Raising awareness of the Irish language in County Derry
Derry Post 8/11/2016
Use of the Irish language is on the increase in County Derry, thanks to two local groups.
Even though they have only been in existence for a short time, Glór na Speiríní and Glór Mhachaire Fíolta, based in Ballinascreen and Magherfelt, already have large numbers attending.
At present, approximately 200 people participate in the wide varity of events and classes run by the groups on a weekly basis.
Glór, meaning voice, aims to raise awareness of the Irish language in the area.
With fantastic links with various outside agencies and groups, Glór is certainly doing just that.
From their bases at Gaelscoil na Spéiríní in Straw, Gaelscoil an tSeanchaí and the education centre in Magherafelt, Glór runs youth clubs, adult classes and other after-school events.
Conor Murray, the groups Irish Language Development Officer, said one of the main challenges facing Glór was the task of changing people’s mind set about the language.
“Getting the message across to parents that you do not have to have Irish to send your child to a bunscoil is the challenge”, he admitted.
“Children are very adaptable to change and can learn much easier than adults and with Irish medium education (IME) growing at colossal rate, there’s no time like the present to enrol your child in Irish medium education.
“This was one of our biggest regrets in regards to our own children’s education, if we had to choose again, we would without hesitation send our children through IME. My brothers and sisters have sent their children through IME and none of them had Irish at this time, some are learning at present.
“This reinforces the point about children being very open to change, to hear a child coming from an English speaking background to learning our native language is quite amazing and parents must be commended for they have given their children an enormous start in life, as regards to education,” said Conor.
Glór is not just exclusive to the people of Ballinascreen or Magherafelt either, we welcome people from all areas and we also welcome people from both sides of the community.” Over the past number of years Glór have been working to build stronger links with groups in other communities and strengthening these bonds. Indeed at present Glór are in the preliminary stages of planning an event with Linda Ervine as the main speaker with representatives from all sectors of our community. This event is to raise awareness that the language is a shared one and anyone who has an interest can learn, develop and gain better understanding in everyday phrases.
Conor, who captained Derry’s senior hurling team that won Ulster in 2000, is quick to stress that Glór aims to make learning the language enjoyable and fun.
“We hope to bring the fun element into learning the language through sport, activities the youth club and a variety of other classes. These activities will reinforce the children’s vocabulary but will also enhance and focus on terms that generally aren’t used in a classroom environment,” he said.
With a dedicated team of 40 plus volunteers working with the groups, Glór has something for all ages.
The youth club, after-school events, sport and trips away cater for the children while up and coming family events will also be held on a regular basis to help parents develop a deeper understanding of Irish.
This is indeed a most exciting time ahead for the Irish language sector as both groups will be working hand in hand to ensure that there are provisions in place in both private and public sector to cater for the growing demand of the Irish language in these areas.
If you would like to find out more about Glór and the work it does, get in touch with Conor by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org