Irish language: Go Ahead, Margaret!

Irish language Go Ahead Margaret

Christy Evans talks Brexit with an Irishwoman abroad

“Tháinig mé anseo sa bhliain 2009. Is breá liom a bheith ag obair anseo mar bíonn mo phost difriúil gach lá”, a dúirt Eyleen Sheil i nGibraltar le gairid. Rugadh agus tógadh Eyleen i gContae Loch Garmán. Is iriseoir í le ‘Gibraltar Chronicle’.

Creid nó dochreid, tá an nuachtán seo níos sine ná an ‘Times of London’. Is am corraitheach é anois i nGibraltar. Deir Eyleen ” Bíonn Breatimeacht, ceist na teorann agus cúrsaí eacnamaíochta, mar shampla”. Is tír ilteangach í, Gibraltar. Deir sí “Nuair a tháinig mé anseo, rinne mé botún agus labhair mé i nGaeilge.

Irish language Go Ahead Margaret

Dúirt mé ‘Go raibh maith agat’ le mo P.A. go rialta. Lá den saol, dúirt mo PA liomsa go crosta ‘Ní Margaret mé!’ Inniu, tá mé i bhfad níos fearr ag labhairt na Gaeilge, na Spáinnise agus Béarla ag an am ceart!” Bhuail mé le hEyleen i rith Féile Idirnáisiúnta Teanga na Gaeilge i nGibraltar. Bhí léachtaí faoi Breatimeacht agus ceist na teorann – i nGibraltar agus in Éirinn. Bhi muid sa Gibraltar Chronicle. Téann Eyleen go hÉireann cúpla uair sa bhliain ach deir sí “Is breá liom mo thír dhúchais, ach tá mo shaol i nGibraltar anois”.

Irish language Go Ahead Margaret

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“I intended to visit Gibraltar for a week – eight years later and I’m still here”, said Eyleen Sheil, a journalist on the Gibraltar Chronicle to me recently. Eyleen was born and raised in Wexford but now lives in Gibraltar. Her newspaper is reputed to be older than the Times of London. It’s an exciting time in Gibraltar, says Eyleen.

“There’s Brexit, new economic opportunities and a very real border question”. Gibraltar is a thoroughly multi-lingual society, and this gave Eyleen some trouble to start.

Irish language Go Ahead Margaret

“I used to speak Irish by mistake. I’d thank my PA in Irish and say ‘Go raibh maith agat. I wasn’t aware I was doing it. One day, she snapped and told me fiercely, ‘I’m not called Margaret!’ She thought than when I said ‘Go raibh maith agat’ that I was saying ‘Go ahead, Margaret’.

I don’t make that mistake anymore!” I met Eyleen during the International Festival of the Irish Language in Gibraltar. There were lectures on Brexit, the border with Spain, and minority languages across Europe. Our festival talks made the pages of the Gibraltar Chronicle. Eyleen goes back to Ireland about twice a year, but she says “I love my native land, but my life is here in Gibraltar now”.

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