If you still think of the Irish language as dead or dying, you couldn’t be more wrong. The new generations of Gaeilgeoirs are rejuvenating the language, from the Pop Up Gaeltachtaí taking place across the country, to the t-shirt brand bringing Gaeilge and fashion together.
Beanantees is the brainchild of best friends Lana and Ciara, who met as children in the Gaeltacht of Gweedore.
Lana is originally from Glasgow and grew up speaking Gáidhlig (Scots Gaelic), while Ciara was reared with Donegal Irish – they bonded over their love of Gaeilge, fashion, and and “wild Irish women”.
“I was staying with Ciara for a couple of weeks last year and I noticed she had started embroidering Irish phrases on her t-shirts just for fun,” Lana tells STELLAR.
Embroidered tees were becoming a big thing then, and we figured if we combined the two things it could work! As young women, we’re obviously passionate about gender equality and women’s rights too, so we really wanted to tie that in as well, and create something fresh and fun that promotes women and their rights as well as the Irish language.
After getting some samples in November, they found someone in Donegal to embroider the t-shirts, roped in a few friends to model for the website, and then they were away.
At the moment, the tees come in two colours (baby pink and white) and three slogans – buzzáil (buzzing), yas banríon (yas queen), and of course, bean an tí (woman of the house).
The t-shirts are €25 each, with 10% of all sales going to the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre and the Rape Crisis Network Ireland.
“There have been a lot of high profile cases in the news in the past 12 months which have really shone a light on rape culture in Ireland and the way women are treated. In all honesty, we just wanted to help,” explains Lana.
The work [these organisations] do helping women and men through these traumatic experiences is incredible, so if we can support them in a small way by doing what we’re doing, then that’s great.
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Is muid Beanantees – a couple of Donegal girls trying to make Irish cool again. 💚💚💚 . It’s been a helluva year for the mná na hÉirinn and we think it’s time for a celebration. . We wanna do that with some fun tees agus cúpla focal. All our tees are limited edition, designed and embroidered in Donegal. . 10% of all sales will go directly to supporting the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre and the Rape Crisis Network Ireland. . Website coming soon! ⚡⚡
Lana and Ciara are currently working on Beanantees socks and tote bags, and hope to see their wares stocked in Irish design stores. Ultimately, they want to encourage people to speak Irish and embrace the language, whatever their level of fluency.
“A lot of the people who have bought their tees may not be fluent Gaeilgeoirs, but they still want to be a part of this little movement we’ve created, which is exactly why we started it,” says Lana.
We believe in speaking cúpla focal every day and we are trying to bring Gaeilge to the mainstream with simple buzzwords. Language is always changing and evolving, so we are having fun putting our own spin on it.