Learning Irish and hillwalking in Dingle

Irish Examiner Saturday, November 19, 2016

Pet O’Connell goes hill walking in Dingle, and brushes up on her Irish language skills while she’s there.

Béal Bán beach, Learning Irish and Hillwalking

LEARNING the Irish language has much in common with hill- climbing. Plenty of stamina is required; there may be obstacles waiting to trip you up; but the sense of achievement will hopefully be worth the sweat.

Learning the Irish language while simultaneously hill- climbing presents another challenge entirely.

For those of us who have never felt the inclination to buy a pair of hiking boots, much less use them, it may be hard to decide which is the more daunting — the thought of exposing one’s shameful lack of fitness in public, or the possible mortification caused by an inappropriately-placed séimhiú.

As it turns out, both fears prove groundless on the courses for adults provided by Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne on Kerry’s Dingle Peninsula.

A four-day course in Gaeilge agus Siúlóidí Oidhreachta, or language and heritage walks, did exactly what it said on the tin and was certainly not for couch potatoes.

But participants’ proficiency levels in Gaeilge or hiking, however low, were far less significant than their willingness to give it their best shot.

Students and senior citizens, teachers, lawyers, vets, and bikers arrived in Baile an Fheirtéaraigh from Canada, America, and all corners of Ireland, some first-time students; others reuniting with old friends for an annual social.

Those more fluent in the language offered every assistance and encouragement to anyone stuttering over the tuiseal ainmneach or its much-maligned cousin the tuiseal ginideach, and learning to laugh at one’s own mistakes soon became an intrinsic part of the fun.

If there’s one thing every student in Caitríona Ní Chathail’s lively classes will remember, it’s that Baile an Fheirtéaraigh (Ballyferriter) is indeed “i lar an aonaigh”, at the centre of things.

Its tiny resident population numbers are regularly swelled by an influx of droves of students, in particular trainee teachers.

They come to raise their fluency levels in the bright environs of the Lárionad Forbartha Gaeilge agus Gaeltachta, a well-equipped €3.5m language and enterprise centre which opened last year.

Add in the buzz created by this summer’s arrival of the Star Wars film crew, associated entourage, and even some of the actors, and the village was fit to burst at the seams.

Aside from the importance of being able to distinguish a newly-constructed Jedi temple from your original sixth-century beehive hut, there was much to be learned about the area’s heritage from the course’s informative guided walks.

We explored part of the pilgrim path, Cosán na Naomh, taking in Gallarus Oratory and inscribed pillars at Teampall na Cluanach.

On the Dingle Way we drank in views along sandy beaches at Béal Bán and Trá an Fhíona, taking a bus tour as far as Ceann Trá and Dún Chaoin in the company of archaeologist Isabel Bennett.

Her inexhaustible supply of information encompassed topics ranging from Islandman Tomás Ó Criomhtháin’s gravestone — made by Cork sculptor Seamus Murphy — to the Second World War rescue of the crew of Greek cargo ship Diamantis in Ceann Trá by the German U-boat sailors who had sunk it.

Isabel is curator of Músaem Chorca Dhuibhne in Baile an Fheirtéaraigh, well worth a visit for its ancient-to-modern display including Neolithic stone axes, local ogham stones, plus artefacts from the filming of Ryan’s Daughter.

Stone Cross on Cosán na Naomh West Kerry, Corca Dhuibhne
Old Cross on Irish Language walking tour of West Kerry

They will soon be joined, one suspects, by exhibits from the latest chapter in the village’s history — the coming of Star Wars.

It was during one of the heritage walks that the ‘learning to laugh at your own mistakes’ plan began to unravel.

Mossie Ó Scanláin of Baile an Lochaigh, having treated us to an impassioned performance of sean-nós singing the previous night, was delivering an insightful talk on some of the more turbulent moments in the history of his native mountains and valleys.

Being English and a late starter in learning Irish, I was priding myself on following every word Mossie said.

Except one, the meaning of which, for reasons which still elude me, I felt compelled to ask.

Of all the words for an English native to get stuck on, it had to be this one: Cromail.

Not, as I had conjectured, a word for crooked or bent, though that could have been applicable too. Nope. Cromail (pronounced crumel) translates as Cromwell.

Oliver, to be precise.

Centuries of Anglo-Irish discord distilled in one word, and the anticipated moment of mortification had arrived.

The wrongs of my forefathers carried on my shoulders all the way back down that mountainy path were nearly as heavy as the weight of grammatical ignominy.

Walking soon begets hunger, though experience as a vegetarian has instilled in me a deep-seated sense of trepidation when asking for the menu in any restaurant that could be described as off the beaten track.

There’s still a large element of lottery involved, even in 2016.

You could get a gourmet feast, or if your luck’s out it’ll be the helpful waitress assuring you that vegetarians are fully catered for, only to return triumphantly with a plate of chips.

The sea views alone are something to savour at Bistro Borradh na Mara at Tigh Uí Ghormáin, perched on the cliffs at Baile na nGall, a stone’s throw from my impeccable accommodation at Hurleys’ farm, An Dooneen.

Watching the waves crash onto the rocks, sun streaming through the windows, with my first child-free weekend in 17 years stretching before me… I’d nearly have been happy with chips.

But I’d won the lottery this time.

An aubergine, sweet red pepper and cashew nut tagliatelle, with pasta and vegetables cooked lightly to perfection, was followed by a wickedly dark but not over-sweet gluten-free chocolate and hazelnut torte. Go haoibhinn!

There was no danger of forgetting my Gaeilge mission while filling my bolg.

It is a complaint sometimes levelled at native speakers that they automatically switch to Béarla on hearing a learner’s jarring efforts at their language.

But cleachtadh a dhéanann máistreacht, or practice makes perfect, and in Tigh Uí Ghormáin, as well as in local shops and pubs, even the slowest, most stilted attempts at conversation were met with patience, and courteous replies — which for the learner’s confidence, is as important as any formal class.

Gaeilge agus Siúlóidí Oidhreachta is just one of the short courses for adults run by Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne.

For those who don’t wish to climb every mountain or ford every stream in pursuit of their dream of fluency, there’s the choice of learning Gaeilge through yoga, art, poetry, history, or food- tasting, with prices starting at €135 excluding accommodation, or week-long courses for all levels.

New programme for 2017, see www.oidhreacht.ie.

Tigh Uí Ghormáin Bistro: www.gormans-clifftophouse.com .

An Dooneen farmhouse: www.hurleysbandb.com.

Anso is Ansúd 8ú Samhain 2016


8ú Samhain 2016


Ná casaigí ar Bhéarla! Tuigim Gaeilge

Go minic má bhíonn beirt nó triúr ag caint le chéile as Gaeilge agus tagann duine eile ina láthair atá ag foghlaim na Gaeilge nó nach bhfuil an teanga céad faoin gcéad ar a thoil aige, ar thug tú faoi deara go bhfuil sé de nós agus de chleachtas ann casadh ar Bhéarla? Ba mhaith le daoine bheith cúirtéiseach agus níor mhaith leo bheith drochbhéasach. Is nósmhaireacht í seo nach mbaineann le Gaeilge amháin ach baineann le hiompar daoine ar fud na cruinne a bhfuil an dá theanga ar eolas acu. Ach, ar rith sé riamh leat b’fhéidir gur mhaith leis an duine sin “ar bheagán Gaeilge” go leanfadh caint an chomhluadair ar aghaidh trí mheán na Gaeilge?  Tugann sé deis dóibh bheith ag éisteacht leis an teanga agus codanna di a thuiscint agus a shú isteach.  Cuimhnigh air ! Seo gníomhaíocht don phlean teanga a bheidh agat go luath.

Don’t switch to English! I understand Irish!

Often if there are two or three people talking together in Irish and another person comes on the scene who is learning Irish or whose grasp of the language is not one hundred per cent. Out of courtesy, the two or three speaking in Irish will switch to English. People want to be courteous and they do not want to be rude and exclude others on the basis of their apparent lack of language. This is standard practice worldwide among people with knowledge of two languages. But, did it ever occur to you that the person with “a bit of Irish” might actually want speakers in their company to continue speaking the language? It allows them to listen to the language and absorb and understand it. Think about it! This is an action point for you in your Language Plan which will be complete soon.
Muiris Ó Laoire
Institiúid Teicneolaíochta Thrá Lí, Co. Chiarraí.


Don’t switch to English! I understand Irish!
Ná casaigí ar Bhéarla! Tuigim Gaeilge


Léaráidí:  Dómhnal Ó Bric



Oireachtas na Gaeilge Cill Airne 2016


 Caitríona Budhlaeir, Róisín Dalby & Eibhlín Uí Iarlaithe.

 Ó chlé:  Caitríona Budhlaeir, Róisín Dalby & Eibhlín Uí Iarlaithe. (pic. Pádraig Mac Eochaidh)

Ba mhaith le foireann Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne tréaslú le gach aon duine a ghlac páirt in Oireachtas na Gaeilge 2016 i gCill Airne. Treise libh go léir!  Comhghairdeas  ach go háirithe le Eibhlín Uí Iarlaithe ar seoladh an tarna scéilín do leanaí léithe, sa tsraith Orla Uan – Orla Uan ar Scoil agus a chum an tAgallamh Beirte a bhuaigh Comórtas an Oireachtais fé 12 do Róisín Dalby & Antaine Ó Sé, Scoil an Fheirtéaraigh.  Tá Orla Uan ar Scoil ar díol anois ar €10 ó oifig Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne, Baile an Fheirtéaraigh:  066 9156100; orlaith@cfcd.ie


Orla Uan – Orla Uan ar Scoil


Dátaí don ndialann

Maidean Chaife & Cíoradh Focal

Cupa tae/caife agus seisiún cainte bríomhar arís maideaneacha Dé hAoine, ag Díseart, An Daingean óna 11.30 – 1.00.

Gearrchúrsa i Litríocht Chorca Dhuibhne

Beidh an tarna léacht sa tsraith seo ar siúl idir 7.00-9.30 sa Lárionad Gaeilge agus Gaeltachta i mBaile an Fheirtéaraigh ar an Aoine, 9ú Nollaig. An Dr Tomás Ó Murchú a thabharfaidh an chaint ar Litríocht an Bhlascaoid Mhóir. Fáilte roimh chách. €20 táille na hóiche. Arna eagrú ag Oidheracht Chorca Dhuibhne i gcomhar le Coláiste na hOllscoile, Corcaigh.
Breis Eolais: c.budhlaeir@ucc.ie nó
eolas@cfcd.ie / 066 91 56100 / Facebook .


An Fhéile Bheag Filíochta Baile an Fheirtéaraigh 11-13 Samhain


Amhráin agus Filíocht na nGormacha aistrithe go Gaelainn ag Liam Ó Muirthile agus Gabriel Rosenstock. Arna gcur i láthair ag na filí féin, Mary Ryan Blues Group,Dick Farrelly (giotár), Dave Fleming (dord)agus Tim Creedon (cnaguirlisí).  Físeanna á dteilgean ag Margaret Lonergan.  8.00 Dé Sathairn 12ú Samhain AN LAB, AN DAINGEAN

Ticéidí: €12
Gach eolas ar imeachtaí eile na féile ag www.feilebheagfiliochta.com

Dinnéar do Shinsir Bhaile an Fheirtéaraigh

Beidh an dinnéar ar fáil ag 1.00 ar an 17ú Samhain, 1 Nollaig agus 15ú Nollaig sa Lárionad Gaeilge agus Gaeltachta i mBaile an Fheirtéaraigh.

Comharchumann Forbartha Chorca
Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne
066 91 56100
www.oidhreacht.ie / www.cfcd.ie