Acclaimed writer and poet Dr Rita Kelly has been appointed as the Irish Language Development Officer for Cumann Gaelach nEaglaise
Rita’s New Role
Acclaimed writer and poet Dr Rita Kelly has been appointed as the Irish Language Development Officer for Cumann Gaelach nEaglaise (Irish Guild of the Church of Ireland). Widely known for her works in both Irish and English, she has also been involved in promoting and developing the Irish language across the country for the last 50 years, making many friends and connections through the celebration of the Irish language.
Locally reared Rita, first married in 1972 to Eugene Watters/Eoghan Ó Tuairisc (1919-1982), is an accomplished bilingual poet and writer. Since 2015, she has been married to Edel Connolly, a former secondary school principal. A native to Galway and primarily associated with East Galway, she has also lived around Ireland along the River Barrow near Carlow and in Waterford, and abroad in Manhattan and Germany.
She now resides in Birr, County Offaly. This location is an ideal base to work with the Church of Ireland community across the country, North and South, as Development Officer responsible for promoting the Irish language.
Rita is active within the Birr Group of Parishes. In 2022 she was commissioned as a Lay/Parish reader and is also a member of the Birr Parish Select Vestry. This position allows Rita to bring together and connect people in speaking Irish, as members of the Church of Ireland do not often have this opportunity to worship in Irish. Rita and Cumann Gaelach both acknowledge the great work done by her predecessor, Caroline Nolan, first appointed in 2011.
Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise was originally founded in 1914 to promote the rituals of the Celtic Church, to motivate the use of Irish within the congregation, to collect written devotional literature and sources, and to encourage the use of Irish art and music.
The Society organizes and supports regular Church Services throughout the country at various occasions, for example St Brigid’s Day, St Patrick’s Day and other feasts and festivals. Services are supported in Irish in Christchurch Cathedral, St Patrick’s Cathedral Dublin, St Fin Barre’s Cathedral Cork, Christchurch Cathedral Waterford. Cumann Gaelach hopes to continue the same support to parishes throughout the country in providing services in Irish.
This position of Development Officer is funded by Foras na Gaeilge. Rita hopes that people will contact her or Cumann Gaelach to support the promotion of the Irish language within the Church of Ireland community.
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