Irish Language column: Rabhadh Dúinn

Irish Language column Rabhadh Duinn

Christy Evans says that Easter Island should be a warning to us all

Bhuail mé le fear suimiúil le déanaí. Rugadh Damon Timmins i Sasana ach tá sé ag foghlaim Gaeilge ag an Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith. D’fhill Damon ar ais ó Rapa Nuí nó ‘Easter Island’.

Suionn an t-oileán beag bídeach seo ina aonar i lár an Aigéin Chiúin.

Deir Damon “Tá cruth triantánach at Rapa Nuí. Tá cnoc at gach cúinne. Is féidir le duine an t-oileán ar fad a fheiceáil ó na cnoic”.

Chuir daoine futhú at Rapa Nuí timpeall AC 300. Snoigh siad níos mó ná míle ‘moai’ – ceann cloiche at fud an oileáin. Mhair thart at 20,000 duine ar Rapa Nuí. Go tobann, chuaigh siad ar ceal.

Molann Damon cuairt a thabhairt ar dhá áit. Tá clocha iontacha ar Ahu Tongariki. Is bolcán marbh é Cabo Ó Higgins. Tá radharc ón mullach ar fheabhas.

Ach cén fáth go bhfuil an sibhialtacht ar Rapa Nuí imithe? Bhfuel, d’fhulaing na daoine cinniúint uafásach. Leag siad na coillte go léir. Bhí a fhios acu go raibh na crainn ag éirí gan. Mar sin féin, leag siad an crann deireannach. Scrios siad a dtimpeallacht agus fuair a sibhialtacht bás.

Deir Damon “Bhí a gcroí istigh san oileán cianda sin. Is rabhadh é Rapa Nuí do gach duine sa domhain inniu”.

Irish Language column Rabhadh Duinn

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Damon Timmins is an Irish language student at the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith. He has just returned from Rapa Nuí.

This tiny volcanic Island is sometimes called Easter Island, and sits alone in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean.

Damon told me that “Rapa Nuí is triangular in shape, with a hill at each corner. You can see the whole island from those little hills”.

People settled on Rapa Nuí about seventeen hundred years ago. They carved over a thousand huge stone statues, or ‘moai’. All the heads face inland, and have their backs to the sea. Then suddenly, their civilization disappeared.

Damon especially recommends two places on the island. He told me that the statues at Ahu Tongariki are especially well-preserved. He also recommends the wonderful views from Cabo Bernardo Ó Higgins – named for the revered South American freedom fighter.

But why did the culture on Rapa Nuí become extinct? To transport the statues, the people used rollers made from tree trunks. They could see that trees were becoming scarce. Even so, they cut down the last tree, and the island’s topsoil blew away.

Damon says “Rapa Nuí was their whole world. They could see that they were destroying their environment, but they did it none-the-less.

This mysterious island should be a warning to us all”.

(Damon was interviewed about his trip in Irish as part of his language course at the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith).

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