Guerrilla Gaeltacht

Sulan O Muirgheasa
Visual Communication

College
National College of Art & Design

Contact
omuirgheasasulan@gmail.com
https://www.instagram.com/omuirgheasasulan/

Sulan O Muirgheasa

Guerrilla Gaeltacht

A final year college project exploring how the Irish language could be used to repurpose a forgotten space. Using the Irish language as a tool to repurpose a forgotten space. Having delved deeper into thought as to why the design ethics of my entire final year had been dedicated to positively changing peoples perceptions of the Irish language or to somehow guide people to its importance and understanding its cultural significance, I came to the realisation that at its core, it was completely personal. I had felt that I had somewhat lost touch with the language that encompassed nearly my entire life. At the same time, I was locked down in my mothers childhood home in the countryside of Donegal, which helped me understand how disconnected I was from the land, and more importantly, my family’s heritage. I knew I wanted to create something that reconnected me to my family’s land while also building a space that would stand as a safe-haven for the Irish language, and contribute to its survival. The space I used was an area my mother and her siblings played year-round growing up. You cross a river to the opposing bank where a small island-like plot of land lay. For over 30 years the space has overgrown with thick wild raspberry bushes, small trees and briars. Knowing I wanted to create a sanctuary for the expression of the Irish language, like that of a ‘Gaeltacht’ district, and given the impromptu nature of the situation we all found ourselves in, the idea of a ‘Guerrilla Gaeltacht’ seemed appropriate. Being isolated from amenities, I incorporated many artifacts from the land in my design; repurposing cut down trees and branches, using rocks from the river as a border to the island, and using the turf from our bog to create the handmade lettering for the sign.  I wanted to mark its completion with a ceremonial fire and something that would show my appreciation for the love I have for the language. The projected typographic installation listed the names of people who have inspired me within the language from as far back as I can remember. They ranged from ancient Gaelic heroes, to friends and family, to teachers, musicians, artists, and people who contributed a lifetime of passion and dedication to the language. The video is soundtracked by Joe Ó hÉiniú, who was omitted by his own people for his use of Irish in his sean-nós singing.