A ordinary man who achieved extraordinary things…

I have often found it frustrating that the lives of ordinary men and women who achieved extraordinary things with their lives, never make it into the mainstream press. Kudos then to the Irish Times for marking the passing of a quiet, generous, principled and hard working west Belfast man who was one of several moving spirits behind the rejuvenation of the Irish language in Northern Ireland. Joe Mistéal never, in my hearing, preached or proselytised his commitment to the Irish language or his politics. He lived them. The story of the Shaws Road Gaeltacht, of which he was an integral part, tells its own story of the assertion of a quiet but confident self belief:

In 1970 the Gaeltacht community established Bunscoil Pobail Feirste as the North’s first Irish-language school, with Seosamh a member of the committee and his daughter Siubhán a pupil. There are now 79 Irish-language schools in the North.

Ar deis Dé go raibh a anam dhílis…

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