Signs of Life

I can’t believe it been nearly two years since Signs of Life Exhibition start, It was a crazy few months with a great team helping out to raise awareness about ISL (Irish Sign Language)

What is Signs of Life?

Signs of life” is organised by the Irish Deaf society and features photos of 26 Irish celebrities, including footballer Robbie Keane, novelist Roddy Doyle, cook Rachel Allen, TV presenter Eamonn Holmes, musician Andrea Corr and TV3 presenter Sinead Desmond.

These photos, snapped by Deaf photographer Johnny Corcoran, provide a glimpse of the beauty of ISL through the eyes of the celebrities, who each sign a letter of the ISL alphabet.

The aim of the exhibition is to encourage public awareness and appreciation of one of only two unique lrish languages. ISL is the native language of the Irish Deaf Community and is used everyday by more than 40,000 people.

Commenting on the exhibition, Kevin Mulqueen, Chairperson of the Irish Deaf Society said: “This exhibition has been a huge success since it was first shown in Temple Bar this time last year, so it gives me great pleasure to see it return to Dublin by popular demand.

“We want to raise awareness about ISL, which many people are amazed to find has its own linguistic structure — just the same as any other language. Despite its status as one of the most widely-used languages in this country, ISL is not officially recognised by the government, meaning that Deaf people struggle to access basic services in what might be their first language.”

Artist – John Behan –

Boxer – Kenny Egan –

TV Chef, Cook and Author – Rachel Allen –

Irish Dancer – Dearbhla Lennon – Watch her Dancing on YouTube –

Entrepreneur, Sean Gallagher –án_Gallagher

Fashion Designer – John Rocha –

Irish Rock Group Band – Aslan – One of the famous song “Crazy World” –

Horse Racing – Ruby Walsh –

Ireland’s Footballer & Football Manager – Robbie Keane & Giovanni Trapattoni

Journalist – Vincent Browne

Kid’s TV Presenter, Emma O’Driscoll’Driscoll

Literature, Roddy Doyle

Beauty & Makeup Expert, (and she was on Father Ted “Hell”) Laura Bermingham

N new
Photographer wit hIrish Nobel Laureates, John Minihan (still in good friend since that day)

Irish Open Surfer Champion, Stephen Kilfeather

TV Presenter, Sinead Desmond

Drag Queen, Rory O’Neill, AKA Miss Panti

Radio Personality, Marty Whelan

Singer, Mary Black

Theatre, Andrea Corr

UTV & SKY TV Presenter, Eamonn Holmes

Victory, Jedward’s Album


Xpose Presenter, Glenda Gilson

EU & BT Young Scientist of the Year 2011, Alexandar Amini

The Zookeeper, Susan O’Brien

Some Photos from the news papers

Signs of Life – The Irish Times (1st October 2011)

SIGN LANGUAGE: Irish Sign Language has no official recognition here, despite there being an estimated 40,000 people who use it. A photographic exhibition, featuring celebrities signing the letter of the alphabet that best represents them, aims to raise awareness of ISL, writes ROISIN INGLE 

IT’S SATURDAY NIGHT, and upstairs in a busy pub in Dublin city centre a typical scene is being played out. Giddy men and women climb on to a tiny stage to wave their arms about and murder classic songs through the medium of karaoke. The only difference is that instead of singing, these people are signing the lyrics using Irish Sign Language (ISL).

You haven’t fully appreciated Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody until you’ve seen every word gesticulated by hand. Never mind X Factor , this is the Deaf Factor. And a lot easier on the ears it is, too.

Among the revellers last Saturday night celebrating World Deaf Day were Tracey It’s Raining Men Treanor and Maggie Tonight’s Gonna Be a Good Night Woods. For the past year, the two deaf friends, along with a dedicated team, have been working on a powerful photography exhibition designed to raise awareness of ISL.

It’s pretty much impossible to say no to these women as Jedward, Vincent Browne, Robbie Keane, Roddy Doyle and Andrea Corr all found out. They are among the 26 celebrities who deaf photographer Johnny Corcoran snapped signing the letter of the alphabet that best represents them for the Signs of Life exhibition. “We wanted to do something different,” Treanor says. “Maggie had done a similar exhibition using local people in her hometown of Athy. We thought we would try and make it bigger.”

There is no official recognition here for the language, which irks the deaf community, especially when such recognition exists in countries including New Zealand, Belgium and Northern Ireland. The Stormont government officially recognises ISL as a language because it was enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement. The Irish Deaf Society maintains that by failing to do the same here, the State is breaching the spirit of the agreement.“We want to raise awareness about ISL, which many people are amazed to find has its own linguistic structure, just the same as any other language. Despite its status as one of the most widely used languages in this country, ISL is not officially recognised by the Government, meaning that deaf people struggle to access basic services in what might be their first language,” says Kevin Mulqueen, chairman of the society.

Exact figures for usage are uncertain but will become clear when the Census 2011 results are out – for the first time ISL was included in the form as an option when answering which language was spoken in the home. Rough estimates suggest there are around 40,000 users in Ireland, which includes not just deaf people but their families, teachers, friends and interpreters.

One of the well-known people photographed for the exhibition, which coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Irish Deaf Society, is TV3’s Sinéad Desmond, who has a deaf brother, Conor (incidentally, Conor does a spectacular signed version of My Heart Will Go On).

She says: “ISL is an Irish language, one we should all be proud of and use. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the next time you met a deaf Irish person you could have a chat, or simply say ‘lovely weather today isn’t it?’ ” A signed chorus of Bohemian Rhapsody goes down well too.

RTE News – Talking about the exhibition
RTE News

Photo on Mary Black Album “Stories from The Steeples”