Cúla4, First Ever Irish Language Children's Channel Launched
History was made today (Friday September 8th 2023) as the first ever dedicated Irish language children’s channel was launched. Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin was invited to the TG4 headquarters in Co. Galway to carry the official launch of the new TV channel.
Cúla4 will air for 14 hours daily, from 6 every morning until 8 every evening. Saorview – Channel 18, Channel 602 on Virgin Media, Sky 624 and Eir will all carry the young people’s channel. Cúla4 will be also be supported online via the player which is available at cula4.com and also the Cúla4 App.
The free to air children’s channel will include a wealth of entertainment, drama, a children’s news service, a mix of home produced content and acquired shows as well being a valuable source of educational Irish language content.
The new channel , aimed at 0-12 year olds will provide an entertaining and fun daily point of contact to the Irish language for children. The channel will include newly commissioned content from the Independent production sector in Ireland, as well as acquired international animation, which are revoiced to Irish by independent sector.
The channel will have a six-minute news service from Tuesday to Friday at 1.30pm, produced by Fíbín Media and hosted by Aisling Ní Dhonnabháin and Seán Ó Maoilchiaráin. Schools will be able to tune in from their classrooms and keep up to date with the news of the day.
The channel will be anchored by presenters Seosamh Mac Seoin, (from Belfast) who wraps our morning slot from 6am, Síle Ní Chonghaile (from Galway) presents our educational zone from 9am and Niamh Ní Chróinín (from Dublin) has a fun packed slot in the afternoons from 3pm for the older age groups.
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin stated that “this Government has demonstrated the importance it places on making the Irish language a living language. The increase in funding and support I have provided to TG4 to ensure increased Irish language content is available, is a clear signal of the important role that public service media can play in this regard. As Minister for the Irish language and the Gaeltacht, I am particularly pleased to be here today to launch Cúla 4, a dedicated Irish language children’s channel that will embed and normalise the daily use of Irish for the next generation. Young people need to be able to visualise themselves achieving great things in all walks of life, and Cúla4 allows young people with Irish to see themselves represented on screen.”
Karina Feirtéar who is the Channel Manager of Cúla4 added that “it’s an historic day for TG4 and the Irish language. The new Cúla4 channel ensures that irish language content is more accessible for our younger audiences, and will hopefully strengthen their engagement with it, as they are the future generation. We developed a space for our audience to enjoy entertaining content when they like, and will continue to make sure that we represent our diverse audience as best we can by showcasing lives in Ireland today, through a fun and colourful experience- while immersing them in a living language, in the hope that they learn new things about the world around them through a medium they are used to.”
TG4’s Director General Alan Esslemont, stated that he believes that “Ireland’s biggest single contribution to global diversity has been its ability to pass its own language from generation to generation as the living language of homes and communities. In that context, the approval given by Minister Catherine Martin for the establishment of a dedicated children’s channel in the Irish language is of historic significance. The English language is omnipresent in media globally and, if Irish is to continue as a community language, TG4’s services for children must be prominent, dynamic and attractive, strengthening children’s relationship with Irish language media and, through that, sustaining their relationship with the Irish language. I commend Minister Catherine Martin for her vision for the future of TG4, I thank this Government for their support and I send my deepest appreciation to everyone who has worked over many years, within TG4 and in the creative sector, to achieve this dream.”
A national survey carried out by Ipsos MRBI last year showed clear support and demand for the Cúla4 channel. 89% of respondents agree or strongly agree that it is important for our society that a children’s channel is available in the Irish language on a free-to-air basis.
In addition to this in-home viewing, the new Cúla4 channel will also provide support content in classrooms. To date TG4 content has proven to be a popular and important Irish language resource for primary schools nationwide. Independent research, carried out by RED C shows that 44% of primary school teachers, 80% of teachers in Irish-speaking primary schools and 250,000 primary school children throughout Ireland, regularly use the TG4 or Cúla4 Player in the classroom. A dedicated Cúla4 channel will enable TG4 to provide even more, interactive educational content with clear ties to the curriculum, which makes learning fun.
TG4 since its establishment in 1996 has greatly supported the television production industry in Ireland’s regions. The new channel Cúla4 will reinforce and enhance that commitment and will invest new independent productions. A number of Irish Independent production companies have multi annual contracts or single series contracts to produce children’s content that reflects the diverse backgrounds of children living in all parts of Ireland, and particularly in Gaeltacht and Irish speaking communities.
Here is just snippet of some of the programming available on Cúla4 – Make sure to tune or log into cula4.com to see the full range on offer.
‘Anfa’ is an action-oriented and high-energy game show based on the weather. ‘Anfa’ is produced By Fíbín Media.
‘Uiscenauts’ is a fun all action water-based game show produced by Abú Media
‘Nuacht Cúla4’ – News programme for young people covering local, national and international news. Fíbín Media
‘M’Ainm Mo Scéal’ is a children’s series about the meaning and the stories associated with given names. Ronin Films Ltd..
‘Teach Spraoi’ – Every week, a different group of children have two days to design and build their choice of playhouse. Macalla
‘Uisce Uisce’ -A new series for children who love water activities – be it sailing or zorbing their excitement is contagious. Paper Owl Films Ltd.
Cúla4 belongs to the children of Ireland and the future generations of Irish speakers.