As the only university in England, Scotland and Wales offering a degree in Irish Language and Literature we are always eager to hear from and help groups teaching and learning Irish in the UK.
Last week Peadar visited Manchester Irish Language Group to help out with a day of language workshops.
MILG is a local community group of Irish speakers and learners based around Manchester. Over thirty people turned out for a fun day of classes and chat, hosted by the Irish World Heritage Centre just north of Manchester City Centre. Run by volunteers who teach classes and organise conversation circles and other events throughout the year, the group does amazing work in promoting Irish language and literature, as well as reaching out to the Irish diaspora, in Manchester and the region. The day of workshops provided a great opportunity for learners to come together and practice using their Irish in an informal and friendly atmosphere. People came from far and wide for a day of Irish with individuals and groups coming from Newcastle, Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Buxon as well as lots from closer to home.
We were especially thrilled to bump into Seán, originaly from Corr na Móna on the Galway/Mayo border but living in London and Surrey for decades. Seán was randomly in the building for an entirely different event but happened to pop his head around the door on hearing a familiar accent. He was eventually coaxed to come in to the class for a chat and shared memories of school telling us about how he came to live in the UK.
Among the people who came impressive lengths was Terri from Birmingham who had been teaching GCSE Irish to adults and students in Birmingham and Manchester! Hopefully some of her students will want to carry on to do a degree in Irish – beidh míle fáilte rompu in Aberystwyth na nGael!