Forty friends – old and new – from Utica, NY to Bennington, VT to New Haven, CT attended a day of Irish language immersion at the Irish Cultural Center in May. Each year the Center provides a resource that enables students to taste, improve, or strengthen their Irish language skills. The focus for the day was to enable the students to use what they had learned. You may have noticed the proverb that we use in our newsletters, Labhair í agus mairfidh sí, which means Speak it and it will live (or last). All the participants used that as their direction during the day.
In order to make the day interesting, and recognizing that people learn differently, we used a variety of ways to highlight the language through conversation circles, grammar classes, Irish language films, dance, and music. The highlight of the day was the lecture delivered by Ciara Nic Oscair, the Fulbright FLTA, on “The Irish Language in the Thirty Two Counties.” The participants learned about the different dialects and the enthusiasm for the language throughout the island of Ireland.
The enthusiasm and skill of our instructors and presenters: Kathleen Gilhooly, Mary McShane, Rath de Houst, Erin Mulvaugh, and Ciara helped make the program successful. As we look forward to lucky thirteenth Immersion Day next May, you shouldn’t wait. Take advantage of the classes offered at Elms College this Fall and Spring. We are grateful to Chicopee Savings Bank, for being a proud sponsor of Irish Language Day.
by Chip Costello