I attended a conference relating to the Irish language in University of Notre Dame last week. It was my first time there and I was really taken with the place. The campus is absolutely stunning -- which I was expecting -- but what I noticed a great connection between the students and professors, a relationship which is obviously extremely important. When professors and students met on campus, they would chat and discuss exams, papers or simply ask if all was OK. There is such a nice rapport between them and there was an ease with which the students spoke to their admired professor, something that I haven’t noticed before on campus.
The conference was a great success. Irish language instructors had come from all over the United States to discuss Irish and how we can promote it in the future. We also discussed the possibility of establishing an organization that would be in charge of the Irish language here. It’s great to realise that there are others like me, all over North America, teaching the Irish language and that we can support one another, as it is not always an easy thing to do and you sometimes need a little encouragement to keep going with the classes year after year. Hopefully we will have such an organization that will maintain and promote the Irish language here in North America. I have been talking about the need of such an organization for years now and it is well overdue.
Another great event I attended recently was a celebration for our new Taoiseach Enda Kenny. I had a long chat with the Taoiseach in Irish and I was very impressed by his fluency. Obviously I was devastated with Fine Gael’s policy regarding the Irish language but they have assured the people of Ireland that Irish language will remain compulsory for the Leaving Certificate; something I think is a fundamental aspect of protecting the language. Teenagers may not realize it at the time but I believe that if they do not study the language while they are young, they will regret it at a later stage. The future of the Irish language is in young people. I wish our new Taoiseach luck in what I know will be a challenging path.
The following evening I attended the American Ireland Fund dinner. The AIF is such an important organization that funds Irish and Irish-American organizations and charities. $3 million was raised at the dinner for educational, cultural and music programs. Muhammad Ali was the special guest at the event. He is in poor health but it was amazing to see him stand and wave to the crowd. He got a standing ovation and most people had tears in their eyes while they clapped and cheered the legend. It was a great night. We went to Fitzpatrick’s Hotel to finish off the night.
There is always so much happening in the Irish scene New York. I am so lucky to be a part of it, here in the best city in the world. I have gotten to know such terrific people. Thank you all.
D’fhreastail mé ar chomhdháil bainteach leis an nGaeilge in Olscoill Notre Dame an tseachtain seo caite. B’é an chéad uair agam ann agus bhíos an-tógtha leis an áit. Tá an campus go hálainn ár ndóigh ach rud a thug mise faoi deara ná an gaol atá idir na micléinn agus na nOllaimh,gaol atá iontach tabhachtach. Nuair a bhuaileadar lena chéile thar timpeall an campus, stopadar agus labhair siad lena chéile mar dhaoine fásta, ag plé scrúduithe nó páipéar nó fiú ag ceistiú conas mar a bhfuil rudaí ag dul ar aghaidh. Bhí nádúr iontach ag baint leis agus braitheas go raibh na micléinn ar a gcompord agus iad ag labhairt leis na nOllaimh. Is daoine sochaideartha iad na nOllaimh.
Bhí an chomhdháil thar barr, bhí múinteoirí Gaeilge tagtha ó gach cearn de Mheirceá le chéile chun an Ghaeilge a phlé agus conas mar a bhfuileamar chun í a chur chun cinn amach anseo agus an fiú coiste a bhunú a mbeadh sórt i gceannas uirthi sna Stáit Aontaithe. Tá sé go maith le tuiscint go bhfuil daoine thar fud Meiriceá ag múineadh an Ghaeilge agus go bhfuil muid in ann tacaíocht a thabhairt dá chéile. Le cúnamh Dé, beidh eagraíocht againn amach agus beidh muid in ann an Ghaeilge a fhorbairt agus a chaomhnú.
Ócáid eile iontach a d’fhreastail mé ar ná ceiliúradh don Taoiseach nua. Bhí comhrá fada agam leis an Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Tá Gaeilge iontach aige. Níor aontaigh mé le polasaí Gaeilge Fine Gael ach buíochas le Dia, tá athrú tagtha orthu agus tuigeann an Taoiseach go bhfuil muintir na hÉireann ag iarraidh go mbeidh an Ghaeilge mar ábhar éigeantach don Ardteistiméireacht. Tá siúl agam go n-éiríonn go maith leis an Taoiseach nua mar tá bóthar casta amach roimhe.
An oíche i ndiaidh ceiliúradh don Taoiseach, bhí an dinnéar mór ‘American Ireland Fund’. Is eagraíocht tabhachtach é AIF a thugann airgead do carthanach Gaelach. Thuill siad trí mhilliún ag an dinnéar d’eagraíochtaí oideachas, cultúrtha, ceol agus araile. B’aoi speisialta na hoíche ná Muhammad Ali. Níl an tsláinte ró-mhaith aige ach sheas sé agus d’fhéach sé amach ar an lucht féachana. Sheas gach duine sa seomra agus bhí buaileadh bos ollmhór. Bhí deora i súile neart daoine agus iad ag féachaint ar an laoch Ali. B’iontach an oíche é. Chuaigh muid chuig óstán Fitzpatricks ina dhiaidh chun an oíche a chríochnú.
Tarlaíonn an méid sin gach seachtain i Nua Eabhrac. Tá an t-ádh orm bheith sa chathair is fearr ar domhain.Tá aithne agam ar an méid sin daoine iontacha agus faighim an méid sin deiseanna anseo. Míle buíochas le gach duine sa phobal Gael Meiriceánach iontach seo.