Relearning Irish

Since going back to relearn Irish I've started to look at what books are out there. I think there's a much better selection now than there was when I left school. I see a lot of translations that I don't think were available back then. For example, I bought the Hobbit, Game of Thrones for myself and for the kids I bought Harry Potter, Diary of the Wimpy Kid, even a Famous Five book. Admittedly a lot of those books have come out since I did my Leaving Cert but even then I don't think you could have found a single translation of a book I was reading in English. I think it's a great trend and hopefully it will continue.

When I was in school I used to hate the types of Irish books they made us read - the likes of A Thig Ná Thit Orm. I appreciate that they probably have great meaning and relevance to people in the Gaeltacht but they never connected with me. We had to read books in English also that I never would read outside of the exam but there was still this massive world of books outside of the approved classics that I could access in my own time. For example, I was reading lots science fiction/fantasy books in English but there was nothing like that to expand my horizons in Irish.

There was nothing in Irish to draw me into reading those after the exam. I'd hope that the curriculum now is more focused towards books that will spark a lifelong interest in reading in Irish rather than "classics". There's no point in teaching Irish for the Leaving Certificate - it has to be for life.

posted on April 16, 2020gaeilge


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