Holywood Irish Society – promoting Irish for almost a century

Our town has been called Ard Mhic Nasca, ‘the height of the son of Princess Nasca’, since the seventh century. The son in question was Laisren, the area’s patron saint. Later the settlement became known as Baile an Doire, or ‘townland of the oak wood’ — Latinised to Sanctus Boscus by the Anglo-Normans.

A branch of the Gaelic League has existed in Holywood since 1921. Our aim is the non-political promotion of the Irish language to the community at large. Activities include lectures, exhibitions, and language classes, as well as socialising through Irish. We also grant scholarships to young people and adults to enable them to spend time in the Irish-speaking areas of County Donegal. Members of the society often contribute to the Irish-language programmes of the BBC, and to news broadcasts on TG4, the Irish-language television channel.