independent

Saturday 24 August 2019

Ár dteanga – will it fade out completely or is there hope?

WHY ARE WE NEGLECTING OUR HERITAGE, ASKS KATE KAVANAGH

MANY IRISH people believe that the Irish language is continuously fading in all parts of Ireland. Well, the fact of the matter is that it is only getting stronger and stronger. Every year, more second level students venture off to the rural Gaeltacht areas of Ireland and discover the fun and adventure involved with speaking the language and making new friends.

Each year thousands of Irish youths head off into the Irish speaking areas of Ireland not knowing what they're going to encounter. Others are going back for their second, third and even fourth times. This is not only because of their love for the language but because they've met so many friends while on the courses and they want to experience it all again. The development of Irish in the youth of Ireland is completely necessary for the language to progress to the next generations.

A well known TD put forward the motion of the Irish language not being necessary anymore to study in second-level education. Yes, not everyone in the country has the passion about Irish like some people do, but if the language is made unnecessary in schools it doesn't even give the students a chance to find out whether they have a passion for the language or not.

The number of Irish clubs has increased in Ireland as well as the amount of actual summer colleges for students. This is because there has always been a demand for Irish summer language courses, but there won't be if the Irish language is made optional at second-level.

The Irish language has always been described as 'an teanga beo', which translates as the lively language. People around Ireland speak their native tongue as they love it and they're passionate about it. The Irish language also includes years of culture – Irish music, Irish dancing and sean nós singing, for example. Last year the all-Ireland music festival (Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann) was attended by more than 85,000 people in Cavan town. This proves that interest in Irish language and culture is growing daily.

Ireland's famous reputation is for its 'céad míle fáilte' – its hundred thousand welcomes. We have received this reputation from our ancestors who fought for our freedom and we should be very proud of our heritage, including Irish culture.

I set up an interview with a local girl who grew up through speaking Irish. I asked her a few questions – for example, do you find that having the Irish stands as an advantage to you? Her response was: 'Of course it does in everyday life.' I also asked her if she found it difficult to grow up speaking Irish. She said: 'Absolutely not, I was never forced to speak the language but both myself and my brothers and sisters really enjoyed it.' So this is a prime example of why the teaching of Irish should remain the same.

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