Banfhile Ildánach

– A Conversation with Ciara Ní É

Episode #17

In this episode, of “The Language Question,” we dive into a fascinating conversation with Ciara Ní É, a dynamic figure in the world of Irish language and arts. Ciara shares her journey from growing up in an English-speaking household to becoming a passionate advocate and educator of the Irish language. We explore her transformative experiences in the Gaeltacht, her decision to prioritise Irish over a career in science, and her innovative efforts to make the language accessible through her YouTube series ‘What the Focal’ and podcasting. This episode is not just about language; it’s a story of cultural identity, personal growth, and the power of following one’s passion. Join us for an inspiring exploration of the Irish language through the eyes of a dedicated linguist and artist.

Podcast Notes

A Linguistic Journey from Childhood

Discover how despite Ciara’s upbringing in an English-speaking home, influences from her family and through her educational experiences sowed the seeds of her love for the Irish language.

The Gaeltacht Summers

Ciara shares her transformative experiences during her summer stays in the Gaeltacht. These anecdotes not only highlight the beauty of immersive language learning but also the deep cultural connections formed there.

Choosing Irish Over Science

At a crucial juncture, Ciara chose to pursue Irish language studies over a potential career in science. This segment delves into the thought process behind such a significant life choice, offering insights into the value of following one’s passion.

‘What the Focal’ and Beyond

Ciara discusses her initiative ‘What the Focal’, a YouTube series aimed at demystifying the Irish language. This part of our conversation sheds light on the challenges and rewards of making a language accessible to all.

Podcasting in Irish

Moving from YouTube to podcasting, Ciara explains her transition and the deeper exploration of the Irish language and its nuances in her podcast series.

The Writer’s Path

We also touch upon Ciara’s journey as a writer. From childhood diaries to becoming a recognised poet and playwright, her path is as inspiring as it is diverse.

More on Ciara Ní É

Ciara Ní É. Ciara is a multi-award-winning bilingual poet, performer, playwright, and screenwriter, renowned for her dynamic and impactful contributions to the arts. She is the visionary founder of REIC, a monthly multilingual spoken word event, and the co-founder of the LGBTQ+ arts collective AerachAiteachGaelach. Her dedication to the arts and community has earned her recognition as one of the Irish Examiner’s 100 women changing Ireland in 2022 and as an ambassador for the Irish Writers Centre.

In 2023, Ciara is the artist in residence at UCD’s School of Irish, Celtic Studies and Folklore, building on her previous experiences with the Dublin Fringe Festival and DCU. Her performances have captivated audiences in New York, London, Brussels, Sweden, and across Ireland. Ciara’s literary prowess is evident in her contributions to anthologies such as Bone and Marrow/Cnámh agus Smior, Washing Windows, Icarus, Aneas, and Comhar, with her eagerly anticipated first poetry collection on the horizon.

Her work extends beyond the written word, having written poems for prestigious platforms like UNESCO City of Literature, The Linenhall Arts Centre, RTÉ TV, BBC Radio, TG4, and The Irish Writers Centre. In collaboration with Eoin McEvoy, she co-founded AerachAiteachGaelach, which was featured in the Abbey Theatre’s 5×5 2020. Their immersive theatre piece premiered at The Dublin Fringe Festival 2021. Currently, Ciara is co-writing a TV series with Tua Films, showcasing her versatility and creative flair.

Learn more about Ciara here:

Free Irish Learning Resources Guide

Whether you are just starting out or have already begun your language learning journey, I have compiled a collection of resources that should help you along the way.