An Ghaeilge i dTír Eoghain

Thosaigh Padraig O Baoighill ag taifeadadh na cainteoirí dúchais deireanacha sna Speiriní sna 1950í.

Ní raibh ach thart fá dhuisín ann ag an am. Tá siad uilig in áit na fírinne anois, ar ndóigh. Tharla an rud céanna in Inis Eoghain. Nuair a chuir Patrick Kavanagh agallamh ar Charles Mc Glinchey, duine ar na cainteoirí Gaeilge deireanacha in Iorras, bhí Gaeilge bhriste bhearnach ag Charles agus ba léir nár labhair sé Gaeilge le blianta fada. Is trua nach raibh Foras na Gaeilge ann seachtó bliain ó shin: bheadh siad ábalta bail mhaith a chur ar dhíothú na teanga sna Gaeltachtaí sin agus bheadh jab i bhfad níos gaiste déanta acu fosta.

Ach bíonn súil le muir. Tá an Ghaelscolaíocht ag dul ó neart go neart i dTír Eoghain faoi láthair. Fuair Gaelscoil na gCrann (An Ómaigh) an chéad áit san Fhéile Náisiúnta Scoildrámaíochta an mhí seo caite. Bhí sí ar an chéad Ghaelscoil ó thuaidh leis an duais chlúiteach a bhaint. Beidh an scoil ag fáil foirgneamh nua faoi scéim atógáil scoileanna an Tuaiscirt. Tá seacht mbunscoil agus sruth dara leibhéil lánGhaeilge amháin sa chontae.Tá daoine fásta ag léiriú suime sa Ghaeilge fosta. Tá Institiúid Cheannaireacht na hÉireann ag eagrú dianchúrsaí Gaeilge ar thrí leibhéal i gCabhán an Chaorthainn, ón Luan,30 Meitheamh go dtí an Aoine, 4 Iúil, 9.30 – 3.30 gach lá. Tá fáilte roimh dhaoine aonair agus roimh theaghlaigh. Tá an costas an-réasúnta: £60 an duine, lón san áireamh. Gach eolas ó: Caitlín Ní Bhroinn 028 877 57800. Is í seo an cúigiú bliain den chúrsa samhraidh seo. Toisc go bhfuiltear ag gearradh siar ar mhaoiniú imeachtaí Gaeilge, is dócha go mbeidh níos lú cúrsaí ar fáil as seo amach agus go mbeidh siad níos daoire. Chomh maith leis sin, uaireanta is féidir níos mó Gaeilge a fhoghlaim i ndianchúrsa seachtaine ná i dtéarma iomlán i gcoláiste.

The Irish language in Tyrone

Pádraig Ó Baoighill began putting the last native speakers in the Sperrins on tape in the 1950’s. There were only about a dozen of them left at the time. They are all dead now, of course. The same thing happened in Inis Eoghain. When Patrick Kavanagh interviewed Charles Mc Glinchey, one of the last Irish speakers in Urris, Charles’s Irish was very broken and it was obvious that he had not spoken Irish for many years. It is a pity Foras na Gaeilge was not around seventy years ago: they would have been able to do a good job wiping out Irish in those Gaeltachts, and they could also have done it much quicker.

But we should not despair. Irish medium education is going from strength to strength in Tyrone at present. Gaelscoil na gCrann,Omagh, got first place in the National School Drama Festival last month. They were the first school in the North to win this prestigious prize. The school is to get a new building under the Northern schools rebuilding scheme.

There are seven all Irish primary schools in the county and an all-Irish secondary stream.

Adults are also showing interest in Irish. The Institute of Irish Leadership is organising intensive Irish courses at three different levels in Pomeroy from Monday, 30 June till Friday, 4 July, from 9.30 till 3.30 every day. Individuals and families are welcome. The cost is very reasonable: £60 per person, including lunch. For information, contact Caitlín Ní Bhroinn on: 028 877 57800. This is the fifth year of the summer course. Because of cutbacks in funding Irish events, it is likely that there will be fewer courses on offer in the future and that they will be more expensive. Also, you can sometimes learn more Irish in a one week intensive course than in a whole term in a college.