Irish Language Column: Ag Saothrú ár gCultúr

irish language column learning irish

Ag Saothrú ár gCultúr

Christy Evans finds leading figures in Britain are learning Irish

“Tá níos mó agus níos mó oifigigh rialtais ag aithint go bhfuil sé riachtanach a bheith in ann Gaeilge a labhairt. Ní féidir anois ceannaire páirtí nó pobal gan Gaeilge acu a shámhlú” sin mar a dúirt Mary Clancy, múinteoir Gaeilge ag mórchruinniú in Ollscoil Liverpool i London le déanaí.

D’eagraigh Ollscoil Liverpool agus an Irish Cultural Centre Hammersmith an ócáid. Bhí mórán aoi ann, An t-Uas Daniel Mulhall ina measc.

Thug Alan Titley Ollscoil Chorcaigh léacht greanmhar agus deisbhéalach ann. Tar éis an lón, bhí cúpla scannán as Gaeilge ann, agus bhí Seán Hutton, Sarah Strong agus Lance Pettitt ag caint.

An trathnóna sin, bhí ceolchoirm ann le Marianne MacAleer, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. Chan sí ‘Táimse i mo chodladh’ agus ‘Fill a rún ó’ – tá glór álainn ag Marianne.

Bhí céad Gaeilgeoir ag an Lá Gaelach, Collette Mackin ina measc. Dúirt sí “Tá rud suimiúil ar siúl sa Bhreatain. Tá glún nua Gaeilgeoirí anseo, tá daoine óga ag saothrú ár gcultúr”.

Aontaíonn Mary Clancy “Labhraím níos mó Gaeilge anseo ó bhliain go bliain. Tá Michael Nevin, ceannaire Chomhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann sa Bhreatain ag foghlaim Gaeilge. Rugadh é sa Bhreatain ach thuig sé go bhfuil an Ghaeilge níos thábhachtaí i saol ár dtír seo agus riachtanach anois”.

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“More and more government officials feel that they need to be fully bilingual. We are reaching a point where it is becoming unthinkable for a party leader, a community organiser or cultural figure not to speak Irish” so claimed Mary Clancy, an Irish teacher at a gathering at the London campus of Liverpool University recently.

The event was organised by the university in conjunction with the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith. The Lá Gaelach or ‘Irish Day’ began with a speech in Irish about the value of our traditional culture.

This was followed by Professor Alan Titley, whose witty lecture caused raucous laughter amongst the hundred or so guests. Irish language films followed, with talks by Seán Hutton, Sarah Strong and Professor Lance Pettitt.

irish language column learning irish
Award winning Irish language singer Marianne McAleer

The day ended with a drinks reception and singer Marianne McAleer from the Irish music organisation Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCÉ). The appreciative audience fell silent for Marianne’s beautiful renditions of traditional songs such as ‘Táimse i mo chodladh’.

Collette Mackin of the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith was very pleased by the event and noted that “A younger generation of Irish speakers in Britain are giving new life to our culture”.

Mary Clancy agreed, saying “The language is definitely having more influence again. Michael Nevin, the head of CCÉ, was born in Britain but has learned Irish. He knows that token words in Irish are not enough. Young people are saying that speaking Irish is necessary for our leaders in Britain”.

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