Holywood’s Gaelic Speakers

Ard Mhic Nasca na Gaeilge!

Art maic Nasca for brú Locha Laig i n- Ultaib. Félire Óengusa., 830c.

Tá an baile beag Ard Mhic Nasca, nó ‘Holywood’ mar a athbhaisteadh air i mBéarla, go mór sa nuacht na laethanta seo mar gheall ar ráitis a mhic is clúití, Rory McIlroy, i leith a náisiúntachta, é ag rá go mothaíonn sé níos ‘Briotanaigh’ ná ‘Éireannaí’.

Ní luaitear go minic gur áit le labhairt na Gaeilge an baile se,o ach mar is léir ón bhfriotal thuas ó Fhélire Óengusa (circa 800 AD), go bhfuil stair fhada ag an nGaeilge ar an mbaile.

Ní ceart smaoineamh go mbaineann sin leis an stair amháin, áfach, mar go bhfuil pobal Gaelach ar an mbaile agus paistí á dtógáil le Gaeilge ann.

Tá tuairim is 12,037 daoine ina gcónaí ar an bhaile, an tromlach acu ina bProtastúnaigh.

De réir na staitisticí is déanaí a bhfuil fáil orthu, tá tuairim is 450 Gaeilgeoir ar an mbaile, sin tuairim is 4% den phobal.

Tá an mhórchuid acu sin ina gCaitlicigh, ach níl gach duine acu, ábhar iontais nuair a chuirtear san áireamh nach dteagasctar an Ghaeilge scoileanna Protastúnacha.

Ar cheann de na Gaeil is clúití ar an bhaile tá an Dr. Ruairí de Bléine, údar ‘Presbyterians and the Irish language’ agus cathaoirleach ar Chumann Gaelach Ard Mhic Nasca.

“Bhunaigh an Moinsíneoir Ó Laifeartaigh craobh de Chonradh na Gaeilge anseo in 1902,” a mhínigh sé do Ghaelscéal

“Is é an Mons. Ó Laifeartaigh a scríobh stair dheifinídeach an pharóiste agus ní raibh a shárú ann go fóill.

“Tosaíonn stair na Gaeilge le Laisrén a bhunaigh an baile timpeall 650 AD. Go dtí timpeall 1700 AD ba cheantar iomlán Gaeilge é.”

“Athbhunaíodh an chraobh sa bhliain 1921 agus tá obair an Chumainn ag leanstan ar aghaidh go leanúnach ó shin,” a dúirt sé. “Gidh gur mionlach (timpeall 20%) iad siúd a bhfuil “dearcadh an náisiúnaí” acu, tá meas ginearálta ag an phobal ar chúrsaí Éireannacha.

“Tá sé fíor go fóill an méid a dúradh sa bhliain 1910 faoin bhaile seo, In no town in Ireland are the relations between all creeds and classes so amicable as in Holywood.”

“Níor cuireadh isteach riamh ar an dearcadh liobrálach Éireannach atá ag an bpobal leis na céadta bliana. Níl ceantracha speisialta do chreidimh ná do ranna polaitíochta ann mar atá i mBéal Feirste.”

“Aithnítear an Ghaeilge mar shruthán dúchasach na háite,” a dúirt an Dr. de Bléine.

“Tá Leabharlann Ard Mhic Nasca go speisialta cairdiúil linn agus bíonn Féile Nasca á reáchtáil againn sna seomraí ansin i mí an Mhárta achan bhliain.

“Bíonn leachtaí againn faoin Ghaeilge agus timpeall 50 duine i láthair, daoine ó na creidimh uilig,” a dúirt Ruairí.

Mar a bheifeá ag súil leis, tá ranganna Gaeilge ar bun ar an mbaile.

Bíonn siad ar siúl san Eaglais Phreispitéireach Neamh-Aontaithe (Non-Subscribing) i lár an bhaile agus freastalaíonn timpeall is 24 duine ar na ranganna.

Ach tá níos mó na ranganna ar bun ag an gCumann Gaelach.

“Maidir le Comhluadar, tá timpeall ar dosaen páistí ag teacht le chéile, leanaí ar tógadh le Gaeilge iad.”

“Tá 4-6 de theaghlaigh ag tógáil a gcuid páistí le Gaeilge. Tá tuigbheáil níos leithne anois ann gur buntáiste ollmhór é seo agus gur fiú go mór an iarracht, maidir le hoideachas, cultúr, féinmhuinín agus cothú pobail; agus tá sin amhlaidh in ainneoin na ndeacrachtaí praiticiúla,” dar le Ruairí.

Ar an chéad amharc, ní mórán é 4- 6 theaghlach ag tógáil a gcuid páistí in Éirinn, ach is féidir a rá go cinnte, gur mó an méid teaghlach sin ná mar a bhíonn i gcuid is mó de bhailte na hÉireann.

This weeks Gaelscéal; new direct action graffiti campaign in Galway Gaeltacht targets private business, a tactic Wales is well used to but unknown in Ireland

Mar shampla, níor thuill ach 7 dteaghlach an deontas iomlán i Scéim Labhairt na Gaeilge i Maigh Cuilinn, Co. na Gaillimhe, agus roinnt mhaith den pharóiste sin sa Ghaeltacht Oifigiúil.

Is féidir níos mó eolais a fháil faoi Chumann Gaelach Ard Mhic Nasca tríd an nasc a leanas. http://www.holywood-gaelach.com/index.htm

Hollywood’s Gaelic Speakers

Art maic Nasca for brú Locha Laig i n- Ultaib. Félire Óengusa., 830c.

The little town of Ard Mhic Nasca, or Holywood as it was renamed in English, has been in the news lately due its most famous son, Rory McIlroy, stating that he feels more British than Irish.

The town isn’t often mentioned in connection to the Irish language but as is clear from the quotation from Félire Óengusa (circa 800 AD), the language has a long history in the town.

But it is not something connected solely with the past, there is an Irish speaking community in the town and children are being reared with the language in Holywood.

There are approximately 12,000 people in the town, most of them Protestants. There are around 450 Irish speakers, or around 4% of the population

Most of these, but not all, are Catholics, which could be seen as surprising given that Irish is not taught in ‘Protestant’ schools.

One of the best known Gaels in the town is Dr. Ruairí de Bléine, the author of ‘Presbyterians and the Irish language’ agus the chairman of the Holywood Irish Society.

“Monsignor Ó Laifeartaigh founded a branch of the Gaelic League here in 1902,” he explained to Gaelscéal.

“Monsignor Ó Laifeartaigh wrote the definitive history of this parish and it hasn’t been surpassed to this day

“The history of the Irish language begins with Laisrén who founded the town around 650 AD, until around 1700 AD this was an entirely Irish speaking area.

“The branch [of the Gaelic League] was reformed in 1921 agus the society’s work has been continuing ever since,” he stated.

“Although those of a ‘Nationalist Outlook’ are a minority, Irish matters are generally respected.

“It is still true of the town what was stated of the town in 1910, ‘In no town in Ireland are the relations between all creeds and classes so amicable as in Holywood’.

“The liberal outlook which this community has held for hundreds of years remains undiminished. There are no special areas for certain religions or political outlooks as there is in Belfast

“The Irish language is recognised as a native stream of the area,” stated Dr. de Bléine.

“Hollywood Library is especially good to us and we organise Féile Nasca in their rooms in March every year.

“We have lectures about the Irish language which are attended by around 50 people, people of all faiths.”

As would be expected, there are Irish language classes in the town, they are held in the non-subscribing Presbyterian Hall, around 24 people attend these classes. But the society organises more than classes.

“With regards to Comluadar [An organisation which helps Irish speaking families with social events], there are around 12 children gathering, children reared with Irish.

“There are 4-6 Irish speaking families. There is more understanding nowadays, of the great advantages, that it is well worth the effort, with regards to education, culture, self-esteem and community spirit; and that is the case despite the practical difficulties.”

In the first instance, 4-6 families doesn’t seem like many, but it can be stated with some certainty that that is a greater number than in most Irish towns.

For example, only 7 families won the full grant in last years ‘Scéim Labhairt na Gaeilge’ (a now defunct scheme which in theory was devised to promote Irish in the home) in Maigh Cuilinn, County Galway, with much of that parish in the official Gaeltacht (4 families received the reduced grant).

You can find out more out the Hollywood Irish society through the link below.

http://www.holywood-gaelach.com/index.htm

[This report was taken from Gaelscéal’s Ulster news section, 26/9/12]

Freelance journalist, working mostly in Irish.

Have my own independent news website – antuairisceoir.com – which is in constant need of material.

I am the former editor of the newspaper Gaelscéal, www.gaelsceal.ie