Eileen Sadasiv (126.96.36.199 - 188.8.131.52)
|Posted on Monday, March 22, 2004 - 07:03 am: ||
Gabhaim pardún agaibh as an teachtaireacht seo i mBéarla; nil móran Gaeilge agam.
I have two (newly-discovered) relatives in the NYC area (Bronx and Scarsdale) who may still be capable of speaking (some) Irish as it was once spoken in Sligo, where my grandfather was born. One lady is 93 and her younger sister is 83. Dr. Michaél O Mainnin, Head of Irish and Celtic Studies at the School of Languages at Queen's University Belfast has written to me to ask if I cold make recordings of their speech. " ...it (Sligo Irish) is a piece of the national heritage and deserves a place in the appropriate archives here in Ireland for posterity ..." He is currently gathering material for an article on the local Irish dialect for a history of County Sligo.
Winnie has described to me the introduction of instruction in Irish in the local Sligo schools, which came after her time in school. She recounted with humor the "locals" standing around on bicycles near the school yard, making remarks (in Irish) about the strange speech (?Galway or Conamara Irish?) that the school teachers were trying to introduce to the children. She certainly understood the remarks. However, she is quite modest and claims that she really "knows nothing" . All her schooling, which she continued til she was 15, was in English. Maggie is quite deaf and so somewhat difficult to talk to, but quite alert and sharp. Their grandmother taught my 96-year old mother her prayers in Irish and, indeed, they still know their prayers.
My Irish is barely bun rang level; I cannot carry on even a rudimentary conversation. I would dearly love to make contact with anyone in the NYC area who might be willing to try to draw these ladies into Irish conversation. I do not think that it would require much time -- a single meeting should do it. If they can speak, just beginning with a few words should start them off . Yes, it could be a complete waste of time for some kind soul; yet, if these two ladies are the only Sligo-speaking survivors, might it be worth making an effort to find out whatever they do remember?
Go raibh míle maith agaibh as bhur gcúnamh. Tá mé buíoch díot as sibh chúnamh.
Eileen Corey Sadasiv
9 Robert's Court Tel.#(401)789-0942
Kingston, RI 02881-1792