Stair gan stró

Nuair a thugann ollamh cur síos ar stair teanga, bíonn sé deacair go minic daoine a mhealladh chuig an léacht. Tá an téama an-chasta agus tá an saol róghairid. Agus dá mbeadh sé ag caint ar an teilifís, ní bheadh a lán daoine ag tiontú ón X-Factor le héisteacht leis. Ach craoladh ‘Scéal na Gaeilge’ ar TG4 don dara huair an mhí seo, agus bheadh sé doiligh an dá chlár sa mhionsraith a shárú ón taobh teicniúil de agus maidir le siamsaíocht chomh maith.

Tá clú agus cáil ar Alan Titley mar fhear acadúil agus mar scríbhneoir. Agus léirigh sé dúinn sna cláracha seo gur láithreoir teilifíse den scoth atá ann chomh maith. Cur síos greannmhar, bríomhar atá sna cláracha, a bhaineann úsáid as nua-theicneolaíocht – cartúin, cúlra scáthlán glas, agus taifeadadh ag láithreacha stairiúla. Dúirt an léiritheoir, Ciarán Ó Cofaigh: ‘Le Scéal na Gaeilge rinne muid iarracht rud éigin nua a dhéanamh leis an ghnáth- shraith faisnéise stairiúil. Tríd an tsraith a chur i láthair ar bhonn fuinniúil, spraíúil agus maigiúil, táimid ag súil go meallfaidh sé an té a bhfuil spéis aige sa teanga, chomh maith leis an duine nach bhfuil.’

Tá Titley thar a bheith díograiseach. Léiríonn sé stair na Gaeilge trí na céadta bliain ar dhóigh éadrom ach ag tabhairt eolais ag an am céanna. Ag caint ar na Gaeil ag teacht ón Spáinn go hÉirinn, cuireann sé ceist cad chuige ar fhág siad slán leis an ghrian le teacht chuig an fhearthainn anseo.

Fuair na Gaeil an aibítir ó na Romhanaigh, mhúnlaigh siad í de réir a riachtanas féin: d’úsáid siad spáis idir fhocail, chruthaigh siad litreacha móra agus poncaíocht – córas scríofa a chóipeáil na teangacha Eorpacha a tháinig i ndiaidh na Gaeilge. Is í an Ghaeilge an tríú teanga scríofa is sine san Eoraip, dár ndóigh.

Is é ROSG, comhlacht atá lonnaithe i nGaeltacht Chonamara a rinne an dá chlár. Tá comhlachtaí scannáin againn a léiríonn samhlaíocht agus clisteacht dúinn. Ba chóir dúinn bheith bródúil astu. Tá Scéal na Gaeilge ar fáil ar TG4 iPlayer.

History with no stress

When a professor gives a talk on the history of a language, it is often difficult to persuade people to go to the lecture. The theme is very complex, and life is too short. And if he were to give the talk on television, there would not be many people turning over from the X Factor to listen to him. But TG4 showed Scéal na Gaeilge/The story of Irish for a second time this month and it would be difficult to beat the two programmes in the mini-series technically, or with regard to entertainment.

Alan Titley is well known as an academic and a writer. And he showed us in these two programmes that he is also a first rate television presenter. The programmes deal with the subject in an amusing, lively way, using new technology- cartoons, green screen and location filming. The producer, Ciarán Ó Cofaigh said: ‘With Scéal na Gaeilge, we have attempted to do something new with the standard historical documentary series. In a fast paced, fun and irreverent style, we hope that we can attract those who have an interest in the language as well as those who don’t.’

Titley is very enthusiastic. He explains the history of Irish over the centuries in a light-hearted way, imparting knowledge at the same time. Referring to the arrival of the Gaels in Ireland from Spain, he asks why they bade farewell to the sun to come here to the rain.

The Gaels got the alphabet from the Romans, and they adapted it to their own requirements: they used spaces between words, they created capital letters and punctuation – a writing system that the other European languages that came after Irish copied. Irish is, of course the third oldest written language in Europe. ROSG, a company based in the Conamara Gaeltacht made the two programmes. We have film companies that show imagination and clever thinking. We should be proud of them. Scéal na Gaeilge can be seen on TG4 iPlayer.