23/09/2014 Minister McHugh invites people: ‘Come with me on my Irish language learning journey’
Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs, Joe McHugh, T.D., said: “Since my appointment as Minister, I have encouraged people to join me on my journey into the Irish language and learning to speak it once again. Many of us talk about how we wish we spoke Irish more, or better, and I have invited people to start now.
Having spent a few weeks over the summer in Irish college in Gleann Cholm Cille, Co. Donegal, I have put together “tips on learning Irish” as part of a weekly blog, which have been available over the last six weeks and can be found on the Department’s websitehttp://www.ahg.gov.ie/en/BlogofMinisterofStateforGaeltachtAffairs/. The intention is that anyone who is interested in our national language can follow me on this journey and I hope be encouraged to engage and immerse themselves in the language.
Some key points I’ve learnt from starting this journey are –
· To remember that Irish is all around us – be it on road signs; on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and TG4; school teachers are only too happy to engage in Irish (pay them a visit!); and in my own case, Mass in Irish.
· What has been key for me in re-learning the language is to think in Irish as much as possible.
· Remember that the fear of making mistakes should not hold you back. We all make mistakes but the trick is to learn and remember those mistakes so as not to repeat them. ”Is fearr Gaeilge bhriste ná Béarla cliste.”
· I would encourage anyone to use the tips which are available on the website and enjoy your journey. Tá mise libh.
There is real interest across the country from people learning to speak Irish. I was contacted by an Australian man, who informed me that he was over the age of eighty and had just last year started learning Irish again and how much he was enjoying it. I’m also aware of a growing number of informal conversation circles which are taking place in towns and communities around Ireland and I would like to commend these groups on the open and friendly approach they have taken in encouraging those who may not be confident in their Irish to join in and engage with people from their areas. These people and groups are a key audience I had in mind when I began writing these tips and I hope they will be of some benefit to them.”