ATTEMPTS to restore devolution at Stormont were torpedoed last month due to an ongoing row over the Irish language but for some people in Fermanagh the language is part of local life.
Drive through the county’s main town of Enniskillen which derives its name from a translation of the Irish ‘Inis Ceithlean’ meaning ‘Island of Kathleen’ and the use of Irish can be clearly seen and heard.
Around the county there are many bilingual road signs erected by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council on crossings, children attend Irish school Bunscoil an Traonaigh in Lisnaskea and weekly Irish classes at Enniskillen Castle are widely attended. There’s Irish on the side of Council vans, Irish on various buildings and a host of Irish language events held throughout the year which focus on dancing, talks and discussions; music sessions; concerts and festivals and singing in Irish workshops. There are even bursaries available from the Council to support attendance at Gaeltacht courses and some shopkeepers have even erected their own signs in Irish. 
Writer Seamas Mac Annaidh describes Irish as his “artistic medium.”
“Some people sculpt in granite, others paint in water colours. Someone else plays the trumpet,” he told The Impartial Reporter.
“It’s not my first language but I can express myself in it in a way that I can’t do in English. It’s like the way that every musician is born with a voice but they can do more amazing things with the instrument that they have learned to play,” he said. 
“Irish is very much part of life in Fermanagh,” said Siobhán Currie, a member of Hillview and Kilmacormick II Community Association who holds a weekly Irish class in the local library in the island town.
“People come together regardless of background, in fact background never comes in to it, it is purely for a love of the language,” she explained.
The group was formed 18 months ago, with Council funding, and according to Ms. Currie it has been “an absolute delight to see people growing in confidence, not just in terms of the language, but in themselves.”
“Unemployment and social isolation are two big issues in our area and we wanted to provide something that people could engage with in an effort to tackle this. The results have been fantastic,” she said.
According the 2011 Census figures, within the Fermanagh and Omagh District 14.54 per cent of the local population had some knowledge of the Irish language with 5,049 people having the ability to speak, read and write in Irish which represents 4.46 per cent of the population.
“The Irish language is deeply rooted in our society. We use it every day in our spoken language and in the place names around us. 
“The language connects us all to the land and to the environment and enriches our understanding of it,” said Ms. Currie.