There are more classes and teachers than ever before and not just here in Donegal or throughout Ireland there's a thriving Global Gaeltacht attracting learners from all corners of the globe! I’m pretty sick of seeing links suggesting it's dying because in my world and in thousands and thousands of others it's thriving. Don't listen to it. Do something positive to support the language.
I love being able to speak Irish, it’s not my first language, I was born and reared in bonny Scotland till I was 8 and then moved to Donegal where both my parents are from. In Scotland my brother and I got hassled for being Irish then in Ireland we got hassled for being Scottish. We had to learn the language and we did. If we didn’t our parents wouldn’t have been given planning permission to build our house and to live in the area. When I finished secondary school, I left Donegal. I never had a social circle with Irish after that. So when I returned to Donegal 4 years ago after 18 years away, speaking Irish again as an adult and in business was very challenging. Now, 4 years on and my Irish has come on leaps and bounds, although writing Irish I still difficult, but I’m getting there. I have a language coach and that makes it a lot easier. We talk about my business in Irish and as mistakes come up he explains where the words come from and how to use them. This has given me a better understanding and appreciation of the language. He helps me tell my story in Irish. I also live in the Gaeltacht so there is every opportunity to speak with others. I love that. I also honestly believe that the craic is better in Irish. The banter is just priceless. It's such an emotive language. With some friends, when we speak English it's just not the same.
I think as an Irish language learner you should focus on being able to tell your story, who are you, where are you from, what are you about, what are your passions etc. Play with that conversation with as many Gaeilgeorí’s as possible and your story will start to grow naturally, and your confidence in telling your story will also grow. Your personality will start to shine through as you pick up other bits and share more about yourself and learn from those you share your story with. Couple that with a few whiskeys at the same time and you’re going to be fluent in no time. I can’t lie, when I have a few scoops it all rolls off the tongue with ease.
I lived in Madrid for 2 years, I was an English language teacher and 'dhia inniú sa márach', I bloody hated it. I found it so boring. So with very little Spanish, I used my powers of persuasion to get a job in a Spanish bar. I knew my story in Spanish, well a little and I definitely knew my way around a bar (4 summers at Leos Tavern). I got to know the vocabulary and everyone asked me the same questions so I got to practise telling my story so much that I felt fluent in no time!
A friend of mine said to me of a difficult situation they're in, “I can’t fight it, but I can try to outgrow it” that really struck a chord with me. The only way we can fight against the Irish language dying is to learn it, use it every day however you can and grow with it.
So my advice if your learning Irish is to learn some phrases to embellish your daily communication with loved ones and friends:
Its a beautiful day – Tá lá galanta ann inniú
I love you – Tá mo chroí istigh ionad (directly translates to, my heart is in you)
Give me a cuddle – Tabhair do croí isteach
Sit on my lap – suí ar mo ghlún
You’re so smart – Tá tú go cliste
Get up! – Eirí amach as sin!
Sit down – Suí síos
Make me a cup of tea please – Déan cupan tae do le do thóil
Lift that for me please – Tóg sin le do thóil
Put that away – cuir sin ar shiúl
Hurry up – Déan deifir
Use these phrases everyday for you and for your kids and more so for your culture and this can make a HUGE difference. You will find there is real beauty in our language and it's good craic. Join the Global Gaeltacht – Irish language Learners – started by John Handy, Irish American from Pennsylvania, felt compelled to learn Irish and also do what he can to keep the Irish language alive. There are over 17k members from all over the world online chit chatting in Irish, it’s a great resource, there’s a real sense of power on this page. You’ll find a daily feed of easy to understand stuff. Definitely worth checking out.
Imagine if using those few words could change the course of history?
mng is all about using what we’ve got, local services, natural resources and the Irish language. It's a collective collaboration. We offer opportunities to use your Irish in inspiring landscape with like minded others. If you want to reconnect with your Irish, your culture. then come to Tory Island this Sept. This is immersion in culture at its absolute authentic best. The culturally conscious will love this. Reconnect with your heritage, learn to tell your story os gaeilge, visit ancient sites, join the session and dance - ladies, I promise you, a dance with the king of Tory is like a fair ground ride. You have to try it.
Rock agus Roam is taking place on Tory on the 25th, 26th Sept. There's a limited amount of spaces. We expect a cool gathering of about 60 culturally conscious and single people. If you’ve heard stories and have always wanted to go, this is your chance. There’s a special kind of romance that just doesn’t exist anywhere else. And this year is going to special. You never know who you’ll meet.
We'll plan it all, just show up and enjoy. There's an early bird package for the first 15 people book.