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There's going to be a pop up Gaeltacht 'from the Bankers to the Mercantile' tonight

Here’s the story behind the events bringing hundreds of Gaeilgeoirs together over pints.

EVERY MONTH, hundreds of Gaeilgeoirs come together in Dublin to chat over pints, forming what’s come to be known as a ‘pop up Gaeltacht’.

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Osgur Ó Ciardha and Peadar Ó Caomhánaigh are the men behind the events, which have been taking over pubs in the city regularly since late last year.

Speaking to (as Gaeilge, these answers are translated), Peadar says it started as a response to negativity about the Irish language in the media:

[They were] saying it was worthless as a language and that nobody was speaking it… There was one video [by journalist Eoin Butler] using dubious or invented figures to ‘demonstrate’ that the Irish language was on life support.

“We wanted to prove it was alive and well here in the city,” he said.

They don’t organise the nights, per se – there’s no money involved, and no booking of rooms. A Facebook event is set up, and Gaeilgeoirs just descend on the pub of choice for the night, ‘guerrilla’ style.

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The first was held back in November in Bar Rua on Clarendon Street, and the lads were expecting “20-40″ people to join them. Try around ten times that.

250 or more came. We had to stand outside on the street, the bar was that full. It was unbelievable.

The next night, in the Grand Social, was even more rammed:

The two of us were standing by the door in the Grand Social counting faces and thinking we had about 15 Irish speakers in the place when a friend came up to us and said “Hey lads, do you know there’s 300 people speaking Irish around the corner here?”

The idea has clicked with Irish speakers, Peadar says, because it’s something they do with their friends anyway – it just brings it “out in the open, into the ‘English’ world”.

“Basically, we’ve asked people who speak Irish if they’d come for a scoop with us. Who wouldn’t support that?” he said.

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They’ve hosted two more very successful nights this year, inspiring them to go bigger and better to coincide with St Patrick’s Day and Seachtain na Gaeilge – on March 16, they plan to turn a whole street into a Pop-Up Gaeltacht:

We’ll be taking over the entire Dame District from the Bankers to the Mercantile, including 4 Dame Lane, Sweeney’s, The Stag’s Head and the Dame Tavern. Everyone is welcome – it doesn’t matter if you’re fluent, rusty, or just have the ‘cúpla focal’.

There are now Pop Up Gaeltachts happening around the country, and abroad too – Irish speakers in New York, Washington DC and Toronto have all hosted their own events.

Tweet by @Misneachd Misneachd / Twitter Misneachd / Twitter / Twitter

Peadar says they have no immediate plans to expand on the idea, but he encourages other people to start pop-ups of their own.

“The concept is open source,” he says. “We just want it to be 100% normal when people hear Irish being spoken on a night out in Dublin.”

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