New tribe in town— Lally Tours named overall winner of Gradam 2024

Nathan Dean and Eimear Tuffy, Lally Tours, Minister of State for the Gaeltacht, Thomas Byrne TD, Clodagh Carey and Máirtín Óg Lally, Lally Tours, Mayor of the City of Galway, Cllr. Eddie Hoare and Dr. John Breslin, Cathaoirleach Ghaillimh le Gaeilge at the presentation of Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh in The Hardiman.

Nathan Dean and Eimear Tuffy, Lally Tours, Minister of State for the Gaeltacht, Thomas Byrne TD, Clodagh Carey and Máirtín Óg Lally, Lally Tours, Mayor of the City of Galway, Cllr. Eddie Hoare and Dr. John Breslin, Cathaoirleach Ghaillimh le Gaeilge at the presentation of Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh in The Hardiman.

Minister of State for the Gaeltacht, Thomas Byrne TD, announced Lally Tours as the overall winner of the 22nd Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh gala awards at a ceremony in The Hardiman, Eyre Square on Monday night.

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.

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

“The Irish language is a jewel in the Galway crown. As such, it is our responsibility to ensure it is preserved for future generations. At the time of great advances in terms of Artificial Intelligence, there is a danger that as a society we will opt for easier ways of getting things done that require less critical thinking.

“We cannot allow An Ghaeilge to become one of the skills and treasures that we let slip along the way merely because it is perceived as being the difficult option. 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.

The renowned musicians, Máirín Fahy, Yvonne Fahy, Chris Kelly and Colm Henry of Trad on the Prom performed on the night as well as World Champion Dancers, Evan O’Brien, and Owen Gaughan, creating an energetic atmosphere and celebratory feel.

Cllr Eddie Hoare, Mayor of the City of Galway, took time out from his busy election campaign to present the Gradam Teastais to each of the finalists. Earlier on in the evening, Lally Tours were announced as the winner of the ‘Tourism’ Category, sponsored by Fáilte Ireland, and went on to scoop the overall award.

Advertising package

They received a beautiful sculpture designed especially 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 and Gaillimh le Gaeilge.

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 all 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 again this year and created the video on the night, taking in all the action of the winners and finalists at the event.

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

Scholarships

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

Speaking about the Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh award, 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.

“I am pleased to be here tonight to recognise and celebrate all your bilingual achievements. 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, she was both heartened and impressed by how businesses are incorporating the Irish language into their day-to-day operations.

Differentiating factor

“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.

“The Gradam is a wonderful way of encouraging business with all levels of Irish to stitch the language into their business and the standard of this year’s applicants was very high, particularly amongst newcomers. I look forward to working with these tourism businesses to further develop this as offerings for tourism.”

Cathaoirleach Ghaillimh le Gaeilge, Dr. John Breslin congratulated all of 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 announced that Gaillimh le Gaeilge’s next project will be to facilitate the establishment of an Irish Language Culture Centre for Galway city.

“Tá An Staidéir Féidearthachta don Lárionad Cultúrtha Gaeilge’ ullmhaithe againn anois agus curtha faoi bhráid Roinn na Gaeltachta agus táimid ag tnúth go mór dul chun cinn a dhéanamh leis an togra seo i gcomhpháirtíocht leat a Aire Stáit agus le do Roinn”.

He also announced that Tonnta - Galway’s bilingual festival which took place for the first time in February of this year, will return on the bank holiday weekend of Naomh Bríd next year from January 31 to February 5 2025. Tonnta will be organised in partnership with Galway City Council and with the support of 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 chomh maith ag na moltóirí as ucht a gcuid ama don mholtóireacht. Is iad sin: 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.

 

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