Seachtain na Gaeilge: Ich bin ein Gaeilgeoir
I mentioned the other day that as part of it's Seachtain na Gaeilge coverage, the Irish Times was looking for contributions from readers abroad about their use of Irish.
Today, they carry a piece by Kilian McDonagh in Berlin, who went along to a Conradh na Gaeilge meeting when he first arrived in Berlin.
This particular paragraph is worth quoting in full:
I was not immune from these hang-ups about Irish before I came here. But it is amazing how liberating it is to realise that Irish is just like any other language. It can be learned, practised and used in everyday life if the will exists to do so. One of the main reasons it seems people back home are reluctant to speak it is that they are afraid to sound stupid in front of other English speakers; as if the fact that their Irish is not perfect is such a cause of shame that they are afraid to let others, whose Irish is probably even worse than theirs is, know about it. This national shame and resulting defensive scorn poses a huge obstacle to normalising the use of Irish in daily life in Ireland.