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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2002 (July-December) » Irish in Northern Ireland « Previous Next »

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Erin Conway (dialup-65.56.89.135.dial1.sandiego1.level3.net - 65.56.89.135)
Posted on Wednesday, July 17, 2002 - 04:13 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Hello to all,

I am curious as to the current state of the Irish language in Northern Ireland.

Any insight is appreciated.

Thank you, Erin

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James (209.48.182.219)
Posted on Wednesday, July 17, 2002 - 04:49 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I'm not from there, but based upon postings on this and other sites it seems Irish is doing as well in the North as it is in most of the South.

There are distinct dialect differences as is evidenced in Gaeilge Agus Failte where they provide about 5 different ways of asking one's name. All I can remember is that the Ulster Irish didn't even begin to resemble the other, Southern, dialects.

At any rate, I'm sure some of the Irish on this site can give you more "real-time" data.

Le meas,

James

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Erin Conway (dialup-209.245.43.147.dial1.sandiego1.level3.net - 209.245.43.147)
Posted on Wednesday, July 17, 2002 - 11:37 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Thank you James.

To All,

In the data that I've come across regarding Irish, Northern Ireland is almost never mentioned. I am unsure if that is because it is incorporated as part of the North in general or because it is disregarded in the statistics. I'm not politically savvy but am innocently wondering if the attitude toward Irish in Northern Ireland differs from that in the Republic due to political history.

James,
On another note, I've noticed that you sign your posts with "Le meas." I've tried to find a translation to no avail. What does it mean?

Thank you, Erin

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James (209.48.182.219)
Posted on Thursday, July 18, 2002 - 12:01 am:   Edit Post Print Post

From what I've read there is actually a growth of interest in the North. At the risk of offending, it seems many in the south have grown complacent regarding Irish. Perhaps those in the North are becoming "connected" with their Irishness and disconnected with their englishness (we can only hope). At any rate, I find it very encouraging.

Le meas, (with respect)

James

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Aonghus (vpn.parthus.com - 62.221.5.1)
Posted on Thursday, July 18, 2002 - 04:18 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Attitudes to Irish in Northern Ireland, are, like everything else, coloured by the conflict.

A very tiny number of Unionists speak or have any interest in Irish; this was not always the case - Northern Protestants were prominent at the beginning of the Irish revival movement. But now most Unionists see it as a Republican symbol which doesn't belong to them. It has been used in that way by Republicans.

The 1991 census figures showed that 142,000 people in Northern Ireland had some knowledge of Irish (not sure what the exact question was)

There is a weekly newspaper published in West Belfast (Lá - http://www.nuacht.com) and a Radio Station. There is an area in West Belfast which was set up as a Gaeltacht (Bóthar Seoighe). They experienced a lot of difficulty with the Unionist governement in power, and things were also difficult under direct rule.

See also http://www.eurolang.net/Languages/Irish.htm
and http://www.ethnologue.com/show_country.asp?name=United+Kingdom

And this organisation which is prominent in the Irish Language movement in Belfast http://www.pobal.org/

The Gaelscoil movement also seems to do well in the North

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Larry (host213-123-45-223.in-addr.btopenworld.com - 213.123.45.223)
Posted on Thursday, July 18, 2002 - 05:56 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A Chairde,

The question on the Census form for Sunday 28th April 2002 asked:

Can you speak Irish? Yes/No
If YES, do you speak Irish? Daily/Weekly/Less often/Never

Le meas,
Larry

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Aonghus (vpn.parthus.com - 62.221.5.1)
Posted on Thursday, July 18, 2002 - 08:05 am:   Edit Post Print Post

That was the census in the Republic.
There was a weaker question on the 1991 UK census

The Irish Census in 1996 and 2002 used the question Larry gave, which is obviously more useful

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Liam ó Briain (217.78.0.3)
Posted on Thursday, July 18, 2002 - 12:42 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Hi Erin,

Belfast is the most progressive place on this island regarding the Irish Language. From nothing they have created a vibrant Irish speaking community. Apart from Gaeltacht Bóthar Seoighe a plan is before local council about creating another new Irish speaking community in a different part of the city. Also Udarás na Gaeltachta(A state organisation charged with bringing industry and developing local business in Gaeltacht areas) are trying to attract Irish speakers to live on an estate at the back of Bóthar Seoighe. This can all be found in back issues of the newspaper Lá. Until the time of the h- blocks Irish was seen as an upper class language spoken by well to do educated people "who could afford to speak it" but Irish was learnt by many prisoners as a means of communication between themselves . When they came out they dispelled negative connotations associated by many re the language. Lars Kabel a German university professor did a masters thesis on the language movement in Belfast from where he became a fluent Irish speaker (I know this because I actually met him once) . Anyway now the Brit Govt is trying to bring in a ridiculous law stating it will be illegal to speak Irish in the workplace in Northern Ireland as it discriminates against non Irish speakers .

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James (wcs3.norfolk.nipr.mil - 198.26.132.99)
Posted on Friday, July 19, 2002 - 09:32 am:   Edit Post Print Post

More with the brits banning Irish. Didn't they learn anything from, oh I don't know............300 years ago!

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Erin Conway (dialup-64.154.67.222.dial1.sandiego1.level3.net - 64.154.67.222)
Posted on Friday, July 19, 2002 - 11:22 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Thanks to each of you who responded to my inquiry and provided me with facts, valuable insight and links!

As each day passes while learning this rich language I find, as it is so deeply interwoven into the past and current complexities of the island, it's impossible for me to treat Irish as "just" a spoken language. The people, the passion, the battles, the triumphs - all encompassing - are the breath behind my uttered words. Humbling.

I can't possibly begin to understand all the nuances of daily life in Northern Ireland, but I do strongly believe that it is completely unacceptable for one person (anywhere) to take away from another a right that is a basic entitlement to life, namely communication. This infuriating motion of law can only be founded in fear. Bully to the control freaks.


With respect to all,
Erin

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Aonghus (vpn.parthus.com - 62.221.5.1)
Posted on Monday, July 22, 2002 - 08:30 am:   Edit Post Print Post

>>Anyway now the Brit Govt is trying to bring in a ridiculous law stating it will be illegal to speak Irish in the workplace in Northern Ireland as it discriminates against non Irish speakers

This is not strictly true.
The problem is one of Political correctness excerbated by well meant Equality legislation.

The NI Equality Authority has expressed the opinion that employers in certain workplaces should restrict the use of Irish where this might cause the perception that a member of staff who spoke no Irish was discriminated against or felt threatened.

The whole issue is tied up with the perception of Irish as being the badge of one of the traditions in NI

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James (wcs3.norfolk.nipr.mil - 198.26.132.99)
Posted on Monday, July 22, 2002 - 11:03 am:   Edit Post Print Post

One more useless American export-----Political Correctness.

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Liam Ó Briain (newcache2.indigo.ie - 194.125.133.220)
Posted on Monday, July 22, 2002 - 04:02 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I read a travel article yesterday in Ireland on Sunday about the green glens of Antrim.Must go there seems breathtaking. Anyway the writer of the piece Tom Adair talks about Cushendall being the Gaeltacht-capital of the glens. Any truth to that?

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Seosamh Mac Bhloscaidh (dialup-64.152.32.2.dial1.newyork1.level3.net - 64.152.32.2)
Posted on Monday, July 22, 2002 - 10:57 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Mhair an Ghaeilge ní b'fhaide i ngleannta Aon Droma ná in aon áit eile sa chuid sin d'Éirinn, seachas b'fhéidir Inis Reachlainn. Dúradh liom go bhfuair an cainteoir dúchais (dúchasúil?) bás go luath insna 1980idí.

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Jonas (m60-prs1.60.dial.multi.fi - 62.80.130.60)
Posted on Tuesday, July 23, 2002 - 08:43 am:   Edit Post Print Post

-> Liam
Both yes and no. Cushendall certainly was the Gaeltacht-capital of the Antrim glens while the area was a Gaeltacht. Unfortunately the language is long dead there, and thus I would no longer call Cushendall a Gaeltacht-capital

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