AN EASY to learn Irish language book by a Belfast teacher – which has proven a big hit since its publication this year – is now making waves here in the US.
Irish language teacher Gearóid Ó Lochlainn launched his book 'Tóg Go Bog É Ag Foghlaim’ (Take it Easy and Learn) in June. The book aims to give a basic understanding of the Irish language in a concise, easy way which makes learning fun and engaging. The book is also accompanied with eye-catching illustrations by artist Aoife Devlin.
When the Andersonstown News last spoke with Gearóid the book was available in bookstores and cultural centres across Ireland but Gearóid explained that due to his online classes in which he teaches Irish to people across the globe, the book is now being stocked in several places in the United States.
Gearóid explained that a student in one of his classes recommended the book to a couple of Irish-American cultural centres in the States who have now placed orders for the book.
"It was almost by fluke that the book got into America," said Gearóid. "There's a young lad in my class called Daniel Ó Fionnáin and he lives in Saratoga Springs in New York. He is doing his Silver Fáinne course. Daniel recommended the book to Paul F O'Donnell who runs Celtic Treasures which is a big Irish gift shop in Saratoga. Paul recently made a big order of the books for his store."
"The book has also gone to the Irish-American Heritage Museum in Albany, New York which is run by a woman called Elizabeth Stack. Elizabeth also ordered a big pack of books and we are also sending out orders to other Irish heritage museums across the States," he said.
"Elizabeth sent me a big database of all the Irish-American heritage centres and museums across the States and said there's a big appetite for easy to learn Irish books. I'm in the process of contacting a lot of them at the moment and it's turned into a bit of a full-time job."
Another Batch of TÓG GO BOG É AG FOGHLAIM for absolute making it’s way to Little Acorns Bookstore (Derry)! An excellent introduction to the Irish language… pic.twitter.com/REW1pKS99a— Gearóid Ó Lochlainn (@GerardLoughlin1) November 13, 2023
Gearóid continued: "When I published the book in June I thought it would go to about two or three stores but it's now in about 20 across Ireland and in America. I am working on the second one at the moment and I'm hoping to do a trilogy with each at different levels of learning.
"I've also been contacted about the book going into Irish language schools in the south of Ireland. I've a database of all the primary schools North and South and I've got someone working for me who I'm paying now to reach out to all of them because it's become such a full-time job and they've already placed orders for books."
Looking forward to doing my interview tomorrow with the Belfast Media Group in relation to my little Irish language book for absolute beginners that is now available in Celtic Treasures New York & also the Irish American Heritage Museum in Albany New York… pic.twitter.com/n84DlCbGfC— Gearóid Ó Lochlainn (@GerardLoughlin1) November 20, 2023
Gearóid said the big joy for him from sharing the books has been getting the language out there so it is accessible for everyone.
"The book can be read by anyone from kids to parents, all ages and all walks of life. I actually got a message there from an Irish guy who lives in Kraków in Poland and lives out there with his wife and kids. His wife is Polish but he's just signed up for the kids to take some classes in the New Year."