Ar Ábhar na mBratacha / On the Subject of Flags

B’fhéidir go bhfuil a fhios ag daoine cheana féin, ach ar eagla na heagla, ba mhaith liom an t-eolas seo a roinnt libh fán choinspóid atá ar siúl i mBéal Feirste le déanaí… ní fhaca muid aon agóidí nuair a bhí muid thuas ansin, buíochas le Dia, ach is dealraimh go bhfuil teannas i láthair sa chathair, cinnte.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-20651163

Ní as an Tuaisceart mé agus, dá bharr sin, níl taithí agam leis na trioblóidí nó na cathuithe troma atá lárnach i mBéal Feirste go dtí an lá atá inniu ann. B’fhéidir nach chóir domh mo bhreithiúnas a thabhairt ar an ábhar seo, ach ó mo dheirceadh féin agus ó mo thaithí teoranta an domhain, nuair a amharcaim ar na hagóidí seo, cuireann sé an-fhearg orm agus bím ag iarraidh na daoine seo a chroitheadh agus a rá ‘cad é faoi Dhia atá sibh ag déanamh?! Cad chuige a bhfuil tú ag cruthú an oiread míshuaimhnis sin, nuair atá daoine ag iarraidh a bheith ag maireachtáil sa síocháin amháin? Nach féidir libh bhur ndifríochtaí agus bhur bhfuath a chur ar taobh agus a bheith ag obair le chéile?’ Ach ansin, is cuimhin liom nach raibh Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta ach 15 bliana ó shin… is dháth ar bith an méid ama sin do dhaoine a chaith blianta agus blianta le mímhuinín, foiréigean, fuath, agus eagla ina gcuid saolta. Tá súil as agam go mbeidh na glúine níos sine ag teacht ar bhealach le bheith ag obair le chéile ar son na nglúine níos óige, daoine atá ag iarraidh a bheith beo go síochánta le chéile le fírinne, is dealraimh, agus go mbeidh siad uilig ábalta na mothúcháin eagla a chur ar taobh chun an sprioc sin a bhaint amach.

Ag seoladh smaointe grá agus síocháin chuaigh uilig,

Amanda

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Perhaps you all know what’s going on in Belfast lately, but just in case, I wanted to share this information with you. We didn’t see any protests when we were up there, thank goodness, but it was apparent how much tension was in the air around the city, for sure.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-20651163

I’m not from Northern Ireland so I don’t come from the heavy turmoil and historical conflict that is so prevalent in Belfast to this day. But from my own perspective and somewhat limited world-experience, I can’t help but look at these protests and be very angry at the people involved, wanting to shake them and say ‘What are you doing?! Why are you creating so much unrest when what everybody wants is to live in peace?! Can’t you put the hate and differences of the past behind you and move forward together?’ But then I realize that the Good Friday Agreement and the first steps towards a peaceful living in Northern Ireland only occurred 15 years ago, which for people who had decades of mistrust, violence, hatred, and fear in their lives is nothing. I only hope that for the sake of the new generation of people who live in Belfast and the North, who seem to be truthfully wishing for a peaceful existence between all parties involved, the older generations find a way to work towards that vision and are able to put their feelings of fear aside.

Sending you all thoughts of love and peace,

Amanda

Ar ais sa scoil agus Béal Feirste / Back to school and Belfast

A chairde,

Tá muid ar ais ag freastal ar na cúrsaí, agus tá muid ag baint suilt as a bheith sna ranganna arís. Bhí sé go hiontach na daoine eile ar an chúrsa a fheiceáil arís, fosta, agus a bheith ag cogaint na mine sa chaifé in Aras na Gaeilge. Is áit iontach tábhachtach í an caifé sin, ní hamháin mar atá caifé agus bia ann leis an ocras/tart a chosc le linn an lae, ach mar gheall ar an chaint a tharlaíonn idir na ranganna agus an cleachtadh a fhaigheann daoine ansin a bheith ag labhairt i nGaeilge le cainteoirí eile. Tá sé iontach luachmhar agus tá muid ag brath níos mó ama a chaitheamh ansin i rith an tseimeastair seo, chun snas a chur ar ár gcuid Gaeilge labhartha.

Bhí seans againn dul ag siúl sna sléibhte lenár gcara Conor cúpla deireadh seachtaine ó shin, sa Pháirc Náisiúnta Chonamara… tchí ar na pictiúirí seo, ón lá gálanta sin!

Muid le Conor / Us with Conor

Muid le Conor / Us with Conor

Muidne / Us

Muidne / Us

Radharc álainn ón bharr / Beautiful view from the top

Radharc álainn ón bharr / Beautiful view from the top

Ar bharr an domhain!  On top of the world!

Ar bharr an domhain! On top of the world!

Radharc álainn ón bharr / Beautiful view from the top

Radharc álainn ón bharr / Beautiful view from the top

Radharc álainn ón bharr / Beautiful view from the top

Radharc álainn ón bharr / Beautiful view from the top

Bhí an-áthas orainn a bheith mar óstaigh do chúpla cara dár gcuid, Naka agus Sasha. D’fhan Naka linn ar feadh cúpla lá agus bhí an-spraoi agus an-cheol againn léi. Bhuail muid le cúpla ceolteoir iontach fríd Naka, fosta, agus bhain muid an-sult as a gcuid ceoil agus a gcomhairle. An tseachtain seo caite, bhí seans againn dul chuig seisiún iontach i mBaile Átha an Rí, agus bhí muid inár suí go dtí a 2:30, ag seinm. Tá muid ag foghlaim gur fearr linn na seisiúin ciúine, atá níos moille agus gan slua mór sa teach tabhairne… tá sé deas a bheith ag bualadh le ceoltóirí eile a bhfuil an suim chéanna acu! Nuair a d’fhan Sasha linn seachtain ina dhiaidh sin, bhí sé go hiontach a bheith ag caint léi arís agus bhí muid inár suí go mall san oíche.

An deireadh seachtaine seo caite, bhí seans agam dul ar thuras Fulbright go Béal Feirste, agus turas iontach a bhí ann! Chonaic muid Stormont, an Halla Cathrach, Leabharlann Linen Hall, na múrealaíní ar na bhallaí sa chathair, an Crumlin Road Gaol, agus neart rudaí eile. Phacáil siad neart rudaí isteach sa dá lá agus bhain mé an-sult as an eachtra.

Turas Fulbright ag Stormont i mBéal Feirste / Fulbright trip at Stormont in Belfast

Turas Fulbright ag Stormont i mBéal Feirste / Fulbright trip at Stormont in Belfast

I dteannta leis sin, bhí deis agam bualadh leis an Iontaobhas Ultach agus le scoláire PhD ag Ollscoil na Banríona, faoi smaointí atá agam fá mo thrachtas (tá an t-am sin ag teacht! EEK!). Tá sé ar intinn agam rud éigin a scríobh fán Ghaeilge sa Tuaisceart sa lá atá inniu ann, agus go háirithe fá na hidé-eolaíochtaí atá ag cainteoirí na Gaeilge taobh amuigh agus taobh istigh den Tuaisceart fán Ghaeilge ansin. Is minic a chluinim daoine ag rá go bhfuil an Ghaeilge níos sláintiúla sa Tuaisceart ná atá sí sa Deisceart… níl sé sin fíor, de réir na n-uimhreacha, ach cad chuige a bhfuil an tuiscint sin ann? Ar scór ar bith, deireadh seachtaine iontach a bhí ann agus tá mé iontach buíoch don Choimisiún Fulbright as é a ullmhú.

Go dtí an staidéar anois! Slán libh!

Amanda

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Dear friends,

We’re back attending our course, and we’re really enjoying being in classes again. It was wonderful to see the other people on our program again as well, and to be chatting in Áras na Gaeilge. That café is a really important place, not only because it supplies much needed food and drink to the weary students throughout the day, but it also provides a wonderful opportunity for students to be speaking Irish with other speakers. It’s a very valuable thing and we’re planning on spending much more time there during this semester, to polish up our Irish speech skills.

We had a chance to go hiking with our friend Conor in the Connemara National Park… take a look at these pictures from that gorgeous day!

Muid le Conor / Us with Conor

Muid le Conor / Us with Conor

Muidne / Us

Muidne / Us

Radharc álainn ón bharr / Beautiful view from the top

Radharc álainn ón bharr / Beautiful view from the top

Ar bharr an domhain!  On top of the world!

Ar bharr an domhain! On top of the world!

Radharc álainn ón bharr / Beautiful view from the top

Radharc álainn ón bharr / Beautiful view from the top

Radharc álainn ón bharr / Beautiful view from the top

Radharc álainn ón bharr / Beautiful view from the top

We were delighted to be hosts to a couple of our friends, Naka and Sasha (who came on separate trips). Naka stayed with us for a couple of days and we had loads of fun and great music with her. We also met a couple of other musicians through Naka, and we really enjoyed their music and company. We had the chance to go to a rocking session in Athenry with said new musician friends the weekend before last, and we stayed up till about 2:30am playing tunes. We’re learning that we really prefer quiet, somewhat slower sessions without a huge crowd in the pub… it’s really nice to meet other musicians who have the same interests! When Sasha stayed with us the next week, it was wonderful to have a chance to talk with her again and we stayed up quite late at night, catching up.

This past weekend, I had the chance to go on a Fulbright trip to Belfast, and what a wonderful trip it was! We visited Stormont, the City Hall, the Linen Hall Library, the Crumlin Road Gaol, saw the wall murals around the city, had great tour guides, and saw lots more. A lot was packed into 2 days and I really enjoyed the experience.

Turas Fulbright ag Stormont i mBéal Feirste / Fulbright trip at Stormont in Belfast

Turas Fulbright ag Stormont i mBéal Feirste / Fulbright trip at Stormont in Belfast

Along with that, I had the opportunity to meet with Iontaobhas Ultach and a PhD student at Queens University, Belfast, to discuss some thoughts for my upcoming thesis (the time is approaching my friends, eek!!). I’m thinking about writing a thesis on Irish in Northern Ireland, and more specifically the ideologies that Irish speakers in the North and South of Ireland have about Irish in the North. I often hear people say that Irish is healthier as a language in the North than it is in the South… this is not really true, but why would people have that understanding? At any rate, the weekend was truly wonderful and I’m very grateful to the Fulbright Commission for organizing it.

Heading back to the books now. By for now!

Amanda

Lá Deireanach an Bhriste / Last Day of Break

Haighea a chairde,

Athbhliain Faoi Mhaise Daoibh! Seo an lá deireanach roimh thús an dára seimeastair, agus tá muid ag súil leis na cúrsaí le teacht. Ní bheidh mórán difríochta sna cúrsaí atá againn, ach ní bheith cúrsa Sochtheangeolaíochta ar siúl níos mó, agus beidh An Chanuineolaíocht ina áit.

Bhí Oíche Athbhliana chiúin againn… ní dhearna muid mórán ach chuaigh muid ar shiúlóid ag meán oíche agus d’amharc muid ar chúpla tinte ealaíne thart fán chathair ón droichead. Bhí sé go hálainn agus bhain muid sult as an oíche ghalánta gan a bheith i measc na n-amadán ólta sa lár.

Tá muid díreach i ndiaidh teacht ar ais ó chuairt dheas i dTrá Lí, nuair a bhuail muid lenár gcara Naka ó Massachusetts agus Paul & Dee, cairde eile i Frogmore, seanteach álainn a tógadh thart fán bhliain 1823 in aice leis an trá. Chaith muid cúpla lá deas ag siúl ar an trá agus ag léamh cois tine, in éindí le beagán ceoil. Tá muid ag críochnú na n-aistí agus cha raibh muid ábalta ár scith a ligint go hiomlán, ach bhí sé go hiontach ar scór ar bith.

Frogmore

Frogmore

Scáth ar an trá - shadow on the beach

Scáth ar an trá – shadow on the beach

An ceo ar na cnoic - mist on the mountains

An ceo ar na cnoic – mist on the mountains

20130104_102343

Inniu, tá Jonathan ag scríobh agus tá mise ag déanamh taighde ar rudaí áitiúla atá ar fáil sa cheantar. Ba bhreá linn áiteanna agus suíomhanna éagsúla a fheiceáil ar na deirí seachtaine i rith an tseimeastair seo chugainn. Is é “sprioc athbhliana” amháin atá againn ná dul amach níos minice agus níos mó a fheiceáil sa tír seo, seachas a bheith sáite sna leabhair in árasán s’againne. Beidh muid ag díriú ar an obair, gan amhras, ach más féidir ba mhaith linn turas beag a dhéanamh achan lá ar an deireadh seachtaine. Má tá moltaí agaibh, le bhur dtoil, abair linn cad é na rudaí is fearr libh sa cheantar seo!

Maith go leor, go raibh lá deas agaibh. Tá mé ag pilleadh go dtí mo leabhar (Cith is Dealán, le ‘Máire’) agus an chocaireacht. Tá mé ag triail oidis nua, agus inniu tá mé ag déanamh ‘zucchini crisps.’ Rinne mé iarracht amháin aréir agus ba thubaiste é! Le cuidiú Dé, beidh an bhaisc seo níos fearr.

zucchini crisps

Le grá,

Amanda

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Hello, friends!

Happy New Year! Today is the last day before the beginning of our second semester, and we’re looking forward to the coming classes. There won’t be much of a difference in the courses we’re taking, though we won’t have Sociolinguistics any more and will have Dialectology in its place. Should be fun!

We had a very quiet New Year’s Eve here in Galway… we didn’t do much of anything but we went out for a walk at midnight and watched some fireworks around the city from the bridge. It was beautiful and we enjoyed the lovely night without being among drunken idiots in the center.

We’ve just come back from a nice visit in Tralee, where we met with our friend Naka from Massachusetts and some other friends Paul & Dee in Frogmore, a beautiful old house built some time around 1823, near the beach. We spent a couple of days walking on the beach and reading by the fire, along with a bit of music. We’re finishing essays from last term at the moment and weren’t able to completely relax, but it was wonderful to be there anyway.

Frogmore

Frogmore

Scáth ar an trá - shadow on the beach

Scáth ar an trá – shadow on the beach

An ceo ar na cnoic - mist on the mountains

An ceo ar na cnoic – mist on the mountains

20130104_102343

Today, Jonathan is writing and I’m doing research on local things for us to do in the area. We would love to see some local sights on the weekends throughout this coming semester. One of our ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ is to go out more and see more things in this country, rather than be stuck in books in our apartment. We’ll still be focusing on our work, of course, but if we can we’d love to do a short trip every weekend. If any of you have suggestion for things that you like to do in this area, please let us know!

All right, I hope you all have a nice day. I’m returning to my book (Cith is Dealán, by ‘Máire’) and cooking. I’m trying out a bunch of new recipes and today I’m making ‘zucchini crisps.’ I made one attempt at them last night and it was a disaster! Hopefully, this batch will be better.

zucchini crisps

All the best,

Amanda