AN DROICHEAD

Rinne an BBC clár faisnéise iontach i nGaeilge roinnt blianta ó shin - ‘An Droichead’- faoin Ospís i nDoire. Tá siombalachas láidir sa teideal: tá an Ospís suite in aice leis an Droichead Nua; is droichead idir pobail í; agus is droichead idir an saol seo agus an saol eile í. An tseachtain seo chugainn beidh droichead eile againn i nDoire – Droichead na Síochána. Deir daoine áirithe gur chóir an t-airgead a chaitheamh ar thionscnamh níos fiúntaí sa chathair bheag ainriochtach seo, ach caithfimid a bheith dearfach: bainfimid an-sult as an fhéile agus beidh an chathair níos oscailte mar gheall ar an droichead úr. Agus caithfidh mé a rá go bhfuil Doire i bhfad níos oscailte ná mar a bhí sé. Tá a lán daoine ina gcónaí anseo ó thíortha eile –‘na hÉireannaigh nua’. Thug siad a gcultúir féin leo agus táimid níos saibhre dá bharr. Mar shampla, osclaíodh bácús Francach idir an Chúil Mhór agus Magh ar na mallaibh: tá tú ábalta bia Francach iontach a bhlaiseadh agus thig leat creacann a chur ar do chuid Fraincise chomh maith! I gceann cúpla seachtaine beidh na céadta dalta ag teacht anseo ón Eoraip le snas a chur ar a gcuid Béarla (!). Agus beidh na céadta eachtrannach ag díriú ar an Ghaeltacht ag an am céanna, ag léiriú níos mó measa ar an Ghaeilge ná na hÉireannaigh féin. Ach ní rachaidh mé síos an bealach sin…

THE BRIDGE

The BBC made a marvellous documentary in Irish a few years ago – ‘An Droichead’ (‘The Bridge’) – about the Hospice in Derry. There is strong symbolism in the title: the Hospice is situated next to the New Bridge; it is a bridge between communities; and it is a bridge between this world and the next. Next week we will have another bridge in Derry – the Peace Bridge. Some people say that the money should have been spent on a more worthwhile project in this little dilapidated city, but we must be positive: we will enjoy the festival and the city will be more open because of the new bridge. And I must say that Derry is much more open than it used to be. There are many people from other countries living here now: ‘The New Irish’. They have brought their own cultures with them and we are richer as a result. For example, a French bakery opened recently between Culmore and Muff: you can taste wonderful French food and improve your French as well! In a few weeks hundreds of pupils will be coming here from Europe to improve their English (!). At the same time, hundreds of foreigners will be heading for the Gaeltacht, showing more respect for Irish than the Irish themselves. But I won’t go down that road…