Irish/Gaeilge is a beautiful language. It is unique and belongs to all of us. Irish is part of our culture but it is because of colonialism that everyone in Ireland is not speaking Irish as their 1st language.
This unfortunately has created an attitude that the “Irish language is useless” as English is a business language, due to it being used in many countries. However, there is a need to keep our language alive.
Gaeltachts and Pop Up Gaeltachts are a great way to preserve the language and encourage people, especially young people, to cherish the language and speak it more often.
Many students have said that learning Irish in secondary school have turned them off the language due to the fact that some teachers have failed to engage their students resulting in it becoming more complicated.
The best way to learn a language is to speak it every day. I am of the opinion that parents should consider sending their children to Irish speaking schools, to help children become more fluent in the language which in turn will keep the language alive.
I believe my English certainly improved because I spoke it everyday and did all my subjects in English, apart from German and Irish. If students do all their subjects in Irish, then their spoken and written Irish will indeed improve.
There are options to do the Leaving Cert all in Irish, which will result in extra marks. Initiatives like this help Irish speakers and keep the language alive as there are benefits to engaging with the language.
I notice in college, there are not many bilingual signage or areas on the campus to just sit down and speak Irish, apart from on the St Pat’s campus in Drumcondra.
However, being able to speak the Irish language will improve one’s social life. There are many night outs exclusively in Irish, for Gaeilgeoirí across the country to meet up and communicate with each other, people will feel more comfortable attending these night outs, if they attend Irish speaking schools.
According to Gaeloideachas, the advantages of Irish speaking schools are: “Children can become more creative thinkers, it helps improve memory skills, children develop fluency and literacy in both Irish and English in school, it becomes easier for children to learn additional languages thanks to the literacy skills they acquire through immersion education, they will develop more effective listening and communicative skills and they receive broader exposure to other cultures and develop a greater respect for them”.
The more people that are able to speak Irish, even just a couple words, will keep our language alive.
Imagine Credit: Aoife Breslin