The Minister of State for the Gaeltacht, Thomas Byrne TD announced Lally Tours as the overall winner of Gradam 2024

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The Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh awards ceremony saw an impressive turnout on Monday (27th May) in The Hardiman, Eyre Square when Gradam finalists, their family, colleagues and friends as well as Cairde Ghaillimh le Gaeilge gathered, to commemorate the fantastic bilingual endeavours of businesses and organisations in Galway city.

Musicians Mairin Fahy, Yvonne Fahy, Chris Kelly and Colm Henry of Trad on the Prom as well as World Champion Dancers Evan O’Brien and Owen Gaughan created an energetic, celebratory atmosphere.

In her opening, Bríd Ní Chonghóile, Príomhfheidhmeannach Ghaillimh le Gaeilge fondly remembered Ronnie O’Gorman, founder and chairman of the Galway Advertiser, and main sponsor of the Gradam since its establishment in 2002. A statement from Declan Varley, Galway Advertiser Group Editor, was presented to guests.

“The Irish language is a jewel in the Galway crown. As such, it is our responsibility to ensure it is preserved for future generations. The Galway Advertiser was founded by Ronnie O’Gorman to highlight just how special Galway is, and as such, we are delighted to pledge our support as the Gradam main sponsor to Gaillimh le Gaeilge for this year and beyond.

Cllr Eddie Hoare, Mayor of the City of Galway presented the Gradam Teastais to each of the finalists. The Minister of State for the Gaeltacht, Thomas Byrne TD, announced the five category winners and went on to announce Lally Tours as the overall winner of the Gradam 2024 and the 15th Tribe of Galway.

They were earlier announced as the winner of the ‘Tourism’ Category, sponsored by Fáilte Ireland, and went on to scoop the overall award. They received a beautiful sculpture designed for the Gradam by Pádraic Reaney, depicting the 14 Tribes of Galway, with one extra tribe outstanding, symbolising the Gradam winner – the new Tribe of Galway. They will receive an advertising package from the main sponsor of the Gradam, The Galway Advertiser, a publicity package with TG4 and one year’s membership of Galway Chamber & Gaillimh le Gaeilge.

Máirtín Óg Lally was thrilled with the news and said:

We are absolutely delighted to have won the Gradam for the Tourism category and the overall Gradam! Anseo i Lally Tours, tugaimid seirbhsí turasóireachta chuig réigiún go bhfuilimid chomh bródúil as; an tSlí an Atlantaigh Fhiáin. Bíonn an Ghaeilge i gcroílár chuile thart a dhéanann muid ó bhunaigh clann Lally an gnó sa bhliain 1988.

Taking part in the Gradam was a great way to encourage the Irish language internally in the business, with our customers and with stakeholders. We are proud incorporate an Ghaeilge in a variety of ways: signage and booking services at The Explore Galway Kiosk, social media, emails, admin agus verbal communication in-house agus amuigh sa phobal ar thurais. Ba mhaith linn buíochas mór a ghabháil leis an bhfoireann ag Gaillimh le Gaeilge; agus le hurraitheoirí an Ghradaim. We are looking forward to continuing to promote an Ghaeilge i gCathair na Gaillimhe”

The other proud Gradam award winners on the night were: Just Art It, Winner of the ‘Retail’ Category, sponsored by Galway Bay FM; Murphy & Me Winner of the ‘Customer Service’ Category, sponsored by Computer Troubleshooters; Irish Socksciety Winner of the ‘Digital’ Category sponsored by Platform 94; Feachtas Rothaíochta na Gaillimhe Winner of the ‘Community & Culture’ Category, sponsored by Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Ollscoil na Gaillimhe.

The Gradam category winners received a business package to the value of €2,000 from their respective category sponsor as well as a replica of Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh sponsored by Údarás na Gaeltachta. MOLSCÉAL are also sponsoring the Gradam created a video on the night, capturing the action, the winners & finalists.

This year’s ‘Bronnadh Speisialta na Moltóirí’, sponsored by Judy Greene Pottery, was awarded to a business that entered the Gradam for the first time and achieved a very high standard. This was presented to Daróg Wine Bar, Daróg have also just won the Connaught and All-Ireland titles for Best Wine Experience at the Irish Restaurant Association Awards.

As recognition of their commitment to learning the Irish language, two businesses were awarded University Scholarships. The two-year scholarship, ‘An Dioplóma sa Ghaeilge’, a university qualification sponsored by Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Ollscoil na Gaillimhe was presented to Galway Art Academy & Wild Atlantic Wicks.

Speaking about the Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh, Minster of State, Thomas Byrne TD said:

Déanaim comhghairdeas leis na sé cinn déag de ghnólachtaí agus d’eagraíochtaí atá roghnaithe i mbabhta ceannais an Ghradaim i mbliana.  This marks my first trip to Galway City as Minister of State for the Gaeltacht and I would like to congratulate all the Gradam participants, particularly the Gradam finalists here this evening.  Having people from all over the world living and working in Galway City – cherishing their own languages and backgrounds but also embracing the Irish language and culture in their businesses and organisations – is truly inspiring.”    

Speaking of the winners, Margaret Jenkins, Wild Atlantic Way manager, Fáilte Ireland, said:

“Mar mholtóir do Ghradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh, I was both heartened and impressed by how businesses are incorporating the Irish language into their day-to-day operations. Galway’s bilingual status provides a unique differentiating factor for the city, and we have heard first-hand from businesses how this creates a unique and immersive experience for tourists.”

Cathaoirleach Ghaillimh le Gaeilge, Dr. John Breslin congratulated all the winners and commended their bilingual work. He thanked Aire Stáit na Gaeltachta and his Department for their continued support of Gaillimh le Gaeilge as its main funders.

He also announced Gaillimh  le Gaeilge’s  new  Project in facilitating an Irish Language Centre  for Galway city and that Tonnta – Galway’s bilingual festival, which took place this year for the first time, will return next year, from 31st January-5th February in partnership with Galway City Council and other stakeholders.

Ba mhaith le Gaillimh le Gaeilge buíochas a ghabháil leis na hainmnithe ar fad a ghlac páirt i nGradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh i mbliana agus comhghairdeas a dhéanamh leis na buaiteoirí ar fad.  Tá ár mbuíochas tuillte do na moltóirí: Aelmuire Ní Ógartaigh, daughter of the late Seosamh Ó hÓgartaigh, who the award is named after, Margaret Jenkins, Wild Atlantic Way Team Manager, Caroline Ní Fhlatharta, Oifigeach na Gaeilge, Ollscoil na Gaillimhe and Diarmuid Ó Conchubhair, Galway Bay FM.  Ár mbuíochas chomh maith leis na hurraitheoirí ar fad a lean lena dtacaíocht don Ghradam. Táimid fíorbhuíoch díobh.