101. Teach Irish like EAL

Gaelscoileanna have got things right when it comes to teaching Irish. Immersion is the only way to get children properly fluent. In English medium schools, i.e. 98% of primary schools, Irish is only spoken for a very short amount of time during the day. However, it is taught in such a way that assumes children … Read more

092. No priority to be given to native Irish speakers for enrollment in Gaelscoileanna.

With all the talk of equality of access to schools, one would have thought when the Admissions Bill was published that it wouldn’t create more division. However, not only did the Admissions’ Bill make enrollment based on religion more complicated and divisive, a sneaky little change came about to advantage “native” Irish speakers into getting … Read more

049. Provide specialised teachers for Irish

Really, we have to face it: we are failing at teaching Irish. We have a few passionate teachers who can teach it well, but overall, there’s something very wrong when most people come out of 14 years of education unable to string a sentence in Irish together, yet can almost be fluent in some European … Read more

Two Line Tuesday

In the news this week, is a Gaelscoil under a multi-denominational patron body (Foras na Gaeilge) with an Catholic ethos where over two-thirds of the children have opted-out of religious instruction classes because they do not subscribe to that religion and the school have decided to segregate the children based on their parents’ belief systems for … Read more

Summer Courses 2015

Every year, Anseo.net delves through the summer course book and picks out the most interesting looking courses from the mass of options. This year, we’re challenging ourselves to pick just one course for each subject. So, let’s delve in! Arts: Drama There seems to be a lot of “In Their Shoes” courses around the country which addresses … Read more

Review: Dyce Game

NOTE: New version has been released. This is a repost of original review with some new details. The old cliché goes that sometimes the simplest ideas are the best and Gareth Hanlon of EyeSeeGames has come up with a really simple idea that works. His product, Dyce Game, is an educational game played with 8 … Read more

Review: Cé mhéad cat? Smarty Cat Games

Review: Cé mhéad cat? Smarty Cat Games We have been sent some very attractive and colourful games from Smarty Cat Games. They are to help with the learning of Gaeilge. There are two board games, one for Aimsir Chaite/Aimsir Fháistineach and the other for Aimisr Chaite/Láithreach. Inside the box, we have a spinner board, verb … Read more

How to save the Irish language

One of the most popular conversations I have with non-teachers is about the Irish language. Conversations generally start with the allegation that nobody really speaks the language then goes down one of two avenues: whether there is any point teaching it or what can we do to make sure it doesn’t die off as a … Read more

Review: Rí Rá (Coimicí Gael)

Rí Rá is a new Irish language comic for children. It is a bright glossy affair with lots of short punchy scripts with mainly manga-style characters providing the storylines. I must admit before I opened the comic in a café that I was not expecting much but by the time I had put down the … Read more

Death of Gaeilge?

One of the official languages of Ireland is Irish and most children experience a compulsory 14 year cycle of Irish lessons on a daily basis in school but according to the article above, only 82,600 people in Ireland speak the language outside of school – approximately 2% of the population. In fact, Polish is now the second most spoken language in the country today.

Something is obviously very wrong when statistics like this come out. Reactions will inevitably range from denial to acceptance. For example, 1.77 million people marked that they could speak Irish – however, this is still only 41% of the population.
Another inevitability is that schools will be blamed for this; after all, how is it possible that after 14 years of instruction, many students leave school with a better knowledge of French, Spanish or some other “3rd language?” Different people will have their reasons.
I believe that we need to logically assess why Irish has been allowed to become the third language of Ireland. We need to cut out the denial, the blaming of others and any other excuses.  I say this not as a proponent of the language – one might suggest that Ireland’s greatest strength is in our ability to speak English fluently – but then there’s the adage of “Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam.” There’s a definite richness to the Irish language, which has shaped the Irish people in how we hold ourselves. However, Irish is simply not being spoken by Irish people and we need to fix it before it becomes extinct.

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