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17 Oct 2012

Tá CLG Ard Mhacha ag déanamh a seacht ndícheall an teanga náisiúnta a chur chun cinn. Gaeilgeoir mórtasach atá i gCathaoirleach an Chontae Pól Ó Dougáin agus labhair sé faoina thuairimí ar na mallaibh le Seán Ó Maoilsté, ball de Choiste Cultúir CLG Ard Mhacha agus Oifigeach Forbartha Gaeilge le CAIRDE Teo.

Armagh GAA is at the forefront of the efforts to promote the Irish language. County chairman Pól Ó Dougáin is a proud Irish speaker and he recently shared his views with Seán Ó Maoilsté, member of the Armagh GAA Culture Committee and Irish language Development Officer with CAIRDE Teo.

Cén uair a d’fhoghlaim tú Gaeilge?
Chuir mé aithne ar an Ghaeilge den chéad uair nuair a chuaigh mé chuig Scoil na mBráithre in Ard Mhacha agus mé 11 bliain d’aois. Ba é an Bráthair Ó Reighill an chéad múinteoir Gaeilge a bhí agam agus múinteoir iontach ab ea é. Fuair mé mo chuid Gaeilge ó na hamhráin, ón fhilíocht agus dhírigh muid ar chomhrá. Rinne mé Gaeilge ar an scoil ar feadh trí bliana agus chuaigh mé chuig Nóibhíseacht Mhuire i mBaile Dúill, Átha Cliath nuair a bhí mé 19 bliain d’aois. Bhí a lán Gaeilge le cluinstin sa teach ach Gaeilge na Mumhan a bhí ann den chuid is mó. Bhí orainn dul chuig ranganna Gaeilge gach maidin leis an Bhráthair Ó Dúda ó Chontae Chiarraí. Bhí an-dúil agam sna ranganna Gaeilge.
When did you first learn Irish?
I was first introduced to Irish at the Christian Brother School in Armagh when I was 11 years old. Brother Reighill was my first Irish teacher and he was very good. I learned Irish from songs and poetry and we focused on conversation. I did Irish at the school for three years and I went to St Mary’s Noviciate in Baldoyle, Dublin when I was 19 years old. There was plenty of Irish spoken in the house, but it was mostly Munster Irish. We went to Irish classes every morning and Brother Ó Dúda from County Kerry was the teacher. I really enjoyed those Irish classes.

An mbaineann tú úsáid as do chuid Gaeilge?
Déanaim iarracht Gaeilge a úsáid a oiread agus is féidir. Tá tuiscint mhaith agama r an teanga ach ba mhaith liom feabhas a chur ar mo chuid Gaeilge. Is maith liom Gaeilge a úsáid gach uair a bhím ag labhairt ag go poiblí. Nuair a chuaigh mé a chónaí i Nua Eabhrach, tháinig meirg ar mo chuid Gaeilge ach tá mé ag feabhsú de réir a chéile.
Do you get a chance to use your Irish?
I try to speak Irish as often as possible. I have a good understanding of the language, but I would like to improve and learn more. I like to use Irish every time I speak in public. When I went to live and teach in New York, my Irish became a bit rusty but I am improving and learning more Irish as time goes on.

An bhfuil mórán Gaeilge in Ard Mhacha?
Tá neart Gaeilge in Ard Mhacha anois. Tháinig borradh ar an Ghaeilge in Ard Mhacha le blianta beaga anuas, go háirithe le hobair an choiste cultúir agus teanga den Chumann Lúthchleas Gael. Tá mé iontach sásta ar fad le hobair an choiste sin. Tá an cion atá ag daoine ar an Ghaeilge ag dul i méid mar gheall ar an choiste sin ar fud ár gcontae.
Is there much Irish in Armagh?
There is plenty of Irish in Armagh these days. There has been a big growth in the use of Irish in Armagh in recent years, especially with the work of the culture and language committee of the GAA. I am delighted with the work of this committee. More and more people have a love of the Irish language due to the positive promotional work within Armagh GAA.

An bhfuil an Ghaeilge tábhachtach sa CLG?
Is cinnte go bhfuil. Creidim féin nach gcuireann an CLG go leor béime ar an Ghaeilge ach tá súil agam go mbeidh biseach air sin. Ba chóir go raibh an Ghaeilge níos tábhachtaí sa CLG. Braitheann an tábhacht a chuirtear ar an Ghaeilge ar an chontae go minic agus ar na daoine atá gníomhach taobh istigh den chontae. Tá dualgas orainn faoin Treoir Oifigiúil an Ghaeilge a chaomhnú agus a chur chun cinn.
Is Irish important in the GAA?
It certainly is. I believe that the GAA doesn’t put enough emphasis on the Irish language, but I hope that soon changes. More importance should be placed on the language in the GAA. The importance of Irish often depends on the county and of the people who are working within the county. We are duty bound under The Official Guide to preserve and promote the Irish langauge.

Cad é is féidir linn sa CLG a dhéanamh le daoine a spreagadh Gaeilge a fhoghlaim?
Sa chontae seo, tá roinnt tograí ar siúl bliain i ndiaidh bliana le daoine a spreagadh chun Gaeilge a fhoghlaim. Mar shampla, thug na mic léinn ó Choláiste Chaitríona an Ghaeilge go dtí na bunscoileanna in Ard Mhacha . D’éirigh go hiontach leis an togra seo agus bronnadh Gradam Náisiúnta na Gaeilge ar chontae Ard Mhacha. Bíonn Gaeilge le feiceáil inár gcuid clár agus tugann sin spreagadh do dhaoine agus bíonn ranganna ar siúl i bPáirc Lúthchleasaíochta Uí Mhuireagáin. Sin mar atá cúrsaí in Ard Mhacha.
What can the GAA do to encourage people to learn Irish?
In our own county, there are many initiatives every year to encourage people to learn Irish. For example, students from St Catherine’s Irish medium unit brought Irish into the primary schools in Armagh. This was a fantastic initiative and we won the GAA’s National Irish Language Award. We include Irish in our programmes to encourage people to learn and use Irish and we hold Irish classes in the Morgan Athletic Grounds too. That’s how we do things here in Armagh. Ard Mhacha abú.

Más mian leat níos mó a fháil amach faoi fhorbairt na Gaeilge in Ard Mhacha, déan teagmháil le Seán ar 028 3751 5229 nó sean@cairdeteo.com.
If you would like to find out more about learning Irish in Armagh, you can contact Seán on 028 3751 5229 or at sean@cairdeteo.com.