Gaeilge Iorrais is celebrating their first year since launching the North Mayo Gaeltacht Irish language plan.
Gaeilge Iorrais organised a wide variety of events through the medium of Irish during 2019 with the aim of increasing Irish language use in this area and to ensure a positive future for the Irish language in this Gaeltacht.
Highlights from 2019 which showcase their progress so far include:
(1 ) For the first time ever the North Mayo Gaeltacht community has a targeted seven-year Irish Language Plan, multiparochial steering committee (GaeilgeIorrais ) and a language planning officer (Dr Laoise Ní Dhúda ) to oversee the development of Irish language use and activities in this area.
(2 ) A participation and information campaign was launched with the message ‘ úsáid íagus mairfidh sí ’ (use it or lose it ). An innovative summary booklet which gives abrief overview of this process was sent to the 4,500 households in this area.
(3 ) A brand new programme of events for families ( as Gaeilge ) was developed in conjuction with Teaghlaigh Ghlór na nGael, for families of local Gaeltacht schools. 15 new events took place in 7 different locations from September to December 2019. 120 parents and 193 children or 313 in total took part in this programme. Fun events are organised through Irish (e.g. puppet making workshops, surfing workshops, splash days in UISCE, circus skills workshops, first aid workshops ) to encourage and support Irish language use in the household. Thanks to the support of Tuismitheoirí na Gaeltachta and Áras Inis Gluaire, we were able to show an Irish language version of the Christmas movie The Polar Express’ in December.
(4 ) A new activity ‘Ceol agus Spraoi do Thuistí & Leanaí’ commenced in Belmullet Library which combines music, rhymes, stories and more as Gaeilge for parentsand pre-school children. 70 participants have attended this group so far.
(5 ) Ongoing support and collaboration with the seven primary schools and three secondary schools (including Gaelcholáiste Chomáin ) participating in the Gaeltacht school recognition scheme. Gaeilge Iorrais organised two fun social gatherings as Gaeilge (one in UISCE and the other in Aras Inis Gluaire ) for more than 110 primary school children from these 7 schools, in co-operation withschool principals.
(6 ) Gaeilge Iorrais (in conjunction with Údarás na Gaeltachta, Mayo North-East and 6other community based organisations ) co-ordinated and publicised a new programme of Irish language classes for the area, offering 10 different Irish learning opportunities in 7 different locations throughout the 5 parishes in this Gaeltacht.
(7 ) As part of this new programme, two new Irish Diploma classes commenced,accredited by the National University of Ireland, Galway. Gaeilge Iorrais provided scholarships to 34 local people who are attending these third level courses. In total, more than 100 people took part in this new programme of Irish classes, a significant increase from 2018.
(8 ) Gaeilge Iorrais launched ‘Gaelchara’ mentoring scheme that pairs Irish language learners and native Irish speakers and aims to give Irish-language learners living in the North Mayo Gaeltacht an opportunity to practice and speak Irish as a living,every-day language. 7 people took part in this scheme in 2019, including trainee teachers, a local family and a community organisation.
(9 ) New regular Irish language piece on ‘The Tommy Marren Show’ began in August 2019 and continues once a month.
(10 ) A workshop for the local Irish language assistants took place in conjunction with Muintearas.
Gaeilge Iorrais is looking forward to building on these successes and aims to create more opportunities to use the Irish language locally in 2020, with the support and participation of the community. Our Gaeltacht status depends on this work.
Some of the new activities which are planned for 2020 include; (1 ) A new sean-nós singing programme for the seven local Gaeltacht primary schools,on foot of €10,000 funding from Ealaín na Gaeltachta.
(2 ) Further Irish language events for families.
(3 ) A new Irish language sports programme for the Gaeltacht schools in the area, in conjunction with an Cumann Lúthchleas Gael and Roinn na Gaeltachta.
(4 ) A new youth leadership programme for young Irish speakers from the area in conjunction with Coláiste UISCE. 6 second level students that study subjects through Irish will be awarded scholarships to attend UISCE’s youth leadership training course for Irish speakers (summer 2020 ).
(5 ) Further gatherings for Gaeltacht primary schools (May 2020 ).
(6 ) Scholarships for local families to attend ‘Comhluadar 2020’ a Tuismitheoirí naGaeltachta Irish language conference for Gaeltacht families (March 2020 ).
(7 ) Another meet up or ‘Pop-Up’ in the Gaeltacht will take place March 2020 during Seachtain na Gaeilge.
These developments signal that the implementation of the Irish language plan is well underway in the North Mayo Gaeltacht. Irish language use is guaranteed when one person decides to use it.
You can make a huge difference and together we have the power to secure a positive future for the Irish language in our Gaeltacht. Má úsáideannmuid í, mairfidh sí.
Gaeilge Iorrais would like to thank everyone that has taken part and supported this work to date, and we are looking foward to even more participation in 2020.Any further suggestions and/or recommendations from the North Mayo Gaeltacht community are most welcome.