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Native Language

By Ron DePasquale, Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor
INIS MEÁIN ISLAND, IRELAND - On this tiny, wind-swept island at Europe's western edge, a shopkeeper makes a proud gesture toward the radio, which blares the midday news in an ancient, dying language.
Irish Gaelic is still the native tongue of some 55,000 people who live mostly along the west coast. But it is under siege. Even Inis Meáin, one of three Aran Islands off the coast of County Galway famed for old-fashioned ways, is no longer a safe haven.

"Irish is in trouble," says Cuomhán Ó Fátharta, Inis Meáin's sole shopkeeper. "When I was young, you had to learn English in school because there was no TV. I couldn't really speak English until I was 12, but now the kids are all picking it up young."

As Ireland's mother tongue struggles to survive, the government has stepped up its contentious efforts to save the language, known here simply as Irish.

The European Union (EU) gave Irish a symbolic boost when it recognized it as an official language on June 13, three decades after Ireland joined the union. Road signs in the scattered Irish-speaking towns and islands - known collectively as the Gaeltacht - have posted place names exclusively in Irish since April. And new Gaeltacht housing developments must reserve homes for Irish speakers.

Critics call these tactics costly shenanigans that only engender resentment against a language that schoolchildren must study for 13 years. The minority who become fluent have little chance to speak Irish outside the Gaeltacht.

"For the majority of students, the Irish language now exists for the sake of perpetuating its own death grip on the school system," columnist Louise Holden wrote recently in The Irish Times.

Yet on Inis Meáin, Mr. Ó Fátharta says the road sign kerfuffle won't last. Tourists will adapt, he says, and such forceful government action is essential to sustain the language. He points to the success of state-supported Irish-language radio and TV, which have grown in popularity, and the invasion of students who come to County Galway to study Irish every summer.

"People want to learn the language," he says. "That's why they keep coming."

In mostly English-speaking Galway City, pubs serve as a place for people to speak Irish. At Taffees, where traditional Irish bands play every night, an encouraging sign at the bar says, "Irish spoken here." Yet many native Irish speakers feel uncomfortable speaking their language outside their hometowns, a self- consciousness that experts say prevents the spread of Irish as a spoken language.

Irish has been declining for centuries, since families hoping to better their prospects made children speak English instead of Irish. Hoping to reverse that trend, the nation's founders made Irish the primary language and a core school subject after independence from Britain in 1921.

Yet today, just 43 percent of Irish citizens say they can speak the language, and only 1.4 percent are native speakers.

Michael Faherty, who rents bicycles to tourists on Inis Meáin, says he is realistic about the language's hold on the young. "They're turning to English now," he says as he fixes a bicycle to a background of traditional Irish music. "It's more fashionable."

Irish language activists want a bilingual nation. Some blame a curriculum that focuses on grammar and rote memorization, rather than teaching conversational Irish. Others say that the complex language must be modernized, following Israel's success in reviving Hebrew.

The growth of Irish-language schools, or gaelscoileanna, has lifted hopes for the language's survival. Outside Gaeltacht areas, 52 Irish-language elementary schools have been created since 1993, bringing the number to 120. And more books are being translated into Irish; students can now read Harry Potter in the old language.

The lucrative field of official Irish translation is also booming, thanks to a law passed two years ago that requires all government documents and services to be provided in Irish. The new EU designation created a need for dozens more well-paid Irish speakers to translate EU documents and interpret at parliamentary and ministerial meetings. Yet the government says it can't find enough to keep up with the work.

An elderly woman on Inis Meáin, wearing a traditional long dark skirt and shawl, spoke wistfully about her native language. "I don't know who will speak the Irish after the old people are gone," says the 80-year-old woman, who did not give her name. "The youngsters are all learning English, too much English."

Nancy Monaghan
Neansaí Gráinne Ní Mhanacháin
Irish Country

Saving the Irish Language
Article by Laura Jean Karr on Brighthub
Published on Jul 14, 2008
The Irish language is currently in the process of working its way of off the Endangered Languages List. In this article we are going to take a look at how the Irish government in conjunction with the Foras na Gaeilge are working together to promote the Irish language. We'll also go over one of the latest Irish language software packages aimed at teaching an understanding of Irish through immersion.
A movement to save the Irish language began in small pockets of people from all over the world. With an estimated 72 million emigrants from Ireland spread throughout different countries the Irish born, the Irish descendants and those who became enamored of the Irish culture have worked together in an effort to save the Irish language. Because of the hard work and study from many people all over the globe in 2008 the Irish government took a nation wide survey to ask its citizens how they wanted to re-establish the nation's first and official language. The Irish language is now in the process of working its way off the Endangered Languages list.

One of the major supporters dedicated to saving Irish is Foras na Gaeilge. Since 1999, the Foras na Gaeilge has taken on the responsibility of promoting Irish throughout Ireland. The group developed the Good Friday Agreement that makes the promotion of the Irish language a joint effort between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. They were also instrumental in ensuring that Irish was added to the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages making it a recognized language at the inception of the European Union. Foras na Gaeilge also has an educational outline program where being taught Irish from preschool through to Third Level is becoming more common in the local schools. Adults are offered immersion classes in the local Gaeltacht's which are townships where Irish is the only language used.

Ireland also has Irish only media sources in an effort to promote the language. The TG4 television channel produces programs only in Irish. There are now three main newspapers that print only in Irish and they are: Lá Nua which is daily news, Foinse which is weekly news and Saol which is monthly news. In radio there is Raidió na Gaeltachta, while the BBC has started to air some programs in Irish such as Karen na hAoine. For Irish only magazines in print there are An tUltach, Comhar and Feasta while for online magazines in Irish there are Gaelport and Beo.

If you aren't a citizen of Ireland there are other ways to either brush up on your Irish skills or to learn Irish as a new language all on your own. A good workable software solution to learning Irish on your own is through the Teach Me Irish! Language package. Teach Me Irish! is an interactive software program that engages the student in proper pronunciation with voice-recognition feedback through the lessons. This program also focuses on enabling the student to read Irish through twenty different stories that tests the verbal word recognition already covered. A student can also utilize the integrated audio dictionary in the program and they can even develop their own dictionary as the lessons progress. In addition to the Teach Me Irish! language package the Linguashop creators also offer On the Road Irish!, Speak! Irish and Audio Book Irish in MP3 format.

Oileáin Árann

Inis Meáin

An ceann is ciúine d'Oileáin Árann


An ceann is ciúine d'Oileáin Árann, ar a mbíonn an líon is lú cuairteoirí, is féidir éalú ar fad ón saol nua-aimseartha ar Inis Meáin, áit a bhfuil áilleacht, traidisiún agus cultúr chomh maith le tírdhreach creagach. Tá lúbra bóithre cúnga casta, cosán fothana agus rianta ar fud an oileáin, ó chnoic charraigeacha an deiscirt go dtí tránna folamha an tuaiscirt. Tá bláthanna fiáine go fairsing ann agus feictear mórán samplaí de luath lonnaíochtaí ar fud na haolchloiche carstaí.
Tá dún ubhchruthach iontach Dhún Chonchúir anseo, chomh maith le Cill Cheanainn álainn agus séipéal
Muire gan Smál, ina bhfuil fuinneoga gloine dhaite galánta ó Harry Clarke Studios a bhfuil clú agus cáil orthu. In aice láimhe tá Teach Synge, an teachín athchóirithe inar chónaigh an scríbhneoir John Millington Synge, fear a raibh an-chion aige ar an oileán.
Tá ionad tumadóireachta ar an oileán freisin, áit ar féidir snámh sna huiscí glana agus dul sa tóir ar an iliomad beatha mara amach ón gcósta, and cúrsaí cáiliúla Gaeilge agus cultúir, áit ar féidir leat foghlaim faoi stair agus thraidisiúin an oileáin, ó cheol, scéalaíocht agus filíocht go dtí damhsa seite agus comhshaol.


Dún Chonchúir; Teach Synge; Séipéal Muire gan Smál; Cill Cheanainn.


Siúl, rothaíocht, ionad tumadóireachta, ceol, teanga agus staidéir chultúrtha agus saoirí gníomhaíochta.


Inis Oírr

An ceann is lú d'Oileáin Árann agus clú agus cáil air

Is é Inis Oírr an ceann is lú agus an ceann is faide soir d'Oileáin Árann. Tá an áit suaimhneach agus an-oiriúnach do mhachnamh agus do shiúlóidí ciúine. Tá an t-oileáin chomh beag sin is gur féidir é ar fad a shiúl agus is furasta a cheapadh nach bhfuil san áit ach tú féin.
Is dócha go bhfuil daoine ina gcónaí ar an oileán le 5,000 bliain ach is é Cnoc Raithní, dumha adhlactha Cré-Umhaoise a bhfuil an dáta 1500BC luaite leis an cruthúnas is luaithe de dhaoine ar an oileán. Tá Teampall Chaomhán i ngar, séipéal meánaoise a bhfuil a leath sáite sa ghaineamh, agus Caisleán Uí Bhríain, túrtheach trí stór ón 16 haois a tógadh laistigh de dhún Chlochaoise. Tá tránna órga ó thuaidh ar an oileán áit a bhfuil sé sábháilte a bheith ag snámh agus a bhfuil radharcanna áille de Chonamara le feiceáil agus tá longbhriste chomh maith le radharcanna breátha d'Aillte an Mhothair agus den Bhoirinn ar chladach thoir an oileáin.
Tá ionad ealaíon agus cultúir, Áras Éanna, ar an oileán freisin, áit ar féidir freastal ar cheardlanna, taispeántais a fheiceáil agus foghlaim faoin gcultúr traidisiúnta. Téigh chuig
D'fhéadfá rásaí na gcurach traidisiúnta a fheiceáil má bhíonn tú ar cuairt i mí Lúnasa.


Cnoc Raithní; Teampall Chaomhán; Caisleán Uí Bhríain; an Plassy - long atá briste; Cill na Seacht nIníon; Teacht Solais; Túr Comharthaíochta; Tobar Éanna.


Siúl, snámh agus faire éan, Iascaireacht, ceol, damhsa Gaelach, agus foghlaim teanga.

Inis Mór

An ceann is mó d'Oileáin Árann. Stair spéisiúil

Is é Árainn an t-oileán is mó agus is mó forbartha de chuid Oileáin Árann agus chomh maith le stair spéisiúil tá áiseanna den scoth ann agus saol sóisialta bríomhar san oíche. Tá an t-oileán clúdaithe le haolchloch scaoilteánach agus le breacachan páirceanna, agus is féidir dul ag siúl, ag rothaíocht nó ag marcaíocht trí na lánaí beaga le teacht ar shéadchomhartha cáiliúil an oileáin, Dún Aonghusa. Is ceann de na lonnaíochtaí réamhstaire is cáiliúla agus is tábhachtaí san Eoraip é an dún cloiche leath-chiorclach seo atá suite go feiceálach 100m os cionn na farraige.
In áiteanna eile ar fud an oileáin tá dúin chiorclacha, iarsmaí ó thús na Críostaíochta, ardchrois ón 12ú aois agus séipéil meánaoiseacha.
Tugann an t-ionad oidhreachta, Ionad Árann, léargas fíor-shuimiúil ar stair an oileáin, ag léiriú shaol agus thraidisiúin mhuintir Árann. Mar sin féin, tá na traidisiúin fós beo anseo agus is cuid den ghnáthsaol iad seisiúin ceoil, céilithe, scéalaíocht agus rásaí curach. Is cuma céard a dhéanfaidh tú; siúl trí lánaí faoi bhláth, faire na rónta, do scíth a ligean ar an trá, nó cuairt a thabhairt ar Ionad Árann, titfidh tú i ngrá leis na daoine, leis an gcultúr agus le hoidhreacht an oileáin iontaigh seo.


Dúnfort agus ionad cuairteora Dhún Aonghusa; Na Seacht dTeampall; Ragús - taispeántas den scoth de cheol, amhránaíocht agus damhsa Gaelach; flóra agus fána; ceol beo.


Siúl, rothaíocht, snámh, marcaíocht capall, tumadóireacht, déanamh ciseán, Foghlaim na Gaeilge agus cúrsaí cultúir.





Irish language schools on the Aran Islands

Coláiste Ísliomáin - Inis Meáin

Coláiste Ísliomáin - Inis Meáin
Inis Meáin
Co. na Gaillimhe

01 - 640 3568 nó 087 415 6227

Ábharoidí Interview necessary
Riail na Gaeilge i bhfeidhm.
Níl rothair ceadaithe.
Costas breise ar thaisteal (€50) / ar turas (€10)

Rúnaí an Choláiste: Deirdre Ní Conghaile
6 Allendale Heath
Clonsilla. BÁC 15
Fón: 01 640 3568 / 087 415 6227

Coláiste Laichtín Naofa - Inis Oírr

Coláiste Laichtín Naofa - Inis Oirr
Inis Oírr
Oileáin Árann
Co na Gaillimhe

Uimhir fón an Choláiste: 065 6822275
Baile is giorra don Choláiste: Gaillimh

A : 2. 06. 2008 - 23. 06. 2008
Aois : 11 - 19 mbl.
Táille : €770.00

B : 25. 06. 2008 - 16. 07. 2008
Aois : 11 - 19 mbl.
Táille : €770.00

C : 18. 07. 2008 - 8. 08. 2008
Aois : 11 - 19 mbl.
Táille : €770.00

Costas breise: taisteal ar an mbus
AgallamhColáiste Ó Direáin - Inis Mór

Coláiste Ó Direáin - Inis Mór
Fearann an Choirce
Cill Rónáin
Oileáin Árann
Co na Gaillimhe

Uimhir fón an Choláiste: 099.61264 \ 087.6979979
Baile is giorra don Choláiste: Gaillimh

Cúrsa Cásca: 24. 03. 2008 - 29. 03. 2008
Aois : 16 - 18 mbl.
Táille: €270

A : 3. 06. 2008 - 25. 06. 2008
Aois : 12 - 18 mbl.
Táille : €790

B : 26. 06. 2008 - 18. 07. 2008
Aois : 11 - 18 mbl.
Táille : €790

C : 20. 07. 2008 - 10. 08. 2008
Aois : 11 - 18 mbl.
Táille : €790

Costas breise: Taisteal 30 euro
Agallamh riachtanach: Tá
Riail na Gaeilge if bhfeidhm? : Tá
Rothar ceadaithe?: Níl
Rothar riachtanach?: Níl
Bus speisialta/Traen ó: Bus \Bád

Rúnaí an Choláiste: Seán Ó Flaithearta
Gort na gCapall
Cill Rónáin
Oileáin Árann
Co na Gaillimhe.
Fón: 099.61264

Suíomh Idirlín:

riachtanach: Tá
Riail na Gaeilge if bhfeidhm? : Tá
Rothar ceadaithe?: Níl
Rothar riachtanach?: Níl
Bus speisialta/Traen ó: Bus spiasialta ó Bhaile Átha Cliath agus Inis. Co an Chláir

Rúnaí an Choláiste: Caomhán Ó Conghaile
8 Rockmount Grove
Co. an Chláir
Fón: 065 6822275

Suíomh Idirlín:

1 Comment

Most of us have a language to save, and it’s good that some Irish people still pay attention in restoring their Irish language. I do believe that we have our own uniqueness; it may be from culture, language and traditions. In relation to Ireland issues, Ireland has been one of the hardest hit countries in the downturn of the world economy. It is said that when Ireland gained its independence, the Irish Republic emerged as a country behind the curve, but over the next 50 years they become the richest nations of Europe. The Celtic Tiger boomed for years until recently, as the Anglo Irish Bank was nationalized amid fears of a collapse. But because of this recession Irish many turned to cab driving to sustain the needs of its people. They never granted any no fax cash advance as well as short-term loan. Radical budgets cuts appear in the prospect, as there may not be a large enough short-term loan for Ireland to keep things as they were. Now all we can do is to try our very best to survive and be optimistic because in due time I know we can make it.

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