What is the Mother Tongues Festival?

The Mother Tongues Festival is the largest festival celebrating linguistic diversity through the arts in Ireland. Our mission is to showcase Ireland’s rich artistic and cultural tapestry through the use of the multiple languages spoken in the country and to enable people to connect while engaging in diverse creative experiences. The festival shows that multilingualism is not a barrier, but a reason to get together and celebrate. 

Until 2020, the weekend-long festival took place on the 21st of February to celebrate the first birthday of its founding organisation and UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day. 
This year, the programme will take place from 17th to 22nd May 2021 in conjunction with World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.

In 2021, the festival was presented mostly online, but participation continued to be at the heart of our programme. We have engaged with more than 40 artists to bring to life a unique and diverse programme of art workshops, school visits, film screenings, and a series of events available in over 20 different languages. 

The Mother Tongues Festival is the only one of its kind in Ireland. It was shortlisted for the EFFE Label Awards in 2019 and since its first edition it has received funding from the Arts Council. The festival is currently made possible thanks to the support of South Dublin County Council Arts Office, Rua Red, the Civic, Draíocht, and the Arts Council.