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Lifestyle – Raidió na Gaeltachta was established half a century ago following a concerted campaign by civil rights activists in Conamara to challenge the state’s continued neglect of Gaeltacht areas. As the station turns 50, BERNIE NÍ FHLATHARTA examines its contribution to broadcasting and its importance to Gaeltacht residents and Irish speakers.

Murach gluaiseacht ó mhuintir na Gaeltachta fhéin, go háirithe I gceantar Chonamara, tá seans maith ann nach mbeadh Raidió na Gaeltachta bunaithe ar chor ar bith.

Bunóidh stáisiún bradach ar dtús báire agus as sin, chuir Rialtas an lae iallach ar RTÉ stáisiún Gaeilge a bhunú.

Raidió na Gaeltachta initially broadcast only two hours a day, with only seven broadcasters covering the three regions of the West Gaeltacht, but it gradually expanded, not only to other small Irish-speaking areas of the country, but to cover the whole country. .

Today, the station broadcasts 24/7 from its base in Casla and can be heard from around the world. Its extensive archive has been digitized, and highlights of its daily programming are available on its podcasting service.

Last weekend, the station celebrated its 50th anniversary with a gala concert broadcast on the anniversary of its first broadcast, five decades ago. The concert, which featured traditional musicians from across the country, including Altan, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Steve Cooney, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh and Cór Chúil Aodha, was produced and filmed by local company Aniar TV. Highlights of the event will be shown on RTÉ One on April 23.

Many high-profile local musicians, including Johnny Óg Connolly, Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Caitlín Ní Chualáin and Beartla Ó Domhnaill, also participated, as did sean-nós dancer Róisín Ní Mhainín and the Hernon and Devanney families. It was a defining moment.

Gluaiseacht Chéarta Sibhialta na Gaeltachta was established in 1969 to campaign for better infrastructure, job creation and services with the aim of revitalizing Irish-speaking communities that were being ravaged by emigration.

The founders of the civil rights group Gaeltacht believed the area needed to be revitalized to entice people to stay and possibly encourage emigrants to return.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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