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Mayor calls for support for national Irish language Event

08 February 2016

Local people across Derry and Strabane are being invited to take part in a special fundraising event promoting the Irish Language as RITH 2016 arrives in Strabane during Seachtain na Gaeilge, Irish Language Week.

The event takes place on Friday March 11th  between 2pm and 5pm, and is part of a nationwide festival which sees participants complete a huge all-island relay starting off in Kildare and ending at the GPO in O’Connell Street in Dublin. The baton will be carried around Ireland for eleven days, from morning to night March 4th – 11th, covering a trip of 700km and passing through more than 200 towns and villages in 32 counties.

In 2014 more than 30,000 runners and walkers took part, and Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Councillor Elisha McCallion, called for local people to come out and lend their support. “RITH offers a fantastic opportunity for people to support the Irish Language by taking part in something which is fun and positive, and which brings towns villages and cities across Ireland together,” she said.

“There is great support for the event throughout the country, it creates a real sense of community and I would really like to see a strong turnout for the event in Strabane.”

Irish language Officer for Gaelphobal in Strabane said, “I am certain that not only the Irish language community but the people of Strabane in general will come out in support of this national celebratory event. Sports and cultural clubs as well as schools and the business community have strongly supported RITH in 2010, 2012 and 2014. So, I would love to see even more schools and community groups taking part this year. RITH is a national festival and a cause for celebration for all of us. So, come out and be part of the fun and the craic”.

Irish Language Officer with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Pól O Frighil, said: “RITH 2016 promises to be bigger and better this year and I hope to see local groups, clubs and schools turning out in force to take part.

“The event promotes and celebrates the Irish Language in an inclusive, enjoyable and energetic way, and it gets young people talking about Irish and what it means as part of our culture and our national identity.

“You don’t have to speak Irish to take part but you never know, you may pick up a few words along the way.”

RITH takes place across Ireland every two years and during the event participants carry a special baton containing a secret message in Irish from the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, and at the end of the run the message will be revealed.

The Festival has its origins in similar language festivals in other European cities which celebrate and promote minority languages, and not only raises awareness but also generates vital funds and sponsorship to support Irish Language events throughout Ireland.

The event is delivered in partnership between Derry City and Strabane District Council and Gaelphobal na tSratha Báin.

Anyone can participate in any part of the race, and each kilometre is sponsored with the baton and carried by the individual who has purchased those kilometres. 

You don’t need to pre-register but if you want to be involved you can buy your own kilometre on www.RITH.ie and for that part of the run, you and your group will lead the run and  carry the baton!