 June 1904

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