Monday, January 17, 2022

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Tá cúpla focal Gaeilge agam.

I did my first beginners Irish language Zoom class today with Turas in east Belfast.

If you want to find out more about what they offer check out their website: https://www.ebm.org.uk/turas/

My mother didn't enjoy learning Irish growing up so didn't pass it on. And my father was not taught it so couldn't pass it on.

I did learn a wee bit of the language at St Therese of Lisieux primary school, and then it wasn't offered at Belfast Royal Academy when I went to the school in the 1990s.

In my journalism career I have written and spoken quite a bit about the Irish language, the Irish language community and its fight for equality. Here is a flavour of just some of the stories:

2014 The Belfast Telegraph: https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/growing-appetite-among-protestant-unionist-and-loyalist-people-to-learn-irish-language

2014 The Belfast Telegraph: https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/visit-our-irish-class-in-loyal-east-belfast-challenge-to-orange-chief-who-hit-out-at-language

2017 The Irish Times: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/thousands-call-for-irish-language-act-during-belfast-rally

2018 The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/a-battle-over-language-is-at-the-heart-of-northern-irelands-governance-crisis

I know snatches of phrases because you can't be from, and live and love Belfast without learning by osmosis.

I decided I wanted to learn more. Because why wouldn't I. I am curious about the words I hear and frustrated that I don't understand.

It was this tweet by Linda Ervine that made me decide to go for it:

And me signing up inspired a friend to do the same! Yay!

Everyone has been so supportive and encouraging.

I have even lined up fluent friends to help me learn all the swear words!

I have been given book recommendations.

I have been told to check out https://www.focloir.ie and the shelves of Cultúrlann bookshop.

And I even got this in the post from an esteemed colleague:

Day one today was fun. The fabulous Linda Ervine, who I have great respect for, is my teacher!

I have got to know Linda from interviewing her over the years.

Check out my latest chat with her, and some other kick ass women, here:

I can now count to ten. I learned some colours, and some basic phrases.

So far so good.

I am looking forward to learning more.


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