Céad Seachtaine/Béal Feirste — First Week/Belfast

Haighea a chairde,

Tharla neart rudaí ón uair dheireanach a scríobh mé, gabhaigí mo leiscéal! Déanfaidh mé iarracht achoimre a dhéanamh ar an tseachtain a chuaigh thart gan a bheith ag scríobh barraíocht!

An chéad píosa nuachta ná bhí ár gcéad seachtain na ranganna againn. Seo ár sceidil i rith na seachtaine:

Dé Mairt:
12-2 Teanga na Nua-Ghaeilge
3-5 Gnéithe den tSochtheangeolaíocht

Dé Céadaoin:
1-2 Teanga na Nua-Ghaeilge (an scríobhnóireacht)

Déardaoin:
1-3 Abair Amhrán, Inis Scéal (an Béaloideas)
3-5 Gnéithe den tSochtheangeolaíocht

Dá bhrí sin, níl aon ranganna againn Dé Luain nó Dé hAoine! Ach, beidh an t-uafás oibre le déanamh againn le bheith ullmhaithe do na ranganna, agus ní bheith mórán seans againn ár scith a ligint!

Bhí na ranganna uilig iontach suimiúil agus tá muid ag súil go mór le bheith ag staidéar na hábhair seo i rith na bliana. Ach, bhí seachtain iontach deacair againn, caithfidh mé a rá, mar tá caighdeán chomh ard i gceist leis an chúrsa seo agus níl muid go hiomlán réidh dó. Ní thiocfadh linn a bheith go hiomlán réidh don chaighdeán seo seachas dá mbeadh BA iomlán sa Ghaeilge déanta againn, agus fiú ansin bheadh sé dúshlanach go leor. Den chuid is mó, tuigeann muid achan rud a deir na hollúna agus na mic léinn eile, ach tá sé i bhfad níos deacra na hailt acadúla a léamh/thuiscint agus a phlé i nGaeilge leis na daoine eile. Sin rud suimiúil, nach bhfuil? Tagann tuiscint i dteanga i bhfad níos gasta ná thagann an cumas í a labhairt agus do thuairimí a chur in iúl go deaslabhartha. Níor mhothaigh mé chomh bómánta riamh ná a mhothaigh mé sna ranganna an tseachtain seo caite… De gnáth, is scoláire maith mé agus is breá liom bheith i mo mhac léinn, ach le dreas buillí an chaighdeán Gaeilge agus gan a bheith cleachta a bheith i mo mhac léinn le fada (thart fá 5 bliana anuas), mhothaigh mé nach raibh mé ábalta aon rud suimiúil, éirimiúil a thabhairt don rang ar chor ar bith. Bhí muid faoi ghruaim ag deireadh na seachtaine, ach inniu tá muid ag éirí níos fearr agus tá a fhios againn nach bhfuil ann ach ár seacht ndícheall a dhéanamh, agus leanúint ar aghaidh leis an obair atá againn, agus de réir a chéile beidh muid san áit ba mhaith linn a bheith.

Leis sin, rinne muid an cinneadh dul go Béal Feirste ar an deireadh seachtaine, fá choinne an Bhreithlá Líofa. Is é “Líofa” scéim na Gaeilge i mBéal Feirste, agus tá siad ag bailiú sínithe as daoine atá ag iarraidh a bheith líofa sa Ghaeilge faoi 2015. Tá sprioc acu 5,000 duine a fháil, agus anois, i ndiaidh bliain amháin, tá 2,500 acu (muidne san áireamh). Dá bharr sin, chuir Roinn Cultúrtha, Ealaíona, agus Fóillíochta “cóisir breithlá” ar siúl i gcathair Béal Feirste. Bhí sé iontach deas agus bhuail muid le neart daoine suimiúla a oibríonn leis an Ghaeilge sa Tuaisceart. Agus rinne muid agallamh le stáisiún teilifíse fosta! Cuirfear an agallamh ar líne anseo, más maith leat é a fheiceáíl!

Dála an scéil, mura bhfaca tú CouchSurfing.org go fóill, agus is mac léinn/duine bocht tú a ba mhaith leat a bheith ag taisteal, mholfainn daoibh é seo a úsáid! D’fhan muid le cúpla duine iontach i mBéal Feirste (duine amháin arbh chainteoir dúchais na Gaeilge ó Ghaoth Dobhair!) agus bhí an-chraic againn. Anois tá cairde againn in mBéal Feirste agus tá cairde nua acu i nGaillimh!

Agus an píosa nuachtáin dheireanach daoibh: bhuaigh Dún na nGall i gcraobhchluiche phéile Gaelach Dé Sathairn!! WOO HOO!!! Chonaic muid an cluiche ar an bhealach ar ais go Gaillimh i dteach tábhairne i mBaile Átha Luain, agus ba chluiche iontach é! Ar an drochuair, bhí muid i dteach tábhairne le lucht leantóirí Mhaigh Eo seachas Dún na nGall, agus bhí orainn ár sceitimíní a choinneáil linn féin go dtí a bhain muid an carr amach… ionas nach gcaitheadh amach ar an tsráid muid! Tá an tír iomlán ag ceiliúradh fós (Tír Chonaill go háirithe!), mar ní raibh an craobhchluiche bainte ag an fhoireann sin ar feadh fiche bliain… tá sé tuillte acu, gan amhras.

Anois, ar ais go dtí an obair! Go n-éirí an bóthar libh,

Amanda

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Hello friends,

A lot has happened since the last time I wrote, so sorry for the delay! I’ll try to sum up the week without writing too much!

The first piece of news is that our first week of classes happened last week. Here’s our schedule during the week:

Tuesday:
12-2 Language class
3-5 Aspects of Sociolinguistics

Wednesday:
1-2 Language class (writing focus)

Thursday:
1-3 Folklore (song and storytelling traditions)
3-5 Aspects of Sociolinguistics

And so we don’t have any classes on Monday or Friday! But we’ll have a ton of work to do to prepare for these classes, and we won’t have too much of a chance to relax or travel on those long weekends.

The classes were all very interesting and we’re looking forward to spending a whole year studying these subjects. But we did have a very difficult week last week, I have to say, because there’s an extremely high standard of Irish language needed for this program, and we’re not entirely ready for it. We couldn’t be ready for it unless we had done a whole BA in Irish really, and even then it would be challenging enough. For the most part, we understand everything that the professors and other students say, but it’s much more difficult to read/understand the academic articles/book excerpts and discuss them in Irish with the other folks in our classes. That’s an interesting thing, isn’t it? Understanding in a new language always comes faster than the ability to speak it and express your opinions eloquently. I have never felt more stupid than I felt in our classes last week… usually, I’m a very good scholar and I love to be a student, but with the combined blow of the standard of Irish in question and me being out of practice of being a student for a while (about 5 years now), I felt like I wasn’t able to contribute anything interesting or intelligent to the class at all. We were a bit depressed about this by the end of the week, but today we’re feeling better and we know that the only thing to do is our very best, and to continue on with our work… eventually we’ll be in the place we want to be.

Along with that, we made the decision to go to Belfast this weekend for the birthday celebration of Líofa. Líofa is an Irish language scheme in Belfast that’s trying to collect signatures (and pledges of learning) from people who want to be fluent in Irish by 2015. Their goal is 5,000 people, and today, after a year, they have 2,500 people registered (including us). Because of that, the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure put on a “birthday party” in Belfast city. It was really nice and we met a bunch of interesting people who work with Irish in Northern Ireland. We also did an interview with a television station! The interview will be put online here this week, I think, if you want to see it!

By the way, if you haven’t seen CouchSurfing.org yet, and you’re a poor student/person who wants to travel, I would recommend it highly to you! We stayed with a couple of great guys in Belfast (one of which was a native Irish speaker from Gaoth Dobhair!) and we had so much fun. And now we have new friends in Belfast and they have new friends in Galway!

And the last piece of news for you: Donegal won the championship in Gaelic Football on Saturday!! WOO HOO!! We saw the game on the way back to Galway in a pub in Athlone, and it was an awesome game! Unfortunately, we were in a pub full of Mayo supporters rather than Donegal, and we had to contain our excitement until we got out to the car… so that we wouldn’t be thrown out onto the street! 🙂 The whole country is still celebrating (especially Donegal!), because this team hasn’t won the championship for 20 years… they definitely deserve it.

And now, back to work! Wishing you all well,

Amanda

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An Liom í an Ghaeilge? Is Irish my language?

Smaointe doimhne ag teacht, a chairde… ullmhaígí sibh féin! 🙂

Chuir cara an cheist seo ar na mallaibh, agus sílim gur ceist iontach suimiúil í… an leat an Ghaeilge? An gcreideann tú gur cainteoir Gaeilge tú?

Bhuel, creidim gur cainteoir Gaeilge mé, cinnte, cé nach bhfuil mé chomh líofa agus ba mhaith liom a bheith. Ach, an liom í an Ghaeilge? Chan go fóill, déarfainn. Ach cad chuige? Mar rud amháin, níl mé líofa sa Ghaeilge go fóill… b’fhéidir nuair a bheas mé níos fearr sa Ghaeilge agus nuair a bheas sí ar mo thoil agam, beidh mé compórdach ag rá gur liom í.

Ach tá rud eile ann… ní Éireannach mé. An féidir liom a rá riamh, mar sin, gur liom í an Ghaeilge? Caidé faoin Spáinnis… labhraim Spáinnis go maith, an liom í an Spáinnis? Níl, mar ní chaithim mo shaol fríd mheán na Spáinnise. Dá gcaithfinn mo shaol i Spáinnis, an mbeadh liom í? B’fhéidir. Ach nach bhfuil sé suimiúil go bhfuil cúis difriúil agam maidir leis an Spáinnis ná atá agam leis an Ghaeilge? Leis an Ghaeilge, is ceist féiniúlachta í. Leis an Spáinnis, is ceist úsáide í. Cad chuige? Mar is ábhar mór é an féiniúlacht leis an Ghaeilge… tuigtear rud éigin fút má labhraíonn tú Gaeilge, agus níl mé in ann é a chur i bhfocail faoi láthair, ach beidh mé ag coinneáil mo shúile air.

Tharla rud suimiúil domh nuair a bhí muid i dTír Chonaill… nuair a bhí mé ag caint le duine i dteach tábhairne, d’inis sé domh go raibh blas Meiriceánach ar mo chuid Gaeilge. Ag an am sin, bhí an-díomá orm é sin a chluinstin… bhí mé ag iarraidh blas Thír Chonaill ar mo chuid Gaeilge, agus i gceann 30 soicind, bhí a fhios ag an duine seo gur Meiriceánach mé ón bhlas a bhí agam. Nuair a luaigh mé é seo do Jonathan agus do Mhaitiú, dúirt Maitiú rud iontach domh. Dúirt sé nach gcóir náire a bheith orm fá dtaobh de bhlas Meiriceánach… is Meiriceánach mé! Ba chóir domh bheith bródúil as mo dhuchas, go háirithe mar chainteoir Ghaeilge. Anois, aointaim leis sin (cé nach bhfuil mé róshasta le mo chuid Gaeilge faoi láthair), ach fós ní mhothaím gur liom í an Ghaeilge mar mothaím gur cuairteoir mé in Éirinn, go bunúsach, agus ní féidir cuairteoir gné cultúir a ghlacadh suas chomh furasta ná dúchasach na hÉireann.

Mar sin, beidh le feiceáil an liom í an Ghaeilge, nó an mbeidh liom í le níos mó ama caite isteach uirthi. Coinneoidh mé intinn foscailte fá dtaobh de, agus le cuidiú Dé beidh mé níos compordaí a rá gur liom í lá éigin.

Oíche mhaith,

Amanda

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Deep thoughts ahead folks, be prepared! 🙂

A friend put this question to me recently, and I think it’s a really interesting question… is Irish your language? Do you believe that you’re an Irish speaker?

Well, I do believe that I’m an Irish speaker, for sure, even though I’m not as fluent as I’d like to be. But is Irish mine? Not yet, I’d say. But why? For one thing, I’m not fluent in Irish yet… maybe when I’m better in Irish and I can use it at will, I’ll be more comfortable to say that it’s mine.

But there’s another thing there… I’m not Irish. Can I ever say, therefore, that Irish is my language? What about Spanish… I speak Spanish pretty well, is it mine? No, because I don’t live my life through Spanish. If I were to spend my life in Spanish, would it be mine? Maybe. But isn’t it interesting that I have a different reason for Spanish than I do for Irish? With Irish, it’s a question of identity. With Spanish, it’s a question of use. Why? Because identity is a big issue with Irish… a certain thing is understood about you if you speak Irish, but I’m not able to put that thing into words just yet… I’ll keep my eye out for it.

An interesting thing happened to me when we were in Donegal… when I was chatting with somebody in a pub in Irish, he told me that I had an American flavor to my Irish. At that time, I was really disappointed to hear that… I was wanting to speak Irish with a Donegal accent, and in 30 seconds this guy knew that I was an American from the accent I had speaking Irish. When I mentioned this to Jonathan and Maitiú, Maitiú said something wonderful to me. He said that I shouldn’t be ashamed of an American accent… I’m an American! I should be proud of my heritage, especially because I’m an Irish speaker. Now I agree with that (even though I’m not too happy with my Irish at the moment), but I still don’t feel like Irish is my language, because essentially I feel like I am a visitor in Ireland, and a visitor can’t adopt a cultural element as easily as a native of Ireland.

And so it remains to be seen whether Irish is my language, or if it will be with more time spent on it. I’ll keep an open mind about it, and hopefully I’ll be more comfortable saying it is mine some day.

G’night,

Amanda

An Chéad Lá…. First Day

B’inniu ár gcéad lá sa chúrsa MA! Oh boy… bhí sé go hiontach a bheith ag labhairt an Ghaeilge agus á cluinstin arís, ach caithfidh mé é a rá, tá mé iontach neirbhíseach fán chaighdeán Ghaeilge a bheith i gceist sa chúrsa seo! Tá a fhios agam go mbeidh muid i gceart i gceann tamaill, ach fá láthair, i ndiaidh a bheith ag éisteacht leis na hollúna agus na mic léinn eile, tá a fhios agam go mbeidh muid báite ar feadh tamaill, cinnte. Ach, bhí sé beartaithe againn, nach raibh? Bhí a fhios againn an obair a mbeadh le déanamh againn sa chúrsa seo… buaileann sé orainn anois, sin an méid.

Níor thosaigh na ranganna inniu, ach bhí cur i láthair ag an chinnire Roinn Gaeilge, Gearóid Denvir, fán chúrsa agus na ranganna a bheith i gceist, agus rinne achan ollamh sa Roinn Gaeilge cur i láthair ar a ranganna féin. D’fhoghlaim muid faoi na modúil a bheas ar siúl i mbliana agus na roghanna atá againn maidir leo. Tá sceitimíní orm fán chúrsa Sochtheangeolaíocht, an Chanúineolaíocht, agus cúrsa le Lillis Ó Laoire faoi scéalaíocht agus amhránaíocht. In éindí leo sin, beidh cúrsa teanga ar siúl 3 uaire a chloig achan seachtain, agus an tráchtas ag deireadh na bliana.

Bhí sé suimiúil ar fad na canúna difríochta a chluinstin. Tá dúil againne ar an chainúint Thír Chonaill, tá a fhios agaibh, agus bhí sé go hiontach a bheith ag éisteacht le Lillis (fear Thír Chonaill atá ann) i ndiaidh na Connachtaigh agus na Muimhnigh a bhí ann. Caithfidh muid a bheith cleachta leis an chainúint Chonnachtach, gan amhras, agus tá áthas orm a rá nach raibh barraíocht deacrachta againn formhór na gcainteoirí a thuigbhéail (seachas ollamh amháin… bhí sé doiligh ar fad a thuiscint dúinn agus beidh sé ina ollamh againn don chúrsa teanga… eek!).

Anois… níl neart againn air ach ár ndícheall a dhéanamh, agus a bheith ag obair iontach dian air. Agus rud amháin atá muid iontach buíoch de ná tá muid anseo le chéile, agus tabharfaidh muid tacaíocht dona chéile an rud deacair seo a dhéanamh. Mar a deir Lillis: As a chéile a nithear na caisleáin.

Oíche mhaith,

Amanda

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Today was our first day of the MA! Oh boy… it was wonderful to be speaking and listening to Irish again, but I must say, I am really nervous about the level of Irish in question in this program! I know we’ll be fine in a while, but at the moment, after listening to all the professors and other students on the program, I know that we’ll be drowning for quite a while. But we planned for that, didn’t we? We knew the work we’d have to do in this program…. it’s just hitting us now, that’s all.

The classes themselves didn’t start today, but the head of the Irish Department made a presentation on the program and the modules that are offered, and each professor made a presentation of his own classes. We learned about the modules that will be on this year and the choices that we have regarding them. I’m excited about the Sociolinguistics course, the Dialect Studies course, and a course taught by Lillis Ó Laoire about story and song traditions. Along with those, we’ll be doing a language course for 3 hours each week, and the thesis at the end of the year.

It was very interesting to hear the different dialects being spoken. We are particularly attracted to the Donegal dialect, as you know, and it was great to listen to Lillis (a Donegal man) after all the Connemara and Munster folks who were there. We have to get used to the Connemara dialect, no doubt, and I am happy to say that I didn’t have too much difficulty understanding the majority of the speakers (except for one professor… he was really difficult for us to understand and he’ll be teaching the language class… eek!).

So… really, the only thing we can do is to do our best, and to be working really hard. And one thing we’re really grateful for is that we have each other, and that we’ll be supporting each other through this difficult period. A lovely seanfhocal (idiom) that Lillis says translates to: castles are made together.

Good night,

Amanda

Turas go Baile Átha Cliath — Trip to Dublin

Haighea a chairde,

Tá muid i ndiaidh pilleadh ó Bhaile Átha Cliath, cúpla lá a chaitheamh ar treoshuíomh Fulbright. Chuir siad treoshuíomh iontach le chéile dúinn, agus ba mheascán maith é idir a bheith ag foghlaim, ag bualadh le daoine suimiúla eile, agus ag baint suilt as an chathair agus an cheantar máguaird. D’fhoghlaim muid neart rudaí faoi Fulbright, coras oideachais na hÉireann, polaitaíocht na hÉireann, agus cúrsaí nuachta, agus bhí cúpla turas iontach againn faoin Éirí Amach 1916, faoi Cnoc na Teamhrach, agus faoi Chaisleán Bhaile Atha Troim. Bhí sé go hálainn bualadh leis an fhoireann Fulbright agus leis na daoine eile atá ar Fulbright i mbliana, agus a bheith ag caint leo faoina dtionscadail agus a gcuid taighde.

 

Mise agus Jonathan ag Caisleán Baile Átha Triom (Me and Jonathan at Trim Castle)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jonathan agus Fulbrighters eile ar bhalla an Chaisleáin (Jonathan and other Fulbrighters on a wall of the castle)

 

Níor thaitin Baile Átha Cliath liom go mór mar chathair go dtí seo, ach tuigim níos fearr anois an tarraingteacht atá aici do dhaoine. Cé go bhfuil sé i bhfad rómhór domhsa mar bhaile (níor mhaith liomsa bheith i mo chónaí ansin), tchím go bhfuil an t-uafás staire, cultúir, agus rudaí le déanamh ansin. Thiocfadh leat do shaol iomlán a chaitheamh ansin, agus ní bheadh achan rud feicthe agat. Bhain muid sult as ár mbealach a dhéanamh thart fán chathair, agus ní bheith imní orainn dul ar ais arís, anois go bhfuil aithne níos fearr againn uirthi.

Shannon agus Dave Chance, ar gcairde ar an turas Fulbright a thug leaba dúinn ionas go raibh muid ábalta oíche eile a chaitheamh sa chathair (Shannon and Dave Chance, friends on the Fulbright tour who let us stay with them so we could spend another night in the city)

An Chathair Baile Átha Cliath, tráthnóna Dé Sathairn

 

 

Rud aisteach a tharla dúinn agus muid ansin i mBaile Átha Cliath ná thosaigh muid Dún na nGall a chronú go mór. B’fhéidir mar tá difríocht ollmhór idir BÁC agus an Bun Beag… níl a fhios agam, ach bhí muid a iarraidh pilleadh go Dún na nGall, go dtí an Ghaeltacht arís. Beidh muid ansin gan mhoill, is dócha, ach bhí sé suimiúil gur tháinig an mothú ceanna sin ar an bheirt againn ag an am ceanna, nach bhfuil?

Agus anois, tá muid ar ais inár n-árasán i nGaillimh (agus tá cuma iontach beag ar an chathair seo anois!). Beidh cluiche iománaíocht ar siúl ar tráthnóna, agus gheobhaidh muid suíochán i dteach tábhairne chun é a amharc. Le cuidiú Dé, bainfidh Gaillimh an corn sa chraobhchluiche seo… beidh le feiceáil!

Slán go fóill,

Amanda

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Hey folks,

We’ve just returned from Dublin after spending a few days there on the Fulbright orientation. They put together a brilliant orientation for us, and there was a great mix of learning, meeting other people, and enjoying the city and the surrounding area. We learned a lot about Fulbright, the education system in Ireland, politics in Ireland, and news events, and we also went on some great tours of the Easter Uprising, the Hill of Tara, and Trim Castle. It was wonderful to meet the Fulbright staff and the other Fulbrighters, and to chat with them about their various projects and research ideas.

I’ve never really enjoyed Dublin as a city until now, but I can understand better now the appeal it has for some people. Even though it’s too big for a home for me (I wouldn’t like to live there, anyway), I see the huge amount of history, culture, and things to do that are there. Somebody could live their entire life there and they wouldn’t have seen everything there is to see. We enjoyed making our way around the city, and now we wouldn’t be nervous to go back because we know our way around it a bit.

A strange thing that happened to us while we were in Dublin was that we both started to really miss Donegal. Maybe because there’s such a huge difference between Dublin and Bunbeg… I dunno, but we were really wanting to return to Donegal and the Gaeltacht again. We’ll be there soon enough, I suppose, but it was interesting that the same feeling came on us at the same time, isn’t it?

And now, we’re back in our apartment in Galway (which feels really small as a city now!). There’s a hurling game on this evening, and we’re going to get a seat in a pub to watch it. Hopefully, Galway will win the cup in this championship game… we’ll see!

All the best,

Amanda

Tá Idirlíon Againn! We Have Internet!

Haighea a chairde,

Seo píosa beag le rá go bhfuil idirlíon inár n-árasán anois, agus mar sin beidh muid in ann a bheith ar fáil níós mó, agus in ann níos mó rudaí a dhéanamh leis an bhlag seo. Mar shampla, seo cúpla pictiúr duit!

Image

Sin muid ar an Earagail i nGaoth Dobhair

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An seaneaglais alainn ar an Ghleann Neimhe, Gaoth Dobhair

Tá muid ag dul go Baile Átha Cliath inniu, fá choinne an treoshuíomh Fulbright. Ní chuirfear mórán ar seo go dtí an deireadh seachtaine, mar sin. Bainigí sult as an lá!

Le grá,

Amanda

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Hey y’all!

This is just a quick note to let you know that we have internet in our apartment, yay! We’ll now be able to be much more available and able to do much more with this blog (for example, see the fun pictures above!).

We’re heading to Dublin today for the Fulbright orientation, so there won’t be much on here until the weekend. Have a great day!

With love,

Amanda

An Náire vs. An Grá — Shame vs. Love

Tá muid i nGaillimh le chóir a bheith seachtaine anuas, agus de réir a chéile, tá muid ag éirí cleachta leis an tsaol anseo. Tá ár n-árasán níos compordaí anois, tá muid ag foghlaim cá háit a bhfuil na siopaí maithe, agus (buíochas le Dia!) tá an ghrian amuigh inniu!

In éindí leis sin, tá muid ag cruthú ár “ngréasán Gaeilge” go mall. Bhuail muid le cúpla fear ag an ollscoil a bhfuil Gaeilge acu, ó Éirinn agus ó Meiriceá fosta.  Bhí comhrá suimiúil againn inniu, agus muid ag caint fán Ghaeilge sa chathair seo le Gaeilgeoir amháin as Meiriceá. Dúirt sé gur fearr leis rud éigin a rá i nGaeilge ar dtús le daoine, agus is cuma leis an bhfuil Gaeilge acu nó nach bhfuil. Ní mhothaíonn sé go dona fán míchompord a chuireann sé seo ar dhaoine… i ndáiríre, is maith leis an míchompord a chur ar dhaoine maidir leis an Ghaeilge mar, dar leis, ba chóir dóibh a bheith meabhrach go bhfuil daoine ann a bhfuil an Ghaeilge iontach tábhachtach dóibh, agus ba chóir beagán náire a bheith orthu nach bhfuil Gaeilge rómhaith acu, mar is Éireannaigh siad.

Tá an dearcadh seo iontach suimiúil domh, mar mothaímse go bhfuil stádas na Gaeilge iontach tábhachtach agus go gcaithfidh sé a bheith labhartha ag daoine le maireachtáil. Agus, caithfidh mé a rá, tá sé sáraitheach domh nach bhfuil níos mó fonn ag na hÉireannaigh an teanga a choinneáil beo. Níl ann ach teanga a bheith labhartha ag pobal mór le bheith cinnte go maireann sé, ach ní labhraítear an teanga seo rómhinic, faraor.  Cad chuige? Bhuel, teoiric amháin atá ann ná ní bhíonn daoine ag labhairt na teanga mar tá náire orthu nach bhfuil a gcuid Gaeilge rómhaith, cé go raibh blianta caite acu á foghlaim. Agus mar gheall ar sin, níl fonn ar bith orthu í a labhairt, mar tá droch-chaidreamh acu léi, agus níl an teanga go maith acu. Dá bhrí sin, cén mhaith atá ar náire a chur ar dhaoine faoina gcumas leis an teanga, chun an teanga a chur chun cinn?

Níl an náire chomh chumhachtach ná an grá, dar liom. Má tá náire ort fá rud éigin, seans go mbeidh fonn ort rud a dhéanamh chun do chas a athrú, ach ní bheith mórán fonn ort do chroí a chur isteach ann. Tá sé cosúil leis an aclaíocht… má tá náire ort faoi do chorp, b’fhéidir tosóidh tú ag rith chun meáchan a chailleadh, ach ní bheadh tú ag iarraidh a bheith ag rith rómhinic. Ach má tá grá agat ar rud, déanfaidh tú é chomh mhinic agus is féidir leat, agus déanfaidh tú do dhícheall ar son an rud sin. Arís, leis an rith… má tá grá agat a bheith a rith, rithfidh tú, agus molfaidh tú do dhaoine gur chóir dóibh triail a bhaint as, fosta.

Cad é mar a bhaineann an t-ábhar seo leis an Ghaeilge? Tá barraíocht náire ar dhaoine in Éirinn fán Ghaeilge, dar liom, agus dá bharr sin, níl mórán fonn orthu í a fhoghlaim nó í a mhúineadh do dhaoine eile. Tá stáir iontach fada a bhaineann leis seo, ach go bunúsach, ba theanga na boicht í an Ghaeilge, agus phionósaítí daoine a d’úsáideadh an teanga… agus fanann an steiréitíopa sin leis an phobal go dtí an lá atá inniu ann. Fáth eile atá ann ná tá an teanga riachtanach sna scoileanna mar ábhar scoile, ach ní múintear rómhaith í. Mura mbeadh an Ghaeilge riachtanach sna scoileanna, cad é a tharlódh? Níl a fhios agam, ach tá rud iontach suimiúil ar siúl anois sa Tuaisceart agus tá slua mór daoine ag foghlaim na Gaeilge (agus níl siad á foghlaim ar scoil). Cad é a deir sin? Thiocfadh leat a rá go ndeir sé go bhfuil daoine sa Tuaisceart ag baint níos mó suilt as an Ghaeilge a fhoghlaim (gan an droch-chaidreamh atá ag daoine sa Deisceart leis an teanga). Tá siad á foghlaim mar tá grá agus suim acu ar an teanga, agus b’fhéidir go mairfidh an teanga níos fearr sa Tuaisceart i gceann tríocha nó ceathracha bliain, dá bhrí sin?

Beidh le feiceáil, cinnte, ach anois, cad é a dhéanfaidh mise ar son na Gaeilge? Labhróidh mé í le achan duine agus is féidir liom, cinnte, ach sílim go ndéanfaidh mé iarracht gan náire a chur ar dhaoine, agus déanfaidh mé mo dhícheall grá a thabhairt do dhaoine ar an teanga ina áit. Cén tslí a úsáidfidh mé leis sin a dhéanamh?  Barúil ar bith… sin an fáth a bhfuil mé anseo!

Le meas,

Amanda

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We’ve now been in Galway for almost a week and bit by bit we’re getting used to life here. Our apartment is more comfortable now, we’re learning where the good shops are, and (thank goodness!) the sun is out today!

Along with that, we’re slowly  creating our “Irish language network.” We’ve met with a couple of guys at the university who speak Irish, both from Ireland and from America. We had an interesting conversation today with an Irish speaker from America about Irish in this city. He said that he prefers to say something in Irish first off with people, and he doesn’t care if they speak Irish or don’t. He doesn’t feel that the discomfort this puts people in is a bad thing… in fact, he likes to make people uncomfortable with regards to Irish because, according to him, people should be aware that there are people out there for whom Irish is very important, and they should be ashamed that their Irish isn’t very good, since they ARE Irish, after all.

This outlook is very interesting to me, since I feel that the status of Irish is very important and that it has to be spoken by people to survive. And, I have to say, it’s frustrating to me that the Irish don’t have much drive to keep the language alive. A language just has to be spoken by a large population to be certain that it survives, but this language isn’t spoken all that often, unfortunately. Why? Well, one theory is that people don’t speak the language because they are ashamed that they don’t speak it very well, even though they had years of it in school. And with regards to that, there’s no wish to speak it, because they have a bad relationship with it, and they don’t speak it very well. With this in mind, what good is it to make people ashamed of their ability in the language, in order to progress the language?

Shame is not as powerful as love, I think. If you are ashamed of something, maybe you’ll do something to change your lot, but you won’t really want to put your heart into it. It’s like with exercise… if you’re ashamed of your body, you might start to run in order to lose weight, but you won’t really want to be running all that often. But if you love something, you’ll do it as often as possible, and you’ll do your utmost on behalf of that thing. Again, with running… if you love running, you will run, and you’ll suggest to other people that perhaps they should try it as well.

How does this concern Irish?  The Irish are too ashamed of Irish language, I think, and because of that they don’t really want to learn it or teach it to others. There’s a very long history with this subject but basically, Irish was the language of the poor, and people use to be punished who used the language… and this stereotype stays with people still. Another reason is that the language is mandatory in schools as a school subject, but it isn’t taught all that well. If it weren’t mandatory in the schools, what would happen? I don’t know, but something very interesting is happening in Northern Ireland right now and a great many  people are learning Irish (and they’re not learning it in school). What does that say? You could say that it says people in the North are enjoying learning Irish more (without the bad relationship that people in the South have with the language). They’re learning it because they love it and have an interest in it, and perhaps the language will survive better in Northern Ireland in 30 or 40 years, because of that ?

We will see, certainly, but for now, what will I do on behalf of Irish? I will speak it with every person I can, certainly, but I think that I will try to not make people feel ashamed, but I’ll do my best to create and spread love for the language in the place of shame. What way will I use to do this? No clue… that’s why I’m here!

All the best,

Amanda

Tacos Dóite agus ag Lonnú Istigh… Burnt Tacos and Settling In

Tá muid i ndiaidh bogadh isteach inár n-árasán i nGaillimh anois, agus cé go bhfuil muid sona sásta a bheith anseo i nGaillimh i ndiaidh na hoibre deacra a bhí déanta againn i nDún na nGall, bhí cúpla lá deacair againn, agus tá muid ag foghlaim go nglacfaidh sé tréimhse a bheith lonnaithe anseo go hiomlán.

Ar dtús báire, fuair ceallra an chairr bás, agus anois níl sé ag obair ar chor ar bith, fiú le brú láidir sa charrchlós. Bhí cúpla fadhb againn leis an cheallra i nDún na nGall, ach bhí achan rud réidh chun imeacht agus teacht go Gaillimh, agus dá bharr sin tháinig muid ar aon nós (d’oibrigh sé chun teacht anseo ar a laghad!), ach an chéad lá eile bhí sé marbh. Tá muid ag fanacht leis an fhear a dhíol an carr dúinn, agus cuirfidh sé ceallra úr isteach (mar chuir sé an ceann seo isteach sular cheannaigh muid an charr, dar leis). Cén lá? Níl a fhios againn… ach ar a laghad, tá muid anseo i nGaillimh agus, mar a shíl muid, tá muid ag baint neart suilt as a bheith ábalta siúl ó áit go háit, agus achan rud a dhéanamh gan charr más féidir. Ach tá súil agam go bhfuil sé deisithe go luath!

Seo an chéad uair a bhí árasán ar cíos ag Jonathan nó mé féin le troscán, agus mothaíonn sé don bheirt againn mar atá muid ag tabhairt aire do theach ar son na úinéirí. Is breá linn an árasán é féin… ach níl muid cleachta go fóill leis, agus cuireann neart rudaí isteach orainn fá dtaobh de faoi láthair.

(Má tá tú ag iarraidh físeán beag a fheiceáil don árasán atá againn, seo duit: 100_0123.MP4 )

Bhí “comedy of errors” againn aréir. Tháinig muid ar ais go dtí an t-árasán, stiúgtha i ndiaidh lá fada ag siúl ó áit go háit ag bailiú rudaí don árasán chomh saor agus b’fhéidir linn (is breá liom Penneys!!), agus thosaigh mé ag cócaireacht ár ndinnéar (tacos éisc agus brocailí). Níl muid chomh cleachta leis an chistin atá againn go fóill, agus tá cúpla rud nach n-oibreann rómhaith inti. Chuir mé na tacos isteach sa sorn ar feadh 5-7 bomaite, ionas go mbeadh siad té. Bhuel, bhí siad dóite go dubh agus bhí orm iad a chaitheamh amach as an doras, an deatach a choinneáil amuigh! Ach bhí an brocailí ar an sornchoire ar feadh 45 bomaite agus ní raibh an uisce bruite go fóill… aisteach ar fad. Bhris Jonathan cúpla babhla ar an urlár, agus bhris sé bulba solais úr nuair a bhí sé á chur isteach i lampa marbh. Ghrátáil mé mo mhéar go dona, ach bhí bréideanna ceannaithe againn, go buíoch, agus bhí mé ábalta ceann a chur ar mo mhéar sula raibh fuil ar an dinnéar dóite…  Buíochas le Dia don Ben & Jerry’s a cheannaigh muid inne, fosta, mar bhia sólás!

Ach inniu, bhí an chéad seans againn dul go dtí an margadh a bhíonn ar siúl achan Sathairn i lár na cathrach, agus bhí sé go hiontach! Bhí stallaí glasraí, stallaí torthaí, stallaí le ealaíon agus éadaí agus seodra, agus bhí áthas an domhain orm a bheith ag siúl timpeall an mhargadh ag féachaint ar na hearraí orgánacha agus lámhdhéanta. Fuair muid mála mór rudaí, agus mar a mhol Maitiú agus Maeve dúinn, rachaidh muid ansin achan seachtaine, ár gcuid siopadóireacht a dhéanamh.

Agus sin an cleas, nach é? Caithfidh muid ár saol a chruthú tharainn anseo, a bheith compordach leis. Caithfidh muid nósanna a dhéanamh a bhaineann leis an chathair agus an cheantar, a bheith cleachta leis na áiseanna atá ar fáil dúinn. Caithfidh muid cairde a dhéanamh (fríd an cheol, an Ghaeilge, agus an choláiste), chun a bheith inár mball den phobal anseo. Agus caithfidh muid a bheith foighneach lenár féin, mar ní tharlaíonn na rudaí seo thar oíche. Tá mé ag súil go mór leis an phróiseas.

Ádh mór oraibh,

Amanda

We have now moved into our apartment in Galway, and although we’re really happy to be here in Galway after all the hard work we did in Donegal, we’ve had a couple of rough days, and we’re learning that it will take some time to be completely settled in here.

Firstly, the car’s battery died, and now it isn’t working at all, even with a hearty push in the parking lot. We’d had a couple of problems with the battery in Donegal, but everything was all ready for leaving and coming to Galway, and so we came anyway (it did work to get us here, at least!), but the next day it was dead. We’re now waiting for the man who sold us the car to put in a new battery (since according to him he put in a new one before we bought the thing). What day? No idea… but at least we are here in Galway and, as we thought we would, we are thoroughly enjoying being able to walk everywhere and do everything without the car, if possible. But I do hope it’s fixed soon!

This is the first time Jonathan or I have rented an apartment furnished, and it feels to both of us as if we are house-sitting for the owners. We really like the apartment itself… but we’re not used to it yet, and a whole bunch of things are annoying us about it at the moment.

(If you want to see a small video of our apartment, take a look here: 100_0123.MP4)

We had a “comedy of errors” last night. We came back to the apartment, starved after a long day of walking from place to place collecting supplies for the apartment as cheaply as possible (I love Penneys!!), and I started to make our dinner (fish tacos and broccoli). We’re not really used to the kitchen yet, and a couple of things don’t work all that well in it. I put the taco shells in the oven for about 5-7 minutes, so that they’d be warm. Well, they were burnt to a black crisp and I had to toss them out the door to keep the smoke outside! However, the broccoli was on the range for a full 45 minutes and the water wasn’t even boiled yet… very strange. Jonathan broke a couple of bowls on the floor, and he broke a light bulb that he was putting into a dead lamp. I grated my finger very badly, but we had bought bandages thankfully, and I was able to put one on my finger before I got blood all over the burnt dinner…  Thank heavens for Ben & Jerry’s which we also bought yesterday, as comfort food!

But today, we had our first chance to go to the Market that’s on every Saturday in the centre of the city, and it was great! There were vegetable stalls, fruit stalls, stalls with art and clothes and jewellery, and I was so happy to be walking around the market looking at the organic and handmade goods. We got a big bag of stuff, and as Maitiú and Maeve suggested, we are going to go there every week to do our shopping.

And that’s the trick, isn’t it? We have to create our live here around us, to be comfortable with it. We need to make habits that concern the city and the area, to get used to the facilities that are available to us. We have to make friends (through music, Gaeilge, and the college) to be members of the community here. And we also have to be patient with ourselves, because these things don’t happen overnight. I’m looking forward to the process.

All the best,

Amanda