Gael force to be reckoned with

Published: 27 Sep 2012 13:000 comments

IT was Daniel O'Connell who said do not learn the Irish language for it is the language of the peasants and not the language of the industrialisation.

Denise Crudden, Frank O'Reilly and Tommy Maguire enjoying the banter at Blake's of the Hollow.

And 165 years after his death the sharp tongue of O'Connell, a formidable political leader, still riles those who are passionate about speaking Irish.

"It was unfortunate that historical figures compounded the colonist idea. What O'Connell said didn't do the language any good," admits Thomas Maguire, a fluent Irish-speaker.

The Sinn Fein councillor from Enniskillen is a member of Sruth an hÉirne, an Irish-speaking group that was set up in 2005 and has since flourished into something very special indeed.

"Why is it called Sruth an hÉirne? Because the name means the stream of the Erne. We want the language to stream, to flow. We are not doing it to show off and it certainly isn't being done to confront anyone. It is to try and make Irish as naturally as possible. There is a desire to learn it."

The group meets every Wednesday night at Blakes of the Hollow, one of the town's oldest pubs, where they discuss life and language over a few pints. But don't be fooled into thinking this Irish language group is confined to the pubs - or the past - because that would be "missing the point".

"This isn't about sitting around like people did in the old days and speaking in Irish. This isn't about going to a farmer's house in the evening and sitting around the fire. That type of image is wrong. The significance of the old pub isn't how old it is. The significance is we are getting the Irish language out there to the centre of the town. We are not trying to do this to be nostalgic and we are not trying to promote this as a nostalgic language either. It is a social event," he said.

The emphasis across Ireland, North and South, is that the language is alive, says Mr Maguire.

"It is a vibrant language. We aren't looking back at it, we are looking forward, especially with the blossoming of all the little Gaels clubs around the county. It is useful for young people because it covers all aspects of life. Take a dander around the internet and you can do anything in Irish; use Facebook, read articles on Wikipedia."

Mr Maguire says looking ahead to the future and encouraging young people to get involved is important for the group.

"There is an onus on us, the older guys, to create an Irish-speaking community," he says, before adding: "It is not being done for tokenism but to promote a very rich culture".

He recalls sitting in a local pub and speaking to a young man for 45 minutes in Irish.

"There wasn't one bit of English spoken in that time. On another occasion I remember standing on the steps of the Townhall, too, and someone went past and I engaged with them in Irish. If you want to have a conversation -- two people is enough. That's our group's motto," he added.

Mr Maguire says he would prefer if Irish didn't create an impact in Fermanagh, but that others acknowledged that many people of all backgrounds speak it.

Jump to first paragraph.


comments powered by Disqus

Get more stories from our Roundup section

19 Apr 2014 13:00 • Editorial Department

Road rage car chase for boxing champ who turned away from possible fight

A boxing champion shied away from a fight with a man over twice his age only to become embroiled in a road rage incident.


19 Apr 2014 11:00 • Editorial Department

Milk suppliers assured that Society is debt free

The forty-eight former Fivemiletown milk suppliers have been assured that Fivemiletown and Brookeborough Co-operative and Agricultural Dairy Society (the Society) is debt free and that they will “continue to be paid”.

Social: Comments0 comments

19 Apr 2014 09:00 • Rodney Edwards

Elliott votes against bill on powers for new Super Councils

ULSTER Unionist MLA Tom Elliott has joined his party colleagues in voting against the Local Government Bill, the legislation that sets out the powers of the new Super Councils. Mr. Elliott spoke of his concern around community planning ahead of the amalgamation which will see 26 Councils merge into 11, including the amalgamation of Fermanagh District Council and Omagh District Council


19 Apr 2014 08:30

Police name motorcyclist killed in Fivemiletown crash

Police can confirm that a male motorcyclist has died following a two vehicle road traffic collision on the Belfast Road in Fivemiletown last night, Friday 18 April.


18 Apr 2014 22:00 • Rodney Edwards

Orange audit: 93 per cent believe Catholics ‘suspicious’ of order

A MAJOR survey into the Orange Order in Fermanagh has found that 92.8 per cent of people who took part in the project believe Catholics are “suspicious” of the organisation.

Social: Comments0 comments

18 Apr 2014 19:00

'We have a big eight days ahead of us' - Anderson

By 5pm on Saturday April 26 all the decisions will be made in the Danske Bank Premiership and Championship One. The destination of the title will be decided and who is going down or which teams are facing a play off will be known.


18 Apr 2014 17:00 • Rodney Edwards

Enterprise Minister disagrees with keeping Aventas Group all locally owned

ENTERPRISE Minister Arlene Foster says she cannot support the view of local political representatives, including her DUP colleague Maurice Morrow, that the Aventas Group in Derrylin must remain exclusively locally owned.

Social: Comments0 comments

18 Apr 2014 15:00 • Editorial Department

Tweets of the Week - did you make it?

Charlie Lawson @charlie_lawson1 I’m reliably informed that my alter ego and constant companion is to return, so he is. Must contact The Home Secretary to confirm.

Social: Comments0 comments

18 Apr 2014 13:00 • Editorial Department

Foster vows to take school merger to the Assembly

“I am not powerless, I will fight this,” declares Stormont Minister Arlene Foster as she reflects on the fall-out over the proposal by the Western Education and Library Board to amalgamate Portora Royal School with Collegiate Grammar School.

Social: Comments0 comments

18 Apr 2014 11:00 • Lily Dane

Those were the days: Miss Derryclavin Selected

This image “Miss Derryclavin” Selected was featured in The Impartial Reporter on April 16, 1964.

Social: Comments0 comments

18 Apr 2014 08:30

Depression is an illness, mourners told at Kenny Andrews funeral

MOURNERS at the funeral of Brookeborough man Kenneth Andrews who died unexpectedly last week were told that the 47-year-old had been fighting a private battle with depression.


17 Apr 2014 19:00 • Rodney Edwards

#fermanaghspake This Week is...

‘I’m not half well’

Social: Comments0 comments

17 Apr 2014 18:06 • Rodney Edwards

Would-be Unionist politician admits Catholic Facebook question was 'badly worded'

A would-be politician seeking a seat in the new Fermanagh and Omagh Council for the Ulster Unionist Party has defended himself for a second time following comments he made on Facebook.


17 Apr 2014 17:01

Fermanagh's 'different breed' that sets the Orange Standard

Let me get the amateur sociology out of the way first: ‘Out-group homogeneity’. It describes a bias that any group of people are prone to have.


17 Apr 2014 16:30

Why are you 'punishing a good school'?

The proposed Development Proposal to close both Enniskillen Collegiate School and Portora Royal School and open a new school on a split site, will go before the members of the Western Education and Library Board on May 8 for approval.


17 Apr 2014 15:57

Meeting exposed WELB's 'weak process and weak argument' says Collegiate head

THE Collegiate Grammar School’s consultation meeting on its proposed amalgamation with Portora Royal exposed the Western Education Library Board’s (WELB) “weak process and weak argument”, according to principal, Elizabeth Armstrong.


17 Apr 2014 15:14

Collegiate parents walk out after rudeness of WELB official

PARENTS of Collegiate Grammar School have accused Western Education Library Board (WELB) officials of hiding their personal vested interest in a proposal that would see the school merge with Portora Royal next year.


17 Apr 2014 14:29 • Meadhbh Monahan

Angry homeowners duped by rogue driveway worker caled Roadstone

HOMEOWNERS in Enniskillen are “disgusted” with workmen who took hundreds of pounds for cleaning their driveways, but never finished the job.


17 Apr 2014 14:06

Enniskillen by-pass could start in four years says Minister

WORK on the long-awaited Southern by-pass of Enniskillen could start in four years’ time but only if the millions needed for the scheme can be found, Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy has said.


17 Apr 2014 13:11

No referendum on fracking at Council elections

Fermanagh District Council is unlikely to hold a fracking referendum after legal advice has recommended against it.