Tuar dóchais dúinn

St. Mary's Oratory, Buncrana where Irish language Confirmations took place recently. DER0516MC007
St. Mary's Oratory, Buncrana where Irish language Confirmations took place recently. DER0516MC007

Bhí Iorras, taobh amuigh de Chluain Maine, ar cheann de na Gaeltachtaí ba láidre in Éirinn sa 19ú haois.

Creidtear nár thosaigh tuismitheoirí ansin ag tógáil a bpáistí le Béarla go dtí na 1870í. Bhí meath ag teacht ar an Ghaeilge faoin am sin cheana féin de thoisc eisimirce agus cúiseanna eacnamaíochta eile. Agus bhí cosc ar an Ghaeilge sna scoileanna náisiúnta.

Ar an 22 Iúil 1888 osclaíodh teach pobail nua in Iorras. Bhí an deasghnáth ar fad i mBéarla agus chuaigh seanmóir an easpaig i bhfeidhm go mór ar an phobal. Maítear gur chuir seo le himeacht na Gaeilge sa cheantar.

Ach is mór idir inné agus inniu. Cáintear an Eaglais Chaitliceach sna meáin beagnach gach lá agus tá freastal ar an Aifreann i bhfad níos lú. Tá an Ghaeilge ag dul i léig ina lán áiteanna: de réir an daonáirimh is déanaí tá titim shuntasach ar líon na ndaoine sa Ghaeltacht a labhraíonn an teanga go laethúil. Mar sin de, cuirfear iontas ar dhaoine go raibh teach pobail mór in Inis Eoghain (Aireagal Naomh Muire, Bun Cranncha) lán go doras an tseachtain seo caite fá choinne Aifreann Gaeilge. Chuaigh 59 páiste as Gaelscoil Bhun Chranncha agus as na trí bhunscoil i nDoire faoi lámh an easpaig. Bhí caidreamh an-mhaith ag an Easpag Mac Eoin leis na páistí. Bhí sé in ann labhairt leo ar a leibhéal féin. Labhair sé Gaeilge ‘bhlasta bhinn’ bunús an ama, ag aistriú go Béarla ó am go ham ar mhaitheas na ndaoine nach raibh Gaeilge acu. Táimid an-bhuíoch den Easpag agus de na sagairt a chuidigh leis, an tAthair Ó Brolcháin agus an tAthair Mac Cannaí. Tá ardmholadh tuillte ag na múinteoirí a d’ullmhaigh na páistí fá choinne na sacraiminte. Ócáid reiligiúnda a bhí ann go bunúsach. Ach chomh maith leis sin ba iontach an t-ardán don Ghaeilge í. Léiríodh luach an Ghaeloideachais: tá caighdeán oideachasúil na bpáistí an-ard. Bhí an amhránaíocht, an ceol uirlise agus an léitheoireacht ar fheabhas. Comhghairdeas arís le gach duine a bhí páirteach!

Translation

Giving us hope

Urris, outside of Clonmany, was one of the strongest Irish speaking areas in the country during the 19th century. It is believed that parents there only started bringing up their children speaking English in the 1870’s. Irish was already declining at that time because of emigration and for other economic reasons. And Irish was banned in the national schools.

On the 22nd of July 1888 a new church was opened in Urris. The whole service was in English and the bishop’s sermon made a great impression on the people. It is claimed that this contributed to the demise of Irish in the area.

But times have changed. The Catholic Church comes in for criticism in the media on a daily basis almost and attendance at Mass has fallen away greatly. The Irish language has declined in many places: according to the latest census, there has been a noticeable decline in the number of people in the Gaeltacht who speak Irish on a daily basis. So people will be surprised that a large church in Inishowen (St. Mary’s Oratory, Buncrana) was packed out last week for an Irish Mass. 59 children from Gaelscoil Bhun Cranncha and the three bunscoileanna in Derry were getting confirmed. Bishop McKeown was very much in tune with the children. He was able to speak to them at their own level. He spoke mostly in Irish– his Irish is superb- and he translated from time to time for the benefit of the people who didn’t speak Irish. We are very grateful to the bishop and the priests who assisted him, Father Bradley and Father Mc Canny. The teachers who prepared the children for the sacrament deserve high praise indeed. It was primarily a religious event. But it also provided a window for Irish. It demonstrated the value of Irish medium education: the children’s standard of education is extremely high. The singing, the instrumental music and the reading were all first rate. Congratulations again to all those involved.