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Coláiste beo beathach

January 28, 2014

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

Gabh chuig Goitse!

January 6, 2014

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

Irish language story launch

December 9, 2013

Derry City Council is set to launch a new exhibition and guide illustrating the story of the Irish language in the area.

The Story of Irish tells the story of the Irish language from its first beginnings right up to the present day and explores the journey the language has made throughout the course of our history. The exhibition and the small book which accompanies it aim to develop awareness of the language among new audiences and the resource will travel to schools and community organisations throughout the Council area during 2014 and beyond.

The project was developed by Derry City Council in partnership with the local Irish language community and BT Portrait of a City, which now hosts an archive of interviews with a range of local people about the Irish language in the area. The Story of Irish project was funded under the Culture for All programme which aims to help communities participate in the 2013 City of Culture celebrations. The exhibition will be launched by the Mayor, Cllr Martin Reilly on Thursday at the Guildhall. If you would like to attend the launch event please contact Pól Ó Frighil, Irish Language Officer, Derry City Council, T: 028 71 376579, gaeilge@derrycity.gov.uk


Success for St. Mary’s at Gael Linn quiz

October 29, 2013

Pupils from St. Mary’s Limavady have entered teams in the Irish Language quiz, Gael Linn, and have been successfully placed in the top positions.

This year has been no different for the school, with one of the school entry’s achieving runner up in the competition. Pupils from across Derry attended the recent Gael Linn Quiz held in the White Horse Hotel. The quiz, which is organised by Gael Linn, takes place each year and encourages the use of the Irish Language. “The annual quiz forms one of many activities organised by Gael Linn with the main aim of fostering and promoting the Irish language and its heritage throughout Ireland as a living language and as an expression of identity,” said Principal Mary McCloskey. Year 10 pupils, Cody O’ Doherty, Grainne Mullan, Ciara Mc Colgan and Caoimhinn Campbell were delighted to take the prize.

Head of Modern Languages at the school, Miss Cairns said: “I am so very proud of the team on their achievement and it is events such as these that allows pupils to see the practical application of their skills when studying a language.” The school recently held its Primary 7 Enrolment Day, and was packed with Primary 7 pupils and their parents as they enrolled for September 2014. Speaking to parents, Principal McCloskey said: “Times are changing in the world of education and as parents they now have decisions to make regarding which school their child would attend for the next seven years. All our schools are now unilateral, open to pupils of all abilities but we feel St Mary’s should be your number one choice.” She added: “First and foremost St Mary’s is a Catholic school. This is evidenced in our attention to Masses, confessions and other religious observances. As as a school community treat each other with respect and the care that it given to our pupils to enable them to achieve to their highest potential. At St Mary’s we are about much more than exam results. We encourage our pupils to perform at all levels and in all activities. Any parent can be confident if their child gains a place in St Mary’s they will be well cared for; that their child will gain the knowledge and skills to take their place in today’s world.”


Comhdháil iontach

October 8, 2013

The pre-school organisation Altram was set up in 1990 to support all-Irish early years projects. Altram organises training and resources for staff members, committees and parents who have an active interest in Irish language nurseries. Altram organised an international conference last week in Derry.(By the way, the development of conference facilities in Derry is another example of the progress being made in this city.) Among the speakers was Doctor Antonella Sorace of Edinburgh University who asked the question ‘Why is bilingualism important?’. Doctor Piet Van de Craén from Vrije Universiteit, Brussels, spoke on the theme ‘Early bilingualism in the European Union.’ Aodán Mac Póilin (The Ulster Trust) spoke about the Irish language in Northern Ireland, and Áine Andrews from Altram gave a lecture on ‘Early years Irish education in Northern Ireland, successes and challenges.’ There were workshops on the Friday, showing resources for parents and teachers. The early years are extremely important. A child should start the second language as early as possible. A small child sees no problem with two languages: it is amazing how a young child can go from one language to another without thinking after a short while in an all-Irish nursery or primary school. But this is not a miracle: two thirds of the world’s population speak at least two languages. When someone starts to learn a language later, he sees a series of problems: grammar, vocabulary, translation, etc.: he is trying to learn a lot within a short period of time in an unnatural way. You can learn a language later on in life, but it is much more difficult. Bilingualism opens the mind (that is why I am so broad-minded myself) and it gives the child insight and self confidence – and much more, of course.


Help is at hand

October 1, 2013

Learning Irish was very difficult in the old days. You had a boring old textbook and perhaps a boring old teacher also, in a gloomy classroom. But things changed. There is a wide range of textbooks available now – they are attractive and have a modern look about them. But the perfect textbook has not been published yet – I haven’t had the time! But besides textbooks, back-up resources are available – internet resources in particular. Internet material is improving all the time, so it does no harm to mention to mention some of the sites again. There is no longer a printed version of Foinse, but Foinse is continuing with its daily news service on the Web. The service has learners in mind, and a summary of each story is given in English. It is an excellent resource – foinse.ie Nuacht1.com publishes pieces in Irish from the newspapers. There are windows on the site and you can get access to other sites through them, including Beo, Foinse, Gaelport, Meon eile, Nós, Nuacht24 and Treibh. Go to the bottom of the home page and you will get more than one hundred songs of every kind – traditional songs, children’s songs, sean-nós, pop music, Google RTE Gaeilge for details of Raidió na Gaeltachta, RTÉ and TG4 programmes.

Google BBC Irish, and you will get all sorts of information on material for everyone from the absolute beginner to the fluent speaker. It has simple lessons by a local teacher, Fearghal Mag Uiginn. And the computer games are great! I am a big child at heart. Gaelport’s news and information service is very important at this time, especially when Foinse is no longer with us. And if we don’t use the Internet sites, we will lose many of them too. Finally, a booklet with a list of Internet resources would be very useful. A little project for Foras na Gaeilge?

Classes: Classes will be held in St. Mary’s Hall, Muff every Tuesday from 5.30 till 7.00. All are welcome. Further information: Muff Resource Centre: (00353) 74 93 84572.


Thriomaigh an fhoinse

September 16, 2013

Foras na Gaeilge ended its contract with Foinse four years ago. It seems that Foras were unhappy with circulation figures. I really liked Foinse: the paper had first rate writers and sometimes it carried stories that you couldn’t find in any other newspaper. In my opinion,the paper that came after it, Gaelscéal, was not half as good as Foinse. Only around 1,400 copies of Gaelscéal were sold in the shops, apparently. But Foinse came back as a supplement in the Irish Independent. The new Foinse was a very good paper. That’s right: past tense. There was a notice on the Internet site Foinse.ie last week saying that the printed edition of Foinse would no longer be available. The Foinse Internet service is still available. This is an excellent facility: the site gives you six or seven pieces of news in very good Irish and there is help for those who do not have much Irish. Emer Ní Chéidigh and her staff did a great job. The paper had a very professional look. Readership increased 350% ! Young people started reading Irish for the first time.

The printed edition was an excellent resource- particularly for learners. But now we don’t have an Irish language paper. An Irish teacher will not be able to show his class a newspaper to illustrate a point. Is there another country in the world that does not have a newspaper in the first national language? Are we not hypocrites? Is Ireland not a laughing stock? We are looking for official status for Irish and we cannot even produce a weekly paper. A small staff- perhaps six people- could put out a good paper every week. We have the writers. But they have no work. Will we have another generation of Irish writers? Are we happy to be reading the English rags? (‘No fun, no Sun’). Have we lost our dignity completely? Will Irish go the same way as Latin: a living language – a school subject – a part of classical studies – disappeared out of sight?


Gaeltacht sho-iompartha

July 26, 2013

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

Ulster GAA launches scholarships

July 18, 2013

Gaeilge sa Chlub (‘Irish in the Club’) is a major sponsorship programme for adult students of the Irish language and will provide financial assistance to GAA members who sign up for the Diploma in Irish Language course at the University of Ulster.

Dr Malachy Ó Néill, Head of School of Irish Language and Literature at Ulster, welcomed the ‘pioneering’ scheme.
He said: “This is a significant investment by Ulster GAA in club members throughout the province. “There is a growing appreciation of increased employability for Irish language graduates and this pioneering project is in keeping with the ethos of the GAA and the current DCAL initiative for Líofa 2015.”
Martin McAviney, President of Ulster GAA, added: “This initiative enhances the existing strong links between Comhairle Uladh and the University of Ulster, developing the current sporting partnership with a new cultural and linguistic dimension.”
The two-year (part-time) course is currently available at Belfast and Magee campuses with university outcentres at Cookstown, Ranafast and Downings. It runs for three months in the autumn and three months in the spring and classes are taught in each centre on Monday and Wednesday evenings. Donegal All-Ireland winning footballer Éamonn McGee, who graduated with the Diploma in Irish Language earlier this week, gave the scheme his backing. “The Diploma was a real game-changer for me – now I’m starting the degree in September. The part-time course is ideal for someone with a busy lifestyle.”
Ryan Feeney, Head of Community Development, Strategy and Public Affairs with Ulster GAA, spoke of the importance of this scheme at community level. He said it would both empower individuals and enrich communities.
“This scholarship scheme is an investment in GAA volunteers at grassroots level and will enable many people to achieve a university qualification in Irish, developing their own career prospects and enriching their communities.”
Further information is available from Mrs Ros O’Hagan in the School of Irish Language and Literature: r.ohagan1@ulster.ac.uk or 028 7167 5277.
To apply for the Gaeilge sa Chlub scholarship scheme you should forward your contact details to Dónal McAnallen, Culture Education & Outreach Officer with Ulster GAA: donal.mcanallen.ulster@gaa.ie or 028 3752 1900.


Singer to return for Gaelscoil concert

July 1, 2013

Derry singer and vocal coach Aindree Reece Sheerin will return to the city to perform in a concert to raise funds for Gaelscoil na Daróige.

Mr Sheerin left Derry in the 1980s and was an opera singer for a number of years before a motorcycle accident dramatically altered his life.
The Derry native, who is now a wheelchair user, was determined to remain in music and retaught himself to sing and is now a successful vocal coach and performer. He now performs across the world with his musical partner, Kim Spaargaren, as well as helping others with their singing.
Mr Sheerin said music has always been a major factor in his life.
“I used to be an opera singer but I had a motorcycle accident 17 years ago which left me in a wheelchair. Music was my first love and my mother used to say I could sing before I could talk so I wanted to keep singing but it meant learning to sing all over again.

“Sitting down creates breathing difficulties for singing in terms of the position of the diaphragm so that was something I had to work on,” he said.
He is now part of a musical duo called ‘Too Kool Katz’ and regularly performs across the world. “We perform jazz, blues and swing era songs with a smattering of favourite numbers from Musicals such as Blood

Brothers, Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar and Les Miserables thrown in for good measure so there will be something for everyone,” he said.
The singer said his experiences made him want to help others with his music. “As well as performing I do music therapy for people with Parkinsons and Alzheimer’s.

The Alzheimer’s therapy is purely memory based and no matter where I am in the world or what language is spoken we can always find a song people will know. The Parkinson’s therapy owes more to my operatic training around breathing,” he explained.

Mr Sheerin said he is looking forward to coming back to Derry.
“I’m coming home to sing at a family wedding and it is a great privilege to be asked to do this concert ,” he said.
The concert will take place in Pitchers on August 21 and tickets are now available from Gaelscoil na Daróige and Pitchers.


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