Irish language projects will be able to take advantage of a €15,000 grant scheme that has just been announced. The funds were raised from the profits of the 2012 Rith Irish Language Festival during which thousands of people from Schools, Colleges, Sports Clubs, Irish Language Groups, Youth Clubs and Individuals took part in a 700-kilometre relay throughout Ireland. Over 27,000 people turned out to run a leg of the relay, which was sponsored by the kilometre with interested parties “buying” a kilometre of the route to run in their region.
An artisan hand-carved baton with a secret message hidden inside was carried throughout the 2012 Rith run and the message was read out as part of the St Patrick’s Day closing ceremony in the Aran Islands on Inish Mor. The message was from Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland supporting the Irish Language.
The 700-kilometre relay covered many towns and villages from Gaoth Dobhair, Co Donegal to the finishing line at Inis Mór, Arann, Co Galway. The route went via Derry, Belfast, Armagh, meandering down to Meath, Dublin and Galway, passing through 15 counties in just 10 days, with a great sense of occasion along the way with people of all ages proudly passing on the baton along the route. This is the first occasion Rith Teo has declared a grants scheme, and they have decided that the 2014 event will also be funding groups. Applications welcome from Irish Language based projects, especially those who are short on any other kind of financial assistance.
Irish Language Promotion
The background of Rith is based on an event in the Basque country, which raises funds for support of the Basque language. The first Rith took place in 2010, and raised enough to cover the €80,000 costs of the event.
Last year, an extra €15,000 was raised that will be allocated to groups promoting the Irish language. The scheme is not exclusive to only Irish speaking groups, any group that wishes to add an Irish-language aspect to their projects are welcome to apply.
The 2014 route is online at rith.ie and will include an overnight run for Dublin. With funding also in short supply being requirements for Irish Language groups, Rith is a much-needed addition to the fundraising calendar.