Comhartha sláinte

Bhí mé ag rá an tseachtain seo caite nach bhfaighimid a lán deiseanna Gaeilge a labhairt.

Táimid inár gcónaí in Eirinn, ach tá timpeallacht Bhéarla agus timpeallacht chultúrtha Shasanach againn. Amuigh ar an tsráid, cluintear Béarla an t-am ar fad, beagnach, agus ag amharc ar an chuid is mó de na comharthaí os cionn na siopaí i nDoire, shílfeá go raibh tú i mbaile Sasanach. D’imigh cuid mhaith de na comharthaí Gaeilge i rith na mblianta: Siopa Sheáin, ar Shráid an Chreagáin, mar shampla – bhí ceacht beag Gaeilge sa chomhartha sin. Feictear ainmneacha sráideanna ina lán áiteanna, áfach, agus cuidíonn sin go mór le stór focal agus le litriú na Gaeilge.

Ach tá bláth nua ag fás amuigh san fhásach. Bhuail mé isteach i siopa/caife nua ar Shráid an Chaisleáin i lár na cathrach ar na mallaibh- an Siopa Císte – comhartha taobh amuigh i nGaeilge! Labhair mé leis an úinéir, Seán Ó Baoill. Tá Gaeilge mhaith aige, cé go ndeir sé go bhfuil sí rud beag meirgeach. Ach tá scoth na Gaeilge ag duine de na freastalaithe, Aoibheann Ní Dhéin. Tá sí bródúil as a teanga, agus tá sí breá sásta comhrá a dhéanamh. D’fhreastail Aoibheann ar Bhunscoil Chomcille i nDoire, agus ar Mheánscoil Dhoire sular druideadh í. Tá beirt óganach eile ag obair sa chaife – iardhaltaí na Meánscoile fosta, agus tá Gaeilge ar a dtoil acu. Léiríonn sé seo gur féidir fostaíocht a chruthú tríd an Ghaeilge.

Chomh maith le Gaeilge bhlasta, faigheann tú cístí blasta sa chaife/siopa. Tá tríocha bliain de thaithí ag Seán. Faigheann sé uibheacha óna chearca féin, agus fásann sé torthaí do na cístí: úlla, rúbarb, sméara dubha, sútha talún. Mar sin de, feiceann tú gur siopa glas atá ann sa chiall leathan den fhocal!

Which has the sign outside in irish.Tá fáilte roimh achan duine chuig an Siopa Cístí- Gaeilgeoirí agus Béarlóirí araon. Bain sult as cuairt ar an áit an-Ghaelach seo an tseachtain seo, go háirithe. Beannachtaí na Féile ar ár léitheoirí go léir!

I was saying last week that we do not get many opportunities to speak Irish.

We live in Ireland, but we have an English speaking environment and an English cultural environment.

Out on the street, you hear English nearly all the time, and looking at the signs above most of the shops, you would think that you were in an English town.

Many Irish signs have disappeared over the years: Siopa Sheáin on Creggan Street, for instance – there was a little Irish lesson in that sign!

You can see a lot of street names in many places, however, and that is a great help with regard to vocabulary and spelling.

But a new flower is blooming out in the desert. I dropped into the new café/shop in Castle Street recently- An Siopa Císte- which has the sign outside in Irish.

I spoke to the owner, Seán Boyle. He has good Irish, although he says it is a little rusty.

One of the waitresses, Aoibheann Ní Dhéin, has excellent Irish. She is very proud of her language and is very pleased to chat!

Aoibheann attended Bunscoil Cholmcille in Derry and the Irish secondary school before it closed. There are two other young people working in the café: they are also former Meánscoil pupils, and they are both fluent speakers. This shows that jobs can be created through Irish.

As well as great Irish, you get great cakes in the café/shop.

Seán has thirty years’ experience. He gets eggs from his own hens, and he grows fruit for the cakes: apples, rhubarb, blackberries, strawberries. So it is a green shop in the broad sense of the word!

Everyone is welcome at the Siopa Císte- Irish speakers and English speakers! Enjoy a visit to this very Irish place - this week especially. A happy Saint Patrick’s Day to all our readers!

Sliocht na Seachtaine/ Quotation of the week

‘No language can survive if its use is confined to just private and domestic contexts. A lot of us now feel that we can only practice the language with other consenting adults behind closed doors.’ John Glennon, Irish Times, 7 Márta.