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01 Oct 2022

New project empowers parents in Waterford to lift Irish language off the page and into the home

New project empowers parents in Waterford to lift Irish language off the page and into the home

‘Is Féidir Linn’ aims to make the language accessible for all parents and guardians, regardless of their own Irish language skills or experience

Inspired by the challenges of home schooling during the pandemic, a new digital Irish language resource is now available for parents and guardians in Waterford. 

‘Is Féidir Linn’ aims to make the language accessible for all parents and guardians, regardless of their own Irish language skills or experience, using phrases, stories and songs for children about the daily routines of family life.

Launched by broadcaster, writer and parent, Maia Dunphy, the resource was developed by Gael Linn, an organisation which supports schools in promoting the use of the Irish language beyond the classroom.

The interactive resource, which is accessible on computer and mobile devices, features everyday phrases in both English and Irish, as well as a sound-recording of each to help with pronunciation.

The new resource has evolved from a social media campaign, #GaeilgeSaBhaile, that Gael Linn created during the pandemic to support families home schooling.

Useful phrases for parents include “Brostaigh ort, maith an cailín”, “Hurry up, good girl”, and inspired by the pandemic, “Ná dean dearmad do lámha a ní”, “Don’t forget to wash your hands”.

Speaking at the launch of ‘Is Féidir Linn’, Edel Ní Bhraonáin, Gaelbhratach Project Co-ordinator at Gael Linn, said: 

“While home schooling during the pandemic, many parents and guardians in Waterford, and across Ireland, found themselves using more Irish with their children, some having not used the language themselves since school, or having never learned it at all.

“While it may have been a challenge at the time, we’ve heard from many who were also inspired to reignite their love and use of the language, or to begin learning Irish for the first time.

“This resource has been designed with the parent in mind, as much as the child, with accessible stories and songs that lift the language off the page and the screen, to give families the language for everyday activities at home like getting ready for school or the bedtime routine.

“ Incorporating Irish into the everyday like this is an easy and effective way for parents to bring Irish out of the classroom and into the home.”

Lucia Atencia is a mum of two based in Galway. Originally from Spain, she came to Ireland to teach Spanish in primary schools and decided to stay when her contract ended.  

She is now a fluent Irish speaker, raising her children in multilingual household. Commenting on her journey with the language, Lucia said:

“When I arrived in Ireland, I had never spoken Irish before and had no experience of the language, but quickly developed an interest and passion for it.

“The most important thing with learning any language is bringing it into your daily life and routines as much as you possibly can and Is Féidir Linn is a practical and accessible resource to help support your child’s language journey.”

Funded by Foras na Gaeilge, ‘Is Féidir Linn’ is available for free at: www.gaelbhratach.ie/is-feidir-linn/.

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