Gráinne Seoige & Kayleigh Trappe On What Gaeilge Means To Them

STELLAR PROMOTION: Time to use the cupla focal!

Seachtain na Gaeilge le Energia returned earlier this month, celebrating our native language and culture on an international stage.

Each year, the festival includes events, activities and chances for us all to flex our Gaeilge muscles – whatever their strength! We caught up with ambassadors Gráinne Seoige and Kayleigh Trappe to find out what the language means to them.

Iriseoir agus láithreoir Gráinne Seoige

You’ve had a bilingual media career – do you feel lucky to be able to work in dhá theanga?

I have indeed, I started as a léitheoir nuachta i nGaeilge i gConamara in TnaG and I went on to become among other things a news anchor in English at Sky News in England! Even now I realise that is something special.

Did you realise the significance of being a cainteoir dúchais – or do you appreciate it even more now?

When I was growing up it was the language my parents spoke to each other and what my grandparents spoke to the whole family, so while I became aware at some stage as a child that not everyone had Irish like we did – it was normal for us – I didn’t see it as significant, it was a part of life. As I grew up I came to appreciate the privilege and I am grateful.

You’ve spent time living thar lear – do you find yourself still speaking Gaeilge when you’re away?

If I call my Mom on the phone, whether its from Spiddal or South Africa, we speak Irish with a smattering of English. While I was living abroad I wasn’t with other Irish people so no it wasn’t coming up on a daily basis, although people there are fascinated with ‘Gaelic’.

Having said that – being an Irish speaker was super helpful in learning Afrikaans over there. Being bilingual means your brain can adapt more readily to a third language. Language shapes our mindset and perceptions – it really is part of what makes being Irish different. Even when we are speaking English here, we are speaking our version of it. It has been influenced by Irish.

What is your advice to anyone looking to learn or speak more Gaeilge?

Put yourself in situations where you will hear it and be encouraged to speak it. Join a club, go online and become part of a community. As someone who learned a language myself in the last few years, practicing, learning through trying it out not being afraid to make mistakes and finding the right teachers who will encourage you and give you confidence is important.

Irish is a fun language so finding that element will really help making learning it a positive experience.

What is your favourite seanfhocal as Gaeilge?

Is trom an t-ualach an t-aineolas. It means – ignorance is a heavy burden it’s a bit like ‘ignorance is bliss’.

Why did you want to get involved with Seachtain na Gaeilge le Energia i mbliana?

Simply? Because I was asked! We celebrate every aspect of Irish culture especially around St Patrick’s Day. We marvel at Irish music, we cheer our Gaelic Games, we applaud how the image of Irish dancing has been completely transformed and is a smash worldwide.

The Irish language seems to be the last piece of the cultural jigsaw that makes us uniquely us that isn’t afforded the same respect or celebrated in the same way at home in particular. I want to be a part of changing that.

Réalt na meán sóisialta Kayleigh Trappe

Did you grow up speaking Gaeilge sa bhaile?

I didn’t! I went to an English Medium primary school. I remember winning a wee Seachtain na Gaeilge award in 4th class. It’s a very minor award but that’s my first memory of loving the language. I chose to go to an Irish medium secondary and many Gaeltachts which were great craic!

You worked as a múinteoir bunscoile before your social media career – how important is it to inspire young people to speak Gaeilge?

Irish was always my favourite subject to teach and promoting it in a positive way in the classroom was very important to me. I taught the little kiddos and they’re like sponges. Their outlook to learning the language depends on how I taught it. There’s plenty of fun visuals and interactive games and opportunities to speak the language.

What advice would you give to people looking to learn or speak more Gaeilge?

There’s a saying ‘Is fearr Gaeilge Briste ná Béarla Cliste’. Try to use the Irish you have, even if it is a few words. I feel people worry about their standard of Irish and can be reluctant to use it. I myself worry about grammar and rules but then Daithí Ó Shea once said to me ‘If I understand you and you understand me, that’s communication.’

Do you want to incorporate Gaeilge more into your online presence?

I do now, but I want to make more of an effort. I make lip syncs for the most part so it can be tough to get clips. I have a few tricks up my sleeve.

What are the Irish pop-culture moments is fearr to lip sync to?

I’ve done a few Leaving Cert Irish mammy videos and I have some ideas for Cillian Murphy/Paul Mescal skits in the pipeline.

Why did you want to get involved with Seachtain na Gaeilge le Energia i mbliana?

Irish has had a key role in my life since secondary school, through to University and then Primary Teaching. It’s now my goal to incorporate it into my social media too. Focusing mainly on promoting it in a positive and modern light for young people. Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh sí!

Foclóir | Dictionary

  • Ceiliúradh – Celebration
  • Teanga dhúchais – Native language
  • Ardán idirnáisiúnta – International stage
  • Gníomhaíochtaí – Activities
  • Deiseanna – Opportunities
  • Ambasadóirí na féile – Festival ambassadors
  • Iriseoir – Journalist
  • Láithreoir – Presenter
  • Réalt na meán sóisialta – Social media star
  • Cainteoir dúchais – Native speaker
  • Thar lear – Abroad
  • Sa bhaile – At home
  • Múinteor bunscoile – Primary teacher
  • I mbliana – this year
  • Is fearr – Best

To find out more about Seachtain na Gailege le Energia, head to