‘Ultach’ ar son comhthuisceana

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An tseachtain seo caite rinne mé tuairisc ar an chomhdháil a d’eagraigh Altram faoin réamhscolaíocht. Bhí achan duine sásta leis na himeachtaí, ach bhí muid níos mó ná sásta leis na málaí sona a fuair muid ag an deireadh.

I measc na n-ábhar oideachasúil a fuair muid bhí dhá leabhrán ó Ultach, nó Iontaobhas Ultach,(an chéad teideal a bhí ag an eagras). ‘An Ghaeilge/The Irish language’ an t-ainm atá ar an chéad leabhrán; ‘Logainmneacha/Placenames’ an teideal atá ar an dara ceann.

Is iad na logainmneacha bealach isteach amháin chuig an Ghaeilge. Is cuimhin liom roinnt blianta ó shin go raibh mé ag dul trí Bhéal Feirste i dtacsaí. Dúirt an tiománaí liom gur Phrotastúnach é agus go mbeadh sé ag déanamh cúrsa Gaeilge: chuir sé spéis sna logainmneacha nuair a bhí sé ag tiomáint thart timpeall na cathrach agus ba mhian leis níos mó a fhoghlaim fúthu. Chuir mé ceist orm féin: ‘Cad chuige a bhfuil sé ag rá sin liomsa?’ Rinne mé dearmad go raibh an Fáinne thuas agam.

Tá an ‘An Ghaeilge/The Irish Language’ thar a bheith maith.Tosaíonn sé le fréamhacha na teanga. Tá píosa ann ar an seanchóras scríbhneoireachta, Ogham. Ansin tá cur síos ann faoi mheath na Gaeilge agus ar an Athbheochan: léirítear tábhacht na bProtastúnach i gcothú na Gaeilge. Tá nótaí ann ar an oideachas, ar na meáin agus ar na healaíona. Tá dhá leathanach ann ar fhocail Ghaeilge sa Bhéarla agus ar fhocail ó theangacha eile sa Ghaeilge. Tá caibidil an-suimiúil ag an deireadh faoi na sloinnte. Tá na leabhráin saor in aisce ó ‘Ultach’, agus tá siad ar an Idirlíon fosta. Is fiú go deo amharc ar an suíomh ultach.org: gheobhaidh tú liosta de na leabhair d’fhoghlaimeoirí a d’fhoilsigh an t-eagras agus de leabhair a scriosann an bhréag gur le pairtí polaitiúil amháin nó le reiligiún amháin í an Ghaeilge.

Last week I reported on the conference about preschool education organised by Altram.

Everyone was happy with how things went, but we were more than happy with the goody bag that we got at the end.

Among the educational materials that we got were two booklets from Ultach/ or Iontaobhas Ultach, the Ulster Trust (the original name of the organisation): the first booklet is called‘An Ghaeilge/The Irish language’; the second one is entitled ‘Logainmneacha/Placenames’.

Placenames are one route into Irish. I remember a few years ago I was going through Belfast in a taxi.

The driver told me that he was a Protestant and that he was going to be doing an Irish course: he got interested in placenames driving round the city and he wanted to learn more about them.

I wondered ‘Why is he telling me this?’ I forgot that I was wearing my Fáinne.

‘An Ghaeilge/The Irish language’ is an excellent publication. It starts with the origins of the language. There is a section in it about the ancient writing system, Ogham.

There is then an account of the decline of Irish and the Revival: it shows how important Protestants were in the preservation of Irish. There are notes on education, the media and the arts.

There are two pages on Irish words in English and on words that have come into Irish from other languages. At the end there is a very interesting chapter on surnames. The booklets may be obtained free of charge from ‘Ultach’ and they are also on the Internet.

It is well worthwhile having a look at the site www.ultach.org: you will get a list of books for beginners which the organisation has published, and of books which destroy the lie that Irish belongs to one political organisation or one religion.