Basques and Irish ran a mini-Korrika in Dublin to raise funds for the promotion of the Basque language
Dublin saw a mini-Korrika run through the city centre last Saturday. Thousands of Basques participate in the Korrika which totals thousands of kilometres every two years on different routes through their homeland. This year's finished on Saturday with, according the organisers, the highest ever participation since 1981. The Basque and Irish participants in Dublin were running in solidarity and to raise funds for the promotion of the Basque language.
A mini-Korrika was run in Dublin on Saturday in imitation of the big biennial Korrika of the Basques of thousands of kilometres to raise funds to forward the teaching of Euskara (Basque language) to adults. “Korrika” means “run” in Euskara and it has the largest participation of any event in the country (600,000 took part two years ago). Each kilometre is “sold” to an organisation or individual who then has the honour to lead for the relevant section of the race, carrying the baton of the Korrika with a small Basque flag streaming from it.
On the 26th March the current Korrika began in Tudela (province of Nafarroa), the 16th since they began in 1980 and it finished in Vittoria-Gastheiz (province of Alava) on the 5th April, eleven days without cease (during the night also), a course of 2,500 kilometres. As in previous years, thousands took part, at every level of physical ability (follow links below for photos etc).
Approximately 40 people gathered outside the Ambassador venue on Saturday, most of them Basques but with a sprinkling of Irish among them. They wore bibs bearing the 16th Korrika logo and carrying the motto of this year's Korrika: “Welcome to the country where the people wish to live their lives through Euskara”. Dubliner Diarmuid Breatnach lead on the first stretch to the GPO but Basques led all the following sections of the course. Urtzi Goikoetxea, a Basque who has lived in Dublin for a year now. “My grandmother was half-Basque”, said Diarmuid, speaking in Irish, “and my mother was born in the Basque Country. I felt honoured to be asked to lead the first section of this first Korrika to be run in my home town.”
The run began soon after 6.00pm and proceeded down O'Connell Street, across the Liffey and on to turn right into Fleet Street, then on through Temple Bar, where the participants received much applause, through Essex Street, then down to Wood Quay. The runners crossed the Liffey again by O'Donovan Rossa Bridge and, turning left, ran along the quays until they were below Smithfield, from where they turned and ran up to their destination, the Cobblestone pub.
A reception had been organised for the participants there, with food, DVDs and recorded music for their supporters, around 100 in total. The Erik Noon & the Future Gypsies band played towards the end of the evening, including a reggae version of The Well Below the Valley-o.
The organisers of the event, Dublingo Korrkaren Txikiko Lagunak/ Friends of Dublin's Mini-Korrika, thanked all the participants and supporters, the band and the management of the Cobblestone. They also thanked the Dublin branch of the Irish Basque Solidarity Committees for the organisational help they had given. All the money collected would be sent to AEK, they stated, the most important Basque group involved with Euskara adult education today, with about 100 schools and 600 teachers employed by them.
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