The cover of the Great Book of Gaelic.
A MAJOR art exhibition highlighting the cross
community nature of Gaelic culture will take place at Lisburn
Library this month.
' The Great Book of Gaelic' or An Leabhar M�r'
opened yesterday (Thursday) and is being marked with a number of
events celebrating the shared Gaelic heritage of Ireland and
The exhibition, which has already visited
other parts of Ireland, Scotland and the USA, features the work
of more than 200 Irish and Scottish Gaelic artists and poets.
It includes selections of poetry from 600 AD
onwards alongside contemporary illustrations and calligraphy.
Local contributors include author P�l �
Muir?, whose poem 'D-Day' recalls how his West Belfast aunt
became a GI bride during the Second World War.
Twinbrook performance poet Gear�id
MacLochlainns 'Paddy' is penned in urban
The 19th century poet John McCambridge is
also featured. A Protestant and uncle of the first Lord Mayor of
Belfast, he wrote a song in Antrim Gaelic about exile in
Scotland called, 'If only I were in Articoan'.
The ULTACH Trust is one of the sponsors of
the event. Development worker Gordon McCoy said: "The Gaelic
link with Scotland challenges stereotypes. For nationalists, the
Irish language is seen as an integral component of the Irish
"Yet Gaelic is also spoken in British Legion
Halls and in Presbyterian churches in Scotland. It is as common
in Highland homes as in West Belfast and Donegal."
Rosie McDonald of Lisburn City Library said:
"The book and exhibition feature different types of poetry as
well as varying artistic styles and calligraphy. The poetry
explores universal themes such as love, exile and homesickness -
and in so doing, they provide snapshots of Irish and Scottish
'All the poems can be read in their original
Gaelic and in English translation. We are expecting lots of
interest - so anyone planning to come along needs to book first.
There is no admission fee."
Tommy Sands of the internationally-celebrated
Sands Family will be at the Library on Wednesday (November 14).
Tommy is a singer-songwriter who helped create a worldwide
interest in Irish music during the 1960's.
At a lunchtime event on Wednesday November 21
Presbyterian minister Rev Bill Boyd will relate his experiences
of learning Irish and talk about a worship group which uses the
language in Fitzroy Presbyterian Church.
And on November 24 a party of psalm singers
from the Free Church of the Isle of Lewis will travel to Lisburn
The event looks to the spiritual poetry of
the Psalms of David. Gaelic psalm singing is central to the
worship of Presbyterian Churches in the Western Isles of
Scotland. There, a style of community singing has grown up in
which individuals create a beautiful and distinctive overall
The events' programme ends on November 28
with a night of song and dance sponsored by the Ulster Scots
Agency and Foras na Gaeilge.