ColumnistsPaddy Murray

Let’s make an effort to show interest in the Irish language

Paddy MurrayBy Paddy Murray
Let’s make an effort to show interest in the Irish language

WE have had some wonderful celebrations to mark the centenary of the 1916 Rising.

The ceremonies have, in the main, been dignified and a source of enormous pride for the country.

So I find it a little odd that there are so many people who harbour a grudge against our language. 

That’s Irish, by the way. You may not speak it, most people may only have a cursory knowledge of it, but it’s ours.

I read a piece in a newspaper this week in which the writer bemoaned the fact that, after years of “learning” Irish at school, she left with “only the most tenuous grasp of a language I had studied for years”.

Then she admitted that she had “no interest” in Irish.

Well, Physics and I had a similar relationship. But I don’t blame Physics for the fact that I wouldn’t know a Doppler Effect from a Harmonic Oscillator. That’s entirely due to my lack of interest.

This writer went on to say that it is a disgrace that she was forced by the State to study a compulsory language.

She said she had no choice about learning Irish (though clearly she chose not to) during her school career, adding this question: “Where is the pedagogic sense in that?”

Pedagogic. Mmm. Impressive. So you DID pick up some hard English words. Must have had an interest in it so.

Anyway, the main question this writer asked was this: Can anyone truthfully say Irish is a necessary language?

And here’s the answer.

Music isn’t necessary.

Poetry isn’t necessary.

Dancing isn’t necessary.

But wouldn’t the world be a far worse place without them?

Irish is a beautiful language. It has a beautiful history. Its literature is beautiful.

And it’s ours.

So instead of “having no interest” in your national language, make an effort.

Maith an cailín.