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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2001 (January-June) » Industrialize An Ghaeltacht!! « Previous Next »

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Jonas (stud167.shh.fi - 128.214.106.167)
Posted on Friday, March 09, 2001 - 09:02 am:   Edit Post Print Post

This may be controversial for some)
Talking about a GREEN or a GREY island:

One of the best actions to take in order to preserve Irish in na Gaeltachtaí would be to build some (really ugly) factories in each and every Gaeltacht... As Dave pointed out, and as I've learned from living three summers in various Gaeltachtaí, we have a real problem with non-Irish speakers buying up houses in the Gaeltacht. Most Gaeltachtaí are very beautiful and yet quite close to largercities (Galway, Cork, Tralee) so they are attracting people.

If you don't know the state of the Gaeltacht ofCois Fharraige (once considered the strongest in the country), I can tell you that it's going quite fast. Bearna, the village closest to Galway, is now-adays a luxury suburb with fancy villas. It is about as Irish speaking as Mongolia. The same applies to the part of the Galway Gaeltacht that is situated east of Loch Corrib; I have some friends there and they without knowing any Irish at all. An Spidéal is often seen as THE example of a Gaeltacht village. Ha! It would be a rare occasion to hear Irish spoken on the streets there, even though the smaller villages around it are quite Irish speaking. This change is largely due to rich Galway people moving in, causing house prices to rise, forcing (poorer) natives to leave.

West of An Spidéal you enter the international Gaeltacht, where English, Spanish, German, American and French have bought up houses as summer-homes. Do I have to say that their lingua franca is NOT Irish. The situation is quite the same in Corca Dhuibhne, Dun Chaoin in particular, and I would guess that every other Gaeltacht faces the same problem.

Now, why do people buy houses in na Gaeltachtaí. I can think of two reasons:
1. They want to live in a beautiful, quiet, tranquil area.
2. They are truly dedicated to the Irish language.

Ireland is quite rich in beautiful and tranquil surroundings, and na Gaeltachtaí do not have a larger percentage than areas with similar settings. Suppose that some factories were built on, let's say, the Aran Islands. I'm quite sure that those in category one would search for some other island for a holiday home (There are many,
Inishbofin, Clare, Rathlin, Dursey, Sherkin). The same applies to every other Gaeltacht: with some factories their attractiveness diminsh hugely.

There are of course another important benefit. The factories would provide native Irish-speakers with employment, which would stop the forced emigration from na Gaeltachtaí.

(And of course, I do enjoy beautiful surroundings myself, very much indeed, put I put rather put people first)

About my other category, there are quite a number of foreigners with a keen interest in Irish who have settled in na Gaeltachtaí; I know some of them personally. Many of them do great stuff for the language which they have learnt to speak fluently, and usually they are the last to turn to English. They are, of course, a huge benefit to the language, and would not consider going anywhere else because of some factories.

In short: I would propose that the Irish government, in co-operation with Údarás, start considering an industrial development scheme for na Gaeltachtaí!

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Colm Ó Dúill (194.165.173.152)
Posted on Friday, March 09, 2001 - 02:23 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Joans,
Yes I do agree with your statements that industrialising the Gaeltachts would somewhat stop the migration of the younger generation. But you are forgetting that the younger generation do not migrate wholly to large cities for the jobs. They go for the lightlife, lovelife, the socalising, amenities not found in the Gaeltacht......
The fact is that Ireland IS NOT THE EMERALD ISLE. Around cities like Cork(my own city), BÁC, Limerick the only scenery to see IS Concrete. Is saddens me to say that Cork is literally a landfill site. The streets are filled with chewing gum and cigarete buts; AN LAOI is filled with super market trollies, bikes, car wheels and rats; the vast majority of the buildings are grotty eg. The City Hall, Bus Áras is a tip. The surounding towns are littered. Even the country side around cities and towns is appaling.
The Gaeltachts are the country ARE the only truely great, UNSPOILT, wonderful scenery Ireland has. In ainm Dia DON'T industrialise the Gaeltachs. We would lose the 'Emerald' in Emerald Isle.
If we truely want Irish - an teanga IS FINNE ar FUD an domhain! - we should direct our efforts towards making Inis Fáil bilingual (Gaeilge AGUS Béarla le céile).
Is mise le meas,
Colm.

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Dave (161.53.48.235)
Posted on Friday, March 09, 2001 - 03:22 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A Choilm,
What you say about not industrialising the Gaeltacht is true but when sometimes you get a bit pessimistic, you might think of anything. I was thinking a lot about restoring Irish language - as you say, Béarla agus Gaeilge le chéile, at least if not only Irish (that option is, of course, not possible in any case) - but nothing could come to my mind at all. Pessimistic but I can't help it. If there're only 25,000 to 30,000 people speaking Irish as their first language (or one of their two first languages) out of some, well, I don't know, maybe 4 million inhabitants (and, as I hear, the population of Rep. of Ireland is increasing at the moment - that means many foreigners who speak only English), beside that percentage, I'm asking you: is it really possible to encourage the new generation (born since, say, 1994/5 onwards) to use Irish in their everyday life?! Though I WISH to hear this, in my opinion beautiful, language spoken ar fud na hÉireann, I doubt I ever will.

And the fact that Irelad is no more an Emerald island makes me really sad. In this new millenium of ecology. Something about that should also be done because, compared to any other west European country (excepting maybe the Scandinavian countries) Ireland was blessed by the god of Ecology HaHah. And it is, also, just like the language, something very important.
Is mise le meas:

Dave

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Jonas (cache-external.it.helsinki.fi - 128.214.173.89)
Posted on Friday, March 09, 2001 - 03:58 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A Chairde

I would say that many other parts of Ireland are just as beautiful as the Gaeltachts. Indeed, most people think that the area west of the Galway Gaeltacht, around Clifden and Kylmore Abbey, is much more beautiful than the Gaeltacht. Indeed I agree with them, but I'm more into the language. The coast of Clare is also extremly beautiful, and if you're looking for rugged beauty then nothing, not even Aran or Conamara, matches a misty day in the Burren. The scenery there when some rays of sun break through the mist.. there's nothing like it, and if Irish was still living in Clare, then this would be my combination of beauty and culture.

If you like the greener shade (as in emerald) then Beara peninsula is your choice. Just as beautiful as Corca Dhuibhne and Uíbh Ráthach, and much more unspoilt with less tourists. The area around Bantry, and indeed most of West Cork gives the word Emerald a whole new meaning. If you like mountains I could definitely recommend Wicklow. Wonderful scenery, tranquil and yet within an hour of Dublin. And for those who are looking for a splendid view, you have the Co. Limerick and Kerry border. When the bus climbs up the hills around Abbeyfealy and the whole plain of lowland Kerry and lies before and its mountains beneath you..

Every part of counties Leitrim, Sligo and Roscommon would qualify for this beauty-contest; indeed Yeats found his inspiration here. They are the least populated area of Ireland, very rural, peaceful, with green hills between the Shannon and the Atlantic.

I could go on forever, but I hope you get my point. Of course, big cities are rarely big beauties, but I would say that most of Ireland still is extremly beautiful and peaceful. Unfortunately, the same healthy statement can't be given about the language...

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Brian Ó Cianáin (webcachem04b.cache.pol.co.uk - 195.92.194.14)
Posted on Friday, March 09, 2001 - 09:38 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

All things have their time and, passing, leave gaps which are soon filled. In a generation or two the Irish Language will be no more than a fond memory for some and shrugged off as an anachronism by the realists. Do not prolong the agony. If the natives do not care, why should anyone else? If the language is to die, then let Nature take her course.
Brian

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Brian Ó Cianáin (webcachem04b.cache.pol.co.uk - 195.92.194.14)
Posted on Friday, March 09, 2001 - 09:40 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

All things have their time and, passing, leave gaps which are soon filled. In a generation or two the Irish Language will be no more than a fond memory for some and shrugged off as an anachronism by the realists. Do not prolong the agony. If the natives do not care, why should anyone else? If the language is to die, then let Nature take her course.
Brian
N.B I am an Irish speaker as are my children, but English is the language of choice in the home - their choice - the future's choice!

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Seosamh (3cust50.tnt11.nyc3.da.uu.net - 63.23.135.50)
Posted on Saturday, March 10, 2001 - 03:51 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

The advice given to parents if children are reluctant to speak the less popular of two languages is that the parent hear the children out but still require use of the language in defined circumstances. The parent knows better and is in charge, and only needs to show respect. Sounds to me like you are communicating your own attitudes to the kids. I have known many parents without this difficulty in the Gaeltacht, in NI, the Republic and even in the US.

It is not at all so certain that the language will die. One professional linguist who has a particularly dire assessment of language survival worldwide, believes that Irish will indeed make it. The bleakest scenario is probably that a minority, similar to the Irish speakers of the Galltacht today, will stick with the language come hell or high water, more or less permanently. That would mean Irish language literature and a scattering of Irish speaking families, thus semi-native speakers. (Against all probablility, that is what has happened with Cornish. Irish can work from a much greater base of support and resources.)

If the language is to die in a few generations, it does not follow that we should not act. Famine, war, large-scale species extinction and global climatic disruption are more certain than the demise of Irish but we are required by both practical and moral factors to act against them. The destruction of human diversity and heritage is caused by the same forces and is equally undesirable.

As late as fifty years ago, the same kind of people who argue against Irish proclaimed that French would be dead in Canada by the year 2000.

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K. Roush (acq16.mse.jhu.edu - 128.220.8.229)
Posted on Monday, March 12, 2001 - 02:35 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

But aren't a lot of people on this site native speakers? And aren't you yourselves part of the hope for the language? When you have children, don't you plan to pass on what you know? Although it was a secret hope of mine to actually be Irish, I didn't learn, until I was thirty years old, that it was actually true. (I am adopted.) It's very discouraging to hear some ring the death knell of this language, and I certainly hope it won't come to pass. I can't speak for other countries, but in America there has been a real resurgence of interest in one's own ethnicity and culture. Surely, this must be true elsewhere, as well? I don't know. Maybe it just means more to me because I came to it later in life.

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Seosamh (3cust131.tnt11.nyc3.da.uu.net - 63.23.135.131)
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2001 - 12:15 am:   Edit Post Print Post

There is a big interest building in Irish and scores of other languages, even if it is seen last in major media, where there is concern for biological diversity and resources but scorn or paternalism for their human counterparts. The leveling forces of globalization are stronger than we are, but there is no reason to just give in and allow wholesale destruction of the world's human resources. Intelligent action can make a big difference in many places. Irish is one of the better positioned of threatened languages, so it's irresponsible not to act.

Where languages cannot ultimately be retained, the attempt to save them at least works against the terrible psychological effects on people in such communities. Children can be taught in a positive way the culture and language that define their heritage, and not think of them as badges of inferiority, which is otherwise the case.

There is certainly an increase in interest in Irish itself. The steady growth in the Irish-medium schools and in the Irish-language media prove that. The challenge is to maintain Irish-speaking communities as Jonas basically understands.

From today's Irish Times: "Nothing has changed but our attitude; therefore, everything has changed." Everything depends on attitude. Unfortunately, attitude can go either way.

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Laighneach (oak.may.ie - 149.157.1.55)
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2001 - 11:13 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Tá an Times agamsa inniu.Cén alt ina bhfuil sé sin, a Sheosaimh? Arbh é John Waters a bhí á scríobh b'fhéidir?

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Seosamh Mac Bhl. (1cust152.tnt9.nyc3.da.uu.net - 63.23.128.152)
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2001 - 01:25 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Níorbh é, ach Brídín Gilroy* a bhain úsáid as an sliocht sin i litir a scríobh sí i dtaobh fhoghlaim na dteangacha coimhthíocha. Duine darb ainm Anthony de Mello a chum: "Nothing has changed but our attitude. So everything has changed." (Rinne mé meancóg ag cuimhneamh air.) An ceann deireanach ar leathanach na leitreacha é, sílim.

* Coordinator, Post-primary Languages Initiative, Marino Institute of Education, Dublin 9.

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LiamO briain (modem-104-st.halenet.com.au - 203.55.33.104)
Posted on Saturday, March 17, 2001 - 09:15 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

all the children today who attend irish medium schools should come out of school pretty fluent in the language and due to this more of the irish population will be able to speak irish in future. However,I don't think many of them will raise irish speaking children.The key to a revival of the language is an increase in the number of irish speaking families in the Galltacht ad preservation of Gaeltachts. Regarding preservation, there should be a rule that anyone wanting to live in a Gaeltacht area should sit an oral Irish exam. If they don't get high marks they can't live there. that would weed out the undesirables. Quebec is very strict in it's preservation of French.

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Jonas (botta4.org.helsinki.fi - 128.214.129.28)
Posted on Sunday, March 18, 2001 - 11:17 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Liam, what you're saying is excatly the point! If those with fluent Irish in the Galltacht would use the language, especially with thier children, there would be a real revival. Unfortunately, I don't know how this could be done.

By the way, I don't know if you are familiar with the Åland Islands between Finland and Sweden. These islands (with a population of 25.000) belong to Finland belong to Finland, but are Swedish speaking. They have a warmer climate than the rest of Finland, are very beautiful and tranquile; in short they would represent a "Gaeltacht" in Finland. However, in order to preserve the Swedish language and culture, everyone who wants to obtain "hembyggdsrätt", the right to own a house or work in the public sector, must pass a major Swedish-language exam in order to do so. This has kapt the islands completely Swedish-speaking during the 84 years of Finnish independence. I think this model could be applied to na fíor-Ghaeltachtaí as well.

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Páidí (newcache1.indigo.ie - 194.125.133.245)
Posted on Sunday, March 18, 2001 - 08:27 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

There is an interesting article at www.eurolang.net on the
current state of Irish.(12/03/01)
One suggestion is that the concept of Gaeltacht as a geographical area where people speak Irish, may be usefully changed to Gaeltacht meaning a group of highly mobile people who also happen to speak Irish.
An interesting idea. If the meaning of 'Gaeltacht' could
be extended in some way to mitigate the negative image that
speaking Irish is a rural pursuit, I'm sure there would be a positive benefit towards the goal of more widespread
speaking of Irish as an everyday language in the cities
and towns.

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Páidí (newcache2.indigo.ie - 194.125.133.220)
Posted on Sunday, March 18, 2001 - 08:44 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

There was a Letter to the Editor as Gaeilge in the Irish Times on 14/03/01 entitled " An Taoiseach Agus Gaeilge".

I am only beginning to learn Irish so the article is a bit beyond me at the moment.

Would someone be able to do a translated gist of the letter
in this forum please? I'm sure it would be of interest to others.It seems to relate to the recent transfer of Eamon
Ó Cuív out of the government dept dealing with Gaeltacht & Gaeilge and replacing him with Máire Ní Chochláin.The point
possibly is whether or not this transfer is for or against
the strenghening of Irish; also something about the Language
Equality Bill and the current commission on the Gaeltachts.

Go raith maith agat.

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K. Roush (acq16.mse.jhu.edu - 128.220.8.229)
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2001 - 08:39 am:   Edit Post Print Post

It's interesting that mention was made of teaching children to speak Irish fluently. I have spent some time around Amish people here in America. Even though the Amish must associate with outsiders in order to carry on their commerce, their children are taught only German until they go to school. In spite of a lot of dealings with English speaking people, the Amish children do not really learn much of it until they begin school. They are fluent German speakers from babyhood because it is the only language spoken at home. Granted most of us are not quite so insular, but this might work on a more limited basis for an Irish speaking couple and their children. Teach both languages at the same time.

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Seosamh (2cust95.tnt9.nyc3.da.uu.net - 63.23.129.95)
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2001 - 11:36 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Since the Gaelic Revival began, some families outside of the Irish-speaking areas have raised their children with varying amounts of Irish. It is not unusual to be taught prayers, some phrases and words. Even here in America, a fair scattering of Irish-Americans do so. My neighbors (60s & 70s) remember being taught their prayers. My father (around '59-'60) taught us them too as well as many words and sentences. Fluency is something else. I know of several children who have a general ability to understand the language, a couple of teenagers who are fluent and I have run into several people with Conamara parents who were raised speaking it at home in New York or elsewhere.

I have met quite a few people who were raised speaking Irish at home in English-speaking areas of Ireland. I remember one woman telling me how she sat on her father's lap in Dublin learning English words from a picture book. She remembers thinking (in Irish, of course) 'What do I have to learn this for?' One family I know of kept their kids monolingual in Irish in London, then moved back to Ireland when they started to reach school age, where at least, they could put them into Irish-medium schools.

Several of the 'hothouse' native speakers I know are raising their own children speaking Irish, so the tradition continues. There is a group called Comhluadar that tries to make it easier and more feasible for families to do this by putting them into contact with each other and holding social events.

Like Jonas, I don't know how to get larger numbers of parents to do this. But I do know that you have to start where you are now. It's normally possible to take a few steps forward and that always opens up new opportunities not previously possible. One small but important step is to get schools to inquire if new children already have Irish and give preference to those who do. Another is to expect parents to use some Irish at home. A school near Dublin requires parents to speak Irish with their children at least part of the time on the grounds that the entire burden shouldn't be on the school. That reverses the main problem with Irish in the Galltacht since the revival began -- expecting the schools to revive the language.

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Sean K. (209.16.215.193)
Posted on Tuesday, March 20, 2001 - 09:58 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I'm not really impressed with isolated cases of
parents in urban environments raising Irish speaking
children. What you need are communities. Languages
thrive in the light of day, not in individual homes
miles upon miles apart. Languages require contact,
interaction, and I'm not talking about mailing
lists and web sites.

The popularity of Irish medium schools is of
course wonderful. It brings attention to the
language and provides a vehicle through which
new beginnings can emerge. But, it is a
dangerous slope leading to over reliance on schools
and neglect of communities. This attitude
could ultimately create a sort of glorified
Latin if careful attention is not paid to the
Gaeltachts and any other Irish speaking
communities. It is akin to building a house
with no foundation.

Sean K.

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Seosamh (1cust98.tnt9.nyc3.da.uu.net - 63.23.128.98)
Posted on Wednesday, March 21, 2001 - 12:51 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I'm very impressed with them, both their historical role in the language revival movement and the spirit and strength of the individuals I have known. The new movement to recognize the Gaeltacht as the network of Irish-speaking people wherever they are, is a rational step to take. I wish that network was much stronger and more clearly growing, but that's what we have to work with, as scary as it is.

It was probably always a mistake to draw a hard and fast boundary between Irish people in the Gaeltacht and those outside of it. It would be a mistake to think of the Gaeltacht community as if it were as separate from the rest of the Irish (and Irish-speakers) as the 30,000 speaking a threatened language in Africa or Papua New Guinea. Done right, the Irish-speaking families and communities in the Galltacht can strengthen the position of the Gaeltacht, and vice versa.

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Sean (dial151.sunflower.org - 209.16.214.151)
Posted on Sunday, March 25, 2001 - 12:04 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Another side of the coin is the fact that
it is patently absurd to attempt to maintain
certain communities by throwing money at them.
Today's marketplace requires a dynamic
labor pool. Obviously, those two words,
dynamic and labor, are not popular among
most language activists.

I'm still not convinced that isolated
speakers make a difference at all. People
come and go, but sustained communities
with steady employment make all the
difference. Look at Wales in the
late 19th and early 20th century. The
Industrial revolution - steady jobs
and sustained language communities
kept Welsh alive and strong.

Irish is no Hebrew or Yiddish for
that matter. It has no 'faith' to
sustain it in isolation among
families. One generation will send
their children to a Gaelscoil and
that a vibrant language does not make.
I would call it a hobby.

You need sustained communities. But
not to the extent that you are throwing
money away just to keep people in
an area that is not economically
sustainable.

That being said, languages move at
a slow pace, far slower than our
whisper of human life. I mean look
at the Cornish nutters raging
flame wars across the net over
orthographies. One side produces
a dictionary another responds with
their own dictionary. It's quite
amusing. There are even people
in Cornwall who have raised children
speaking Cornish. I call that
a hobby and then some. But in
fifties years they'll still be going
at it.

So all this talk about where a language
is headed is for the most part pointless.
People will sustain a language after
a fashion; like Cornish and Manx. Others
in isolation with other languages, including
Irish, will do the same. I don't see a
difference and I would call it a hobby.

Sean

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Liam O Briain (cache02-e3c.syd.optusnet.com.au - 198.142.200.249)
Posted on Friday, April 06, 2001 - 12:31 am:   Edit Post Print Post

The Gaelic League at the turn of the 20th century organised feiseanna around the country. I believe that every county should have feiseanna with winners going to thE Oireachtas. That way irish language could be promoted in counties with few irish speakers. It's all about getting people involved.

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Seosamh (1cust156.tnt11.nyc3.da.uu.net - 63.23.134.156)
Posted on Friday, April 06, 2001 - 03:09 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

There's a wonderful parody of those feis's in _An Béal Bocht_ (available in English as _The Poor Mouth_. Actually the introduction of feiseanna to Dublin in the 30's was important in raising the level of Irish-speaking among adults there a few notches. It's important not to leave people with no way to use the language after spending twelve years or more teaching it to them.

"It's all about getting people involved," is very true. Of course, there is a hierarchy to it all. Keeping existing Irish-speaking communities together is number one. Reminding parents that it is their responsibility to teach it to their children is maybe no. 2 on my list. An exclusive focus on number one is myopic in the extreme. As someone else said here early on, it requires [coordinated] work in three areas: the Gaeltacht, the Galltacht, the diaspora. Maybe not in those exact words . . .

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Liam O Briain (pad-cache1-1.cache.telstra.net - 165.228.129.11)
Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2001 - 04:41 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I have an idea. Irish speakers living in the cities should have lists available to them of irish medium services such as doctors, dentists, chemists, pubs, restaurants,plumbers, electricians, carpenters, shopkeepers, accomodation ie hotels, hostels and b+b's. That way very little english would have to be spoken.I personally would like a list like this of Limerick and Galway. I have setup a webpage to gather such information-http//communities.msn.co.uk/servicesintheirishlanguage/homepage or else we can start it here at Daltai. First up there is a restaurant on 423 Pitt Street in Sydney offering service in irish.

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