Ireland’s first sign language café opens in Dublin
Ireland’s first sign language café will provide members of the deaf community with a modern new space to connect, share experiences, and express their cultural identity.
The Deaf Café, which opened in Dublin on Wednesday, will also stand as “a symbol of inclusivity, empowerment, and cultural preservation”.
The new facility, located in the Deaf Village Ireland premises in Cabra, will also generate opportunities for employment and remote working.
In addition, the café will serve as an educational hub, promoting acceptance, awareness, and understanding of deaf culture.
The Deaf Café will use interactive technology which will assist in learning Irish Sign Language (ISL) on site.
The café will have touch screens allowing customers to order coffee, meet and greet, and engage in conversation with ease.
It was developed through a collaboration between Deaf Village Ireland and The Mad Brothers, as café operators.
The project also involved collaboration with deaf artists, who will showcase their art around the cafe, highlighting deaf history and struggles.
Chairperson of Deaf Village Ireland, Anne Coogan, said: “Our space in Deaf Village Ireland was functional, but not an exciting, fun place.
“When the Deaf Village Ireland board got an opportunity to revamp the space, I jumped at the chance, and we were delighted to engage with a deaf architect, Richard Dougherty, from Belfast.
The project received €100,000 under the Community Centre Investment Fund (CCIF) and was officially opened by Rural and Community Development Minister Heather Humphreys on Wednesday.
At the opening, Ms Humphreys said: “This is a very unique, welcoming and inclusive place – a place where members of the deaf community can come together and meet up with friends.
“But I know too that this Village opens its doors to everyone — and it is a really popular place too for hearing people, our young people, and members of the wider Cabra area.
“I understand that the aim of this project was to renovate, refresh, and rebrand the café to promote deaf culture and language to the wider Cabra community.
“But it is a project that will also support jobs, remote working and, most importantly, help promote integration and inclusivity. I want to commend the work of everyone involved in bringing this project to fruition.”