Category: MT Festival

mother tongues festival

Language Unleashed: The Power of Poetry in Embracing Your Mother Tongue

“A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.”- WH. Auden

When it comes to embracing our mother tongue, reading and writing poetry can be transformative. It allows us to explore the sounds and feelings of words and reminds us that language is not just something we learn; it’s something we actively take part in making. 

The art of poetry leads us beyond language and can show that words can mean so much more than they often convey on the page. 
Poetry, often a staple of children’s bookshelves, can also be an effective tool in language learning, especially among children with two or more languages. 

Introduced early and often during a child’s journey with literacy, poetry can mean the difference between just knowing words and leveraging every aspect of the word’s power. It provides a fun and creative outlet with no rules allowing complete freedom for children to find their inner voice and exposes them to new words and ways of thinking about language. 

In association with Languages Connect and Poetry Ireland, we recently launched our 2020 Poetry Competition which was aimed at celebrating the power of poetry and multilingualism.
The competition, which is now closed, was open to aspiring poets aged 8-18 around Ireland and encouraged them to tell the story of “Language and Identity” through poetry. With a whopping 223 entries, the competition was a roaring success and proved that the art of poetry is still very much alive in Ireland today!

At Mother Tongues, we believe that poetry is a universal language in which we are all fluent and can partake in. Whether you are an established poetry lover or just looking to discover something new, we have several unique events during this year’s 2020 Mother Tongues Festival, that celebrate language through the art of poetry. 

Here are just some of the poetic highlights in store for you…


Talkatives: A Rhythm & Poetry Slam About Language & Identity 
When: 22nd February, 5.30pm
Where: Tallaght- Civic Theatre, Main Auditorium
Languages: English
Brought to you by the incredible group “WeareGriot”, Talkatives promises to be an event not to be missed! Described as a “rhythm and poetry slam” the show will connect the art of poetry and rap, with a focus on heritage, language and home. Four poets and four rappers will go head-to-head in a classic poetry SLAM style competition where YOU as the audience becomes a judge. 
Let the battle commence! 
This event is suitable for all ages and tickets cost €5 each. To book your place and learn more click ere


SEE x SEA – Kuona x Gungwa
When: 22nd February, 4 pm
Where: Tallaght, Rua Red
Languages: English, Shono & Igbo
Performed by spoken word artist Chiamaka Enyi-Amadi and singer-songwriter and poet Christie Kandiwa, See x Sea is a performance-poetry and music showcase that celebrates black womanhood.
Through the art of poetry, the show will explore the challenges that exist in Ireland today such as gender equality, migration and multiculturalism.This event is suitable for those aged 12 years + and tickets cost €5 each. Learn more and grab your ticket click here

maria ortega

Multilingual Poetry Creation
When: 22nd February, 2 pm
Where: Tallaght, Rua Red
Languages: English
Led by global traveller & teacher María Ortega García, this Multilingual Poetry Creation workshop will encourage participants to play with poetry in many different languages, from their mother tongue to a language they might be studying. 
Tools and ideas will be provided to ease participants into a self exploratory and creative session of multilingual poetry creation. This event is free and suitable for adults onlyTo learn more click here

marluce lima

Sarau Maré with Marluce Lima
When: 22nd February, 4 pm
Where: Tallaght, Rua Red
Languages: English & Portuguese
Sarua Maré, a traditional intimate gathering of art enthusiasts, was brought to Dublin to help connect, integrate and strengthen the Portuguese-speaking and Brazilian community through art and poetry.
Join Brazilian poet Marluce Lima in a special Sarua Maré and experience how the language of poetry has the power of bringing worlds together by expressing and translating experiences, ways of seeing, memories and diverse feelings. This is a free event suitable for all ages
! Read more here

To learn more about all events mentioned above or to view the full 2020 Mother Tongues Festival programme, please visit or follow us on social accounts. #MTFest2020

Mother Tongues festival shortlisted for prestigious European Award

Mother Tongues Festival 2019Mother Tongues Festival is the only Irish Festival to be shortlisted for the prestigious EFFE Award from the European Festivals Association in collaboration with the European Commission. 
This biennial prize celebrates festivals that demonstrate artistic excellence and have a strong impact and local and regional development of cultural co-operation. Mother Tongues is delighted to join 23 great European Festivals in this strong shortlist. 
“We are so proud to be included in this shortlist. The Mother Tongues Festival has only been running for two years but we have worked hard to create a festival with a wide range of top quality performances and workshops which celebrate the diversity of languages and cultures in this country.
The key to our success is constantly researching the most relevant and inspirational artists who can provide entertaining and informative interactions for our audience”.
The winners will be presented during the EFFE Awards Ceremony in BOZAR, Center for Fine Arts Brussels on 26 September 2019.

EFA President Jan Briers is delighted to see that the EFFE Laureates 2019-2020 represent Europe’s diverse cultural scene and different disciplines from digital arts to opera. These festivals were selected from a list of 715 festivals with the EFFE Label which stands for festivals that are committed to the arts, their communities and demonstrate openness to the world. They are all presented together with more than 2000 festivals on, the interactive search tool for arts festivals in Europe.
Along with the decision of the EFFE International Jury on the EFFE Laureates, the European Festivals Association is glad to announce EFFE’s Audience Choice. The online voting is now open on and allows audiences from all over the world until the EFFE Awards Ceremony on 26 September to cast their vote for their favourite festival from amongst the EFFE Laureates. 

To vote for our festival visit


Mother Tongues Festival 2019. Tallaght, 2nd and 3rd March 2019. Picture Enzo Francesco Testa Photography.

Mother Tongues Festival: an arts festival with a difference

Imagine a place where people have fun speaking many different languages, a place where children and adults learn about culture, stories and languages through art-making, music and dance! This is what the Mother Tongues Festival was all about!

Over the last two weekends we hosted more than 50 events in over 20 languages, we met artists, professionals and performers from India, Ethiopia, Russia, Libya, Taiwan, Japan, Germany, Italy, Poland, Turkey, Egypt, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Spain, France just to name a few! They filled rooms and entire venues in Galway and in Tallaght with their talent, through workshops, talks, poetry, music, dances and science. Participants of the Festival had a chance to listen to multilingual poetry, try Bollywood dancing, draw Irish wild animals with a Polish illustrator, learn Chinese calligraphy, meet musicians from Congo and Nigeria and learn Japanese through origami making!

The aim of Mother Tongues Festival is to promote languages and cultures in Ireland through the arts. Most of the people we spoke to at the events told us that they were happy to learn something new through languages that are currently spoken in Ireland and many families said they loved the opportunity to cultivate and share their community languages outside of the home.

As we pack our Festival suitcase and go home to prepare our 2020 edition we are filled with the positive energy gained at the event.
There are so many people we need to thank! We are extremely grateful to RuaRed, the Civic Theatre and Galway2020 for believing in our project and making it happen in Dublin and Galway. Without the support of the Arts CouncilSouth Dublin County Council and the Small Town Big Ideas Initiative our festival could not have been so successful. We are honoured to have been granted funding to pursue our dream! The many sponsors that have come on board this year have allowed us to make it an even more special event! We are very grateful to RTE’, the Ambassade de France en Irlande, the Goethe InstitutLanguages Connect, the Royal Norwegian Embassy in DublinSt. Kilian’s Deutsche Schule in Dublin, the Dublin School of Mandarin Chinese, Your English Language School in Dublin, the Istituto Italiano di CulturaBrady LanguagesThe Stop B&BAtlas Language SchoolSeachtain na Gaeilge le Energia, the Chester Beatty LibraryUnuhiIrish Architecture FoundationÁras na nGaelCreative Ireland and Massimo Russo.

And last but not least, do not forget that the festival is only good craic if you come!
A MASSIVE thank you, grazie, merci, gracias, obrigados, mulțumesc, go raibh maith agat teşekkürler
to all the hundreds of people who have attended our two Festivals!

See you in 2020!

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Mother Tongues Festival Art competition

“My world of Languages” – Art Competition at the Mother Tongues Festival

Mother Tongues art competition

About the Competition

The first Mother Tongues Art Competition was instituted by Mother Tongues to celebrate International Mother to celebrate International Mother Language Day and the International Year of Indigenous Languages within the Mother Tongues Festival. The goal of the competition is to explore the role of language in our everyday life.
Everyone between the ages of 4 and 18 is welcome to submit an entry.
All works submitted will be exhibited at the Mother Tongues Festival in Dublin on 2nd and 3rd of March 2019. Three prizes will be awarded for each category.
Prizes will be awarded at a ceremony in Rua Red Arts Center, Blessington Rd, Tallaght, Dublin 24.

How to enter

The subject of this competition is “My world of languages”

Size of artwork
Your entry should not be smaller than A4 (29.7cm x 21.0cm) or larger than A3 (59.4cm x 42.0cm). Entries should not be mounted.

Use of Materials

You may use any type of paper, white, coloured, rough or smooth. The work that you submit may be drawn or painted in pencil, charcoal, pen and ink, crayon, pastel, watercolour, gouache, acrylics, oils, poster colour and collage. The work may be a print created from a lino block, wood block or any other method, and your artwork may be submitted on canvas. The work may be digitally produced. Digitally produced artwork may be emailed to the address
A photograph or scanned image of an original artwork will not be considered.


Your work should be original and unaided.

Number of Entries
You may submit only one entry per individual. Only individual entries will be accepted and they may be submitted directly by you, by your school or by your art group.

Information Required
Your submission should include the following information on the back of your entry:
Name and age
Category and title of the entry
Your home address or your school address
A signature of your teacher or your guardian
A contact number
An email address

Please note:
Your age as of the closing date of the Competition (1st February 2019).
One signature from a teacher will be sufficient to cover all entries from a school.

The Closing Date
The closing date for receipt of entries is Friday 1st February 2019.

Sending Your Entry
Please post your entry to:
My Art School of Dance and Art
CityHouse, Newmarket, Merchants Quay, Dublin 8

4 to 6 years
7 to 10 years
11 to 14 years
15-18 years

Special Category
The Special Category encourages participants with a physical or intellectual disability to submit entries in free expression without the restriction of the competition’s official theme if they so wish.

Quick Checklist – Rules of entry
To enter, you must be under 19 years of age by 1st February 2019 and you must be resident on the island of Ireland.
You should print the following information (IN BLOCK CAPITALS) on the back of each entry:

-Name and age
-Category and title of the entry
-School name, school address, school email address, school telephone number and school teacher or Art teacher’s name.
If you are submitting artwork to the Competition that has been undertaken in your school or at an external art class, your school teacher or Art Teacher’s signature will also be required. If you are submitting artwork to the Competition that has been undertaken in your home, your parent or guardian’s signature will be required instead in addition to your home address, your home telephone number and your home email address.
– You may enter only one piece of artwork. Only individual entries will be accepted. A photograph or scanned image of an original artwork will not be considered under any circumstances.
– Your entry should be submitted in flat format and should remain within the specified size guidelines. Framed entries will not be accepted under any circumstances.
– The closing date for entries is 1s February 2019.
– The Judging Panel is responsible for the allocation of awards. The decision of the Judging Panel is final and no correspondence will be entered into regarding that decision.
– Mother Tongues will not accept liability for loss or damage to any work submitted.
– All entries together with the artists’ details (name, age, school or town) may be used in publicity campaigns after the Mother Tongues Art Competition and in future Competitions. Photographs of the winners together with their names and ages may be used in publicity campaigns where the parents or guardians of the winners have given their consent.
– The rules of the Competition may not be changed or modified and will strictly be applied.
– All personal information supplied will be used by Mother Tongues solely for the administration and management of the Art Competition.

Find out more about Mother Tongues Festival