As Irish people, we should be honoured and proud to have our own language. We should consider ourselves lucky to have the chance to learn the language in school. However this is not the case…
As a student in an English speaking secondary school in a non-Gaeltacht area, I can tell you first-hand that the Irish language is anything but enjoyed. Students dread the Irish class and complain about how their time could be spent on more useful activities. I dread Irish class also however I do not hate the language. I know that I feel proud to have my own language and I feel that it should be enforced and enjoyed on our little island. The problem lies in the way that it is enforced.
On the Irish junior cert course are countless short stories and poems and the vocabulary that students learn are mostly to do with said stories and poems. This would be nice… if students could actually speak the basic language. For example, if I was to go to the Gaeltacht for a month I would have no problem speaking about emotions in “Subh Milis” by Seamus O'Neill or the tragedy in “An tÁdh” by Pádraic O'Conaire but I would most certainly struggle to understand certain language and would not be capable of getting certain ideas across to people.
It has gotten to the point where I know more basic German after 2 years than Irish after more than 10 years.
Enforcing Gaeilge would be so much more effective if we were taught to speak the language instead of being taught to rote-learn sample answers on poetry and prose. Rote-learning is not learning a language. Poetry and prose should be enjoyed when people can comfortably speak and understand a language without a teacher translating it word for word. Our Irish language would be embraced and enjoyed so much more if we weren’t forced to learn such painfully boring stories. Dear An Taoiseach, please, please, please alter the way Irish Is taught at second level. I know that it would be much more effective at preserving our own, native language. And just to prove my point about this corrupt system, the reason I have not sent you letter is because my teachers have said that it is a waste of time to learn how to write a formal letter, as it is easier to pass the exam using an informal letter. Thank you for reading.