Posts Tagged ‘Irish language’

How (not) to learn Irish if you’re not from Ireland

6 May 2010

Contributed by Marnie Hay

I am an eternal student of Irish. I began studying the Irish language in Canada in 1992 at Saint Mary’s University in Nova Scotia as part of an undergraduate Irish Studies programme. I also attended Irish immersion courses in Donegal. After three years I attained the equivalent of leaving certificate Irish. Despite living in Ireland for the past twelve years, however, it has been down hill from there.

When I arrived at Queen’s University in Belfast to pursue an MA in Irish Studies, I was disappointed to discover that I would not be permitted to study Irish as part of my formal degree programme. They would not even test me. (Apparently, the Irish language isn’t always considered an essential or even useful part of an Irish Studies programme on this island.) The only option was to take an extracurricular Irish conversation class that was offered at beginner’s level. The students who had some knowledge of Irish soon dropped out. Only those who were absolute beginners remained. I stuck with this for about a semester, but despite the teacher’s best efforts, boredom got the best of me, especially after we moved to a classroom without a television. (With no TV in my accommodation, I had enjoyed getting my weekly fix watching Irish language videos in class.) In hindsight, I should have joined An Cumann Gaelach at Queen’s instead. Read More