Lá ‘le Pádraig sona daoibh! Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of you! It would be sona duit, if to one person: Lá ‘le (short for fhéile – féile is feast (pronounced: fayluh)) Pádraig sona duit (pr: law luh Pawric sunna ghit(ch)) ‘Sona daoibh’ is pronounced ‘sunna gheefv.’ You could also say ‘Beannachtaí na Féile ort (singular) / oraibh (plural) – which is good for all kinds of occasions, as it means ‘Blessings of the feast on (to) you(s).’ It is pronounced ‘Bannaxtee nuh Fayluh ort / orriv.
B’as an mBreatain é, Naomh Pádraig; ‘P-Ceilteach’ ab ea é. Is ‘Q-Ceiltigh’ sinne. D’fhoghlaim sé ár dteanga, agus bhí sí aige ní b’fhearr ná a chuid Laidine – agus sagart a bhí ann! Bhí seiseann ina sclábhaí, agus bhlas sé an teanga dá ainneoin. Ansin, tháinig sé ar ais dá thoil féin (agus de thoil Dia, dar ndóigh). An bhfuil cosúlacht ann idir Naomh Pádraig agus na daoine a fhoghlaimíonn Gaeilge ar scoil in aghaidh a dtola, agus Naomh Pádraig ina sclábhaí? Tháinig sé ar ais nuair a bhí deis aige. Rinne sé toil Dé. Cad ‘tá i ndán duitse?
Christianity is the greatest treasure in Ireland, a land rich in cultural treasures. It is sad that these treasures are often neglected and under-appreciated. One of the greatest gifts we can give to Ireland ( and to ourselves, and to the honor of our ancestors) is to actively appreciate and preserve all that is great in our heritage. First, our faith, brought to us, and sent forth throughout the world by Irish – and mostly Irish speaking – priests, monks, sisters and lay people. It would be hard to rank the other treasures of our culture after this. But I suggest that high, and perhaps highest, in the list, should be the language of our people. Like our faith, our language is a fragile, easily lost, and too often neglected treasure. And like our faith, buíochas le Dia (thank God), if it is lost, it can still be recovered (so long as it is alive in the world). Gan teanga, gan anam – without a language, without a soul. And to be fair, like our faith, it is easier to talk about it than to put it into practice.
If you loved German, Italian, or Polish culture, would you not at least try to learn a little of the language? Whatever you would know of the culture in English, would only be a shadow of the reality. Because of the unfortunate colonial history of Ireland, out of financial need, most were forced to turn their backs on the Gaelic tongue – to deny their very nature, and begin anew. But deep inside each one of us, there is a part that was made to think and speak in Irish. I encourage you to get in touch with your inner Gael.
I am very pleased to see more and more Irish phrases being used in newspapers, on banners, plaques, and advertisements. I would like to offer a word of caution and constructive criticism. Although you will be understood most of the time without them, the síntí fada (what look like accents) over the vowels are very important. They determine the sound of the vowels, and are part of the spelling. It may seem fussy, but you wouldn’t want to see a commemorative plaque that said “the grate hunger,” and so, be sure to write “an gorta mór” when you write it in Irish. If you want to use an Irish phrase, and have no one to check it for you, you can usually check it on the internet (although there are lots of mistakes there too – some of them mine!). Our Division 2 in Babylon NY has established a library, and we have Irish dictionaries available there. Maybe your division has one also. You can check individual words, and phrase which are given as examples, in the dictionary. I caution strongly against trying to translate without a firm foundation in the language. You can come up with unintelligible things like “may the road rise up to meet you,” which comes from “go n-éirigh an bóthar leat” [guh nie-ree un boe-her lat], literally “may the road rise up with you,” but it means “may your journey go well,” or “may you succeed on your journey,” or “have a nice trip.” (N.B. – leat = one person, libh [liv] = more than one person.)
An bhfuil Gaeilge agat? Ar mhaith leat ábhar léitheoireachta – saor in aisce? Tá ábhar gan chuimse ar fáil ar an idirlíon, mar a deirimse i gcónaí. Ach más fearr leat nuachtán, is féidir leat ceann deas a fháil ar chostas an phoist amháin! Foilsítear “Saol” gach mí, i mBaile Átha Cliath. Tá costas 30 Euro air in aghaidh na bliana, má tá cóip amháin uait. Tá rátaí níos fearr ann má tá níos mó cóipeanna uait. Scríobh chucu ag 7 Cearnóg Mhuirfean, Baile Átha Cliath 2, nó ag email@example.com ar an idirlíon. Bíonn leathanach do na foghlaimeoirí ann gach mí, freisin.
Tá nuachtáin eile ann, agus tá suíomheanna acu ar an idirlíon. Nuachtán as Béal Féirste é ‘Lá,’ http://www.nuacht.com/, agus thosaigh siad mar nuachtán laethuil le déanaí. Tá ‘Foinse’ ann, freisin, http://www.foinse.ie/nuacht.asp, agus tugann siad ‘Príomnuachtán Náisiúnata na Gaeilge’ orthu féin. Agus tá iris míosúil ar an idirlíon ag www.beo.ie.
Tá cláracha ó Raidió na Gaeltachta ag http://www.rnag.ie/gaeilge/index.html, más fearr leat sin.
Agus ná déan dearmad ar an suíomh atá againn ag www.scoilgaeilge.org. Scríobh Uachtarán McGinley agus Mike McCormack faoi fhláithiúlacht na nGael, agus is fíor dóibh. Is sampla de seo an obair a dhéantar saor in aisce ag Scoil Ghaeilge Ghearóid Tóibín, agus ag daoine eile a mhúineann Gaeilge as an ngrá amháin. Tá mórán daoine ar an idirlíon a sholathraíonn eolas agus cabhair do gach uile duine atá ag iarraidh ar an teanga a fhoghlaim. Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine. Bail ó Dhia oraibh go léir, a Óglaigh na Gaeilge!