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“It’s an ancient language,” celebrating the revival of Irish Gaelic at Irish Fest

It’s been 125 years since the formation of the Conradh na Gaeilge, the revival of Irish Gaelic, and to celebrate, Irish Fest organizers are making the language a special focus at the festival. 

Irish Gaelic was first spoken centuries ago. 

"It’s an ancient language. You’re looking at a language that has been around since before the pyramids," Meagan Visser said. 

Visser is a member of Rang Gaeilge San Cedar Valley, an Irish language learning group in the area. Her goal is to become fluent in the language. 

Irish Gaelic is different from Scottish Gaelic, and Visser said it’s constantly evolved since it was first created. 

"It’s very much still a minority language, but it’s still very much present. It’s pretty amazing to think something from so far back is still going," she said. 

A distinguished and vibrant language to those who hear it for the first time. 

"It’s so much more poetic in how they describe things," Visser said. 

To many, the Irish Gaelic language is more than just a combination of words. It’s also a community of people celebrating their culture. 

"I know people all over the world now because of the language. I know people all over this country because of this language," Visser said. "For me, it’s just been being able to meet really interesting people."

This year, the Irish Fest will provide special opportunities for people to learn the language. 

"We have three different language workshops — one that’s hosted by Rang Gaeilge San Cedar Valley and the other two are by an Irish language band that we’re bringing in named Seo Linn," she said. 

The hope is to teach others at the festival who many know nothing about Irish Gaelic. 

"Just educate people on the existence of it and what’s happening with it now. [Irish Gaelic] hasn’t gone away," Visser said. "It’s not a dead language. It’s not going away."

For more information on Iowa Irish Fest or language workshops, you can visit their website


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