Language preservation in Donegal ‘Céim Aniar’

Company name

Céim Aniar Teo

Location

Ros Goill, Co. Donegal

Grant

Feasibility Study Grant, Assistant Manager Grant and Administration grant

Dates

On-going since 2001

Project

At the turn of this century, language activists and a number of parents in Ros Goill in Co Donegal noticed a distressing decline in Irish spoken on the peninsula. Ros Gill is a small Gaeltacht area but for a variety of reasons – emigration, couples from various language backgrounds settling in the area, the marginal role of the Irish language in the education system in addition to pressure from the English speaking community – Irish was not being transmitted from the older to the younger generations.

A number of community members were concerned about the erosion and decline of the language in their community and to combat this, they formed a group called Céim Aniar Teo to reverse the decline in Ros Gill. They obtained a grant from Údarás to carry out a survey, which indicated a decline in the spoken language in the home and community, but a corresponding rise in interest in its preservation. On the basis of this survey, Údarás provided funds for a part-time development officer, appointed January 2002.

Three people are currently employed by Céim Aniar Teo for the implementation of it’s work programme in it’s operational areas and it co-ordinates and organizes most of the activities related to the enhancement, preservation and transmission of the Irish language in Ros Gill. These include a naíonra, TEG (graded accredited Irish classes), Irish classes, after-school activities, drama classes, cultural nights, quizzes, and the publication of Guth Ghoill, a monthly newsletter. Údarás offers support to all such activities.

Céim Aniar Teo has established a link with a number of other language groups within and outside the Gaeltacht and is active in a wide range of Irish cultural and social activities.

Results

The results of this Údarás-funded community initiative have been excellent. Says Fiona Pasoma, Céim Aniar Teo Manager: “Irish is much more audible and visible throughout the area now. There are signs in Irish in shops and restaurants – we went in and asked for them to be put up. Young people are also much more confident about speaking Irish.”

In 2005 for the first time, Ros Goill children entered the Oireachtas competitions where they not only thoroughly enjoyed themselves but took away two prizes in the storytelling category. The number of children applying for the Irish Speaking Scheme has increased significantly over the past five years and also the number of children in receipt of the grant.”

Perspective

Céim Aniar Teo established Naíonra Dhiarmada & Gráinne which is funded by Comhar Naíonraí na Gaeltachta Teo. Céim Aniar Teo understands the importance of transmitting Irish to young children and of providing cultural activities to make language acquisition opportunities available, including verse-speaking competitions. Irish is now a dynamic progressive language which may be enjoyed. Céim Aniar is widely seen as one of the most successful projects aimed at reversing language decline in the Gaeltacht.