30 September 2013
Culture Minister chats her way to world record win.
Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has taken part in a world record attempt to have the longest Irish language conversation ever. The record attempt Comhrá 24/7 is being organised by Conradh na Gaeilge as part of Bliain na Gaeilge and is running until the 6th of October. One hundred and sixty eight groups are required to participate in the 24/7 conversation.
Speaking from Parliament Buildings where the Minister facilitated a conversation circle with St Dominic’s School and Cólaiste Feirste, she said: “This is an innovative way to encourage people to speak Irish and I am very happy to be part of it.
“Here at Stormont, across Belfast, throughout Ireland and indeed across the world gaeilgoiri are taking part in this fun attempt to break the world record. A non-stop interactive global conversation spanning a week like this has never taken place before in Irish.
“As a nation of talkers I’m sure we will do our best to be record-breakers and in the process we can all practice our Irish. Languages will only survive if they are spoken and that is one of the reasons I established Líofa which is a campaign to get people fluent in Irish by 2015.
“I have no doubt this week- long event will be a success and no matter what your level of Irish we will all be record breakers by midnight on the 6th of October.”
The year 2013 has been designated as Bliain na Gaeilge, Irish language year, to raise the profile of our national language and encourage us all to use our cúpla focal. The Armagh GAA Culture Committee are doing their utmost to promote the language, offering quarterly all-day courses for all levels of learners, with the last one on Saturday 9 February attracting learners from throughout Armagh, Fermanagh, Drogheda and East Belfast. The next one is planned for Saturday 11 May.
I measc na nGaeilgeoirí ar fhoireann Ard Mhacha tá an t-imreoir leis na Sáirséiligh, Mícheál Mac Stiofáin, agus tá sé ag tabhairt lántacaíochta do Bhliain na Gaeilge. “Smaoineamh iontach é Bliain na Gaeilge a chuireann i gcuimhne dúinn go bhfuil sé fíorthábhachtach ár gcuid Gaeilge a úsáid. Tá A-leibhéal agam sa Ghaeilge agus déanfaidh mé mo dhícheall an Ghaeilge a úsáid níos minice i mbliana. Mar ábhar múinteora, déanaim iarracht an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn sa seomra ranga. Thosaigh mé ag foghlaim Gaeilge agus mé i gColáiste Cholmáin agus chuaigh mé chuig Coláiste Bhríde Rann na Feiriste agus Coláiste Mhuire Loch an Iúir sa samhradh. Ní thig go leor béime a chur ar thábhacht an eispéiris a fuair mé sa Ghaeltacht, an chraic a bhí agam agus na cairde a rinne mé, agus sílim gur chóir é a chur chun cinn sna scoileanna uilig ar fud an chontae le linn Bhliain na Gaeilge.
Rinne mé Gaeilge ar scoil mar tá an teanga tábhachtach dár gcultúr agus dár bhféiniúlacht. Bhí múinteoir agam as Doire a chuir sé beocht san ábhar, nuair a thuig muid a chanúint cibé. Ní raibh mé ábalta leanúint leis an Ghaeilge ar an ollscoil agus cé go n-úsáidim cúpla focal i gColáiste Mhuire agus ar chleachtadh teagaisc, níl mé chomh líofa is a bhí. Pillfidh mé ar an Ghaeilge nuair a bheas an chéim agam nó ba mhaith liom bheith ábalta í a theagasc sna scoileanna. Ba chóir don CLG níos mó freagrachta a ghlacadh an Ghaeilge a úsáid. D’imir mé le Gaeil Chonamara i mBostún anuraidh. Cainteoirí líofa a bhí in achan imreoir agus ba í an Ghaeilge an chéad teanga ag treanáil agus ag cluichí. Chruthaigh sé atmaisféar speisialta agus mhothaigh mé gur rud nadúrtha, traidisiúnta é sin. Ba chóir dúinn uilig rud amháin a dhéanamh leis an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn, fiú amháin cúpla focal a fhoghlaim agus a úsáid i mbliana, Bliain na Gaeilge.
Amongst the Gaeilgeoirí on the Armagh team is Sarsfields man, Michael Stevenson, who fully supports Bliain na Gaeilge. “I think Bliain na Gaeilge is a great idea which reminds us of the importance of using our Irish. I learnt Irish up until A-level and I’m going to make an extra effort this year to use Irish. As a trainee teacher, I try to promote Irish among students and what better year than this to really push our national language. I began learning Irish at St. Colman’s in Newry and attended Gaeltacht colleges in Rann na Feiriste and Loch an Iúir. The importance of the Gaelteacht experience and the friends you meet shouldn’t be underestimated and I hope that it will really be promoted in schools throughout Armagh during Irish language year.
I did Irish at school because the language is important to enhance our culture and identity. We had a great teacher from Derry and he made the subject come to life, at least when we understood his accent. I wasn’t able to keep on Irish at university and although I still speak a few words in St Mary’s and on teaching practice, I no longer have the same fluency. I plan to keep up Irish when I graduate so that I will hopefully be able to teach it in schools to some extent. The GAA needs to take more responsibility to promote Irish. When playing for Connemara Gaels in Boston last summer, all the players were fluent speakers and Irish was the first language at training and matches. This created a wonderful atmosphere and brought an added dimension to our game and it felt very traditional to speak our native language while playing Gaelic. I look forward to continuing to promote Irish and hope that we all can do something, even if is just trying to pick up a few new words, during this Bliain na Gaeilge.