This summer, BBC Gaeilge is taking listeners on a journey through Irish-language music, culture and literature with a host of new programmes, content and outside broadcasts on BBC Sounds & BBC Radio Ulster/ Foyle.
Over the summer months, BBC Gaeilge will be celebrating the best of traditional Irish music live at the Ulster Fleadh, discovering the unique character of Belfast’s eight ‘Quarters’ and following the journey of a young writer exploring intergenerational trauma through creative writing. There’s also a new radio series of Trad ar Fad! from the Festival Interceltique de Lorient and a new four-part series featuring a new presenter focusing on the tradition of sean-nós singing. Blas Ón Taobhlíne continues to keep listeners up-to-date with all the big stories from the world of sport, Blas Ceoil will continue over the summer with Caoimhe Ceol hosting guest musicians, and presenter Caoimhe Chats Ní Chathail hosts the new Blas: An Sár-Sheinnliosta series in July, discovering her guests’ ultimate playlist. Caoimhe Chats Ní Chathail returns with a new series of Ceol Sa Chroí in August before Blas celebrates its 25th anniversary in the Autumn.
Starting Tuesday 4 July
Did you know that Belfast has eight ‘Quarters’? In a new six-part series, presenters Aodhán Ó Baoill and Niamh Ní Dhubhgáin take listeners on a tour to discover the unique character of each of the city’s ‘Quarters’. Over the six weeks, Aodhán and Niamh will meet a range of local people, historians and experts to find out what gives each ‘Quarter’ its distinctiveness – from the Titanic and Gaeltacht Quarters to the Cathedral and Library Quarters.
The series starts with a tour of the Queen’s Quarter. Architect Ciarán Mackel talks about how some of Belfast’s most iconic buildings were designed, including the main building of Queen’s University, the Lanyon Building. Queen’s University Professor, Míchéal Ó Mainnín, describes the changes that he has seen in the city and in attitudes towards the Irish language since starting work in the university in the 1980s. Niamh and Aodhán are met by epidemiologist Stephen Carson at one of Belfast’s most recognised historical sites, Friar’s Bush Graveyard. Stephen dispels the myth that if ‘Plaguey Hill’, where victims were buried during a cholera epidemic of the 1830s, were disturbed, cholera would spread among the population again.
Traditional guitarist, Neil Ó Briain from Cork tells the programme about the cultural scene in the Queen’s Quarter and how there is something for everyone in that part of the city, while archaeologist Pól Mac Cumhaill explains more about the history of Botanic Gardens, the buildings within its grounds and how it used to be inaccessible except to the social elite of Belfast.
The series is produced by Clean Slate Productions for BBC Gaeilge and RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta with support from Northern Ireland Screen’s Irish Language Broadcast Fund.
Trad ar Fad!
Starting Wednesday 5 July
Join Caoimhe Ceol Ní Chathail at one of the most exciting folk festivals – the Festival Interceltique de Lorient. During 10 days in early August last year, the festival showcased Celtic music and culture from a range of countries. It has been described as a melting pot like no other and Trad ar Fad! gives listeners the chance to savour the atmosphere at the venues and locations with Caoimhe as guide.
The first episode on Wednesday 5 July features Rura, The Bonny Men and Ross Ainslie with a host of performances over the following three weeks including Ímar, The Karan Casey Band, Ards Comhaltas Branch, Dónal O’Connor Mec Lir, Perfect Friction, New Ross Pipe Band, Brian Finnegan with The Hunger of the Skin band, Skolvan, L&R and many more.
Blas: Monday to Thursday
Blas Ón Taobhlíne: Mondays
Feargal Mag Uiginn continues to keep listeners up-to-date will all the big stories from the world of sport and also presents a special live outside broadcast from the Guildhall in Derry for the GAA World Games on Monday 24 July.
Blas: An Sár-Sheinnliosta Thursdays in July, starting Thursday 6 July
Presenter Caoimhe Chats Ní Chathail is joined by a host of contributors every Thursday during July, talking about their favourite love songs, power ballads, dance floor fillers and more. Caoimhe’s special guests include Ola Majekodunmi, Antoin Beag Ó Colla, Rebecca Ní Dhonnaile, Cúnla Morris, Rút Ní Theimhneáin, Seán Ó Dubhchon, Áine Mhaoir and Seosamh Mac Seoin.
Blas Ceoil: Thursdays
Caoimhe Ceol Ní Chathail brings a feast of traditional music every Thursday 8-9pm.
Live at the Ulster Fleadh
Friday 21 July
On Friday 21 July Caoimhe Ceol Ní Chathail joins Stephen McCauley and Lynette Fay live in Dromore, County Tyrone at the Ulster Fleadh. Over three hours, the programme will feature a special night of music and craic with sessions and live performances throughout the evening.
Caschlár with Brian Mullen continues to bring listeners on a musical journey around the world over the summer. Relax with Brian’s choice of music that includes a mix of sounds from traditional, blues, pop and soul.
An Fonn Óg
Starting Wednesday 2 August
The summer season welcomes a new voice to BBC Gaeilge – Bláithín Mhic Cana from County Armagh. Oriel singer Bláithín will present a new four-part series, An Fonn Óg, focusing on how young singers are helping preserve the art of sean-nós singing. Over the four weeks, starting on Wednesday 2 August, Bláithín is joined by four of the best young traditional sean-nós singers who are preserving the ancient art form. They talk about their heroes from within the sean-nós world, including Lillis Ó Laoire, who has won Corn Uí Riada several times, the premier sean-nós singing competition at Oireachtas na Gaeilge.
The first programme features Donegal native Naoise Mac Cathmhaoil, now based in Belfast. The following week (August 9), Bláithín finds out about the Kerry singing tradition from broadcaster and current ladies’ champion sean-nós singer Sláine Ní Chathalláin. The mens’ champion sean-nós singer, Domhnall Ó Braonáin, speaks of the Conamara tradition and his mother’s influence on his own style – his mother being Caitlín Ní Chualáin, previous Corn Uí Riada winner. The series finishes with Róise Nic Corraidh, raised in Belfast and now living in the Donegal Gaeltacht, about the impact of Tory Island on her music.
Ceol sa Chroí
Starting Thursday 03 August
Ceol sa Chroí returns for a third series on Thursday 3 August. Over four episodes, Caoimhe Chats Ní Chathail meets some of Ireland’s most exciting contemporary musicians including Le Boom, featuring County Meath brothers, Christy and Andy Leech.
Scríbhneoirí an tSléibhe le Conor Torbóid: Starting Tuesday 15 August
Over four weeks, budding writer Conor Torbóid explores the gift of healing through writing. Discussing the experiences and creative writings of Scríbhneoirí an tSléibhe, a Belfast based creative writing group which was set up to tackle mental health problems faced by members of the community, Conor looks at intergenerational trauma in a post conflict society.
Conor begins his journey talking to writer Feargal Mac Ionnrachtaigh, director of Glór na Móna. Feargal was one of the founding members of Féile na gCloigíní Gorma, a health and wellbeing festival in Belfast out of which Scríbhneoirí an tSléibhe (Writers of the Mountain) was born. Over the following weeks he talks to Nuala Ní Scolláin, Fionnuala Ní Mhealláin, and Seán Johnboy Ó Muireagáin – each of whom have written poetry or stories.
Through these writings, Conor aims to explore Northern Ireland’s history, intergenerational trauma and how it manifests in today’s society in a bid to expand on his own understanding of the society into which he was born twenty two years ago.
Scríbhneoirí an tSléibhe le Conor Torbóid is produced by Corcra Media for BBC Gaeilge and RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta with support from Northern Ireland Screen’s Irish Language Broadcast Fund.
*Transmission times are subject to change