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Alt in / Article in Little Village (Márta '19)

In this month March two big festivals are celebrated in Ireland and many other countries around the world: St. Patricks Day and Seachtain na Gaeilge.
The growth of St. Patricks Day around the world is phenomenal, with this year upto 400 global landmarks internationally going to be turned green on the day.
It’s a good idea to have Seachtain na Gaeilge also celebrated this month concurrent with the St. Patricks Day festival.
Leaving aside the politics of promoting the Irish language nationally in Oireachtas Éireann, there is one issue that I don’t often see addressed in relation to the language in Dublin and many other counties in Ireland: the position of the language in the naming of new residential areas.
Some readers may not know that over 500 new residential areas were named in Irish during the Celtic Tiger years, and there are over 700 overall named in Irish on the island today. However few were and are named in Irish in Dublin and some other counties since independence in 1922 and with a pick up in building in the Greater Dublin Area in the last couple of years and more development expected I sometimes get saddened that the Irish language is not widely prevalent in the naming of new residential areas in many counties- particularly the capital.
All or the vast majority of new residential areas should, in my opinion, be named bilingually in Irish/English at a minimum particularly on the areas welcome pillars and/or gates, and if this practice was common or the norm in Dublin it would go a long way to increasing the visibility of the language.
The four councils in Dublin have a policy of “encouraging the use of names in Irish” in the naming of new residential areas. I don’t propose that all new residential areas be ideally named solely in Irish but ideally most of them would in my opinion. Equality for the Irish language i.e a good bilingual approach- would go a long way to increasing the physcial visibility of the language in Dublin though and if this was achieved as the standard practice it would be huge progress.
There are some great things happening with the Irish language in Dublin. The visibility of the language in the naming of new residential areas has to date seldom been one of them. With Seachtain na Gaeilge being celebrated this month along with upcoming council elections in May I hope more people in the public including our public representatives acknowledge and do something proactive about the use of the Irish language in the naming of our new residential areas to affect positive social and cultural change in the capital on this issue.

Jack London

M. Scott Peck (29)