AN event to celebrate learning through the Irish language will take place in Letterkenny this weekend.
‘Aonach na Gaeilge’, which is organised by Líonra Leitir Ceanainn, will offer the community an opportunity to find out about the benefits of Irish medium education.
A variety of organisations will be in attendance, including teachers from local primary schools, secondary schools and universities at the event which takes place in Gaelscoil Adhamhnáin on Saturday, November 26, from 1 to 4pm.
Irish Language Strategic Plan Coordinator, Bairbre Uí Chathaill, said the event will allow families to explore Gaelscoil Adhamhnáin and highlight the supports available to those who have little or no Irish, who want to send their children to an Irish medium school.
“We can be there to help people to learn Irish or to become more fluent, or even help with their child’s homework,” said Bairbre.
Representatives from Coláiste Ailigh will attend the event to offer insight into the transition from English medium primary schools to Irish medium secondary schools.
There will also be representatives from NUI Galway there to discuss the opportunities Irish language education offers students and graduates.
Bairbre explained how the Irish language has the potential to open doors, and this event will offer the community an “opportunity to find out about the benefits of bilingualism and indeed multilingualism”.
Throughout the afternoon there will be a variety of workshops to entertain children, including art classes with The Arty Fox, hip hop lessons with Pinehill Studios, Music from Ceol le Chéile and a coding through Irish class with NUIG.
Letterkenny is classified as a Gaeltacht Service Town, as it is surrounded by Gaeltacht areas with people from the Gaeltacht both living and working in the town.
Letterkenny also has its own local Irish speaking community. Bairbre explained that her role as Strategic Plan Coordinator is focused on responding to the needs of both communities.
She said this is achieved by looking at what businesses provide services through Irish and the opportunities available to speak Irish socially.
“You could go to classes forever but if you’re not speaking it outside of the classroom, then you’ll not develop fluency,” she said.
The social events Líonra organise include Pop-up Gaeltachts, a Ciorcal Comhaire and parent and toddler groups.
With the growing cultural diversity in Letterkenny, Bairbre emphasised that the Irish is a language for the whole community.
Líonra have organised Irish classes for people who have come from other countries, who want to learn the basic sounds, words and phrases of the language.
The class starts on the 30 November in the intercultural hub, Letterkenny.
She explained that families who may already have a number of languages have a “fabulous attitude” to learning another language.
“There are connections and roots that exist between Irish and other languages, such as Hindi and Arabic.
“Rather than language being something that separates us from each other if we dig down we realise it actually connects us,” she said.