Earlier this year when I got a notion to learn more than just my cúpla focal and was subsequently inspired to write some poetry as Gaeilge after a trip to an Daingean – which you can read about here – I did a lot of googling for information on opportunities to learn more of our native tongue.
During this exploration, I stumbled across the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht’s website and on further investigation I discovered the Language Support Pack. Excellent, I thought, that would be ideal to help me learn more Irish – oh wait, it’s for children.
I read the information properly and realised that it’s actually a language pack ‘for families raising their children through Irish or those who wish to do so’, which technically speaking would cover pretty much everyone who wants their children to study Irish in school and/or would hope for them to become fluent in the language. That’s what I wanted for myself and so it would make sense to start my children off on that path from an early age.
The pack is aimed at pre-school aged children but children aged between 0 and 5 are eligible.
There is a form to fill out which can be found on the site but when I stumbled across this information I thought; Oh, I’ll definitely apply for that, and proceeded to immediately forget all about it. It wasn’t until a couple of months ago when I revisited my poem as Gaeilge to finish it off that I even remembered the pack.
I had saved the e-mail, which is: email@example.com and, forgetting all about the application form, I quickly fired off an e-mail requesting the pack and supplied my child’s name, age, date of birth and our postal address. That was it – I forgot all about it again (my brain’s not the same as it once was – thank you children) and so less than a month later, when a package arrived, it was a lovely surprise to see some beautiful books as Gaeilge.
There’s a lovely selection from board books to story books, most of which have CD’s supplied – thankfully because I think it’s crucial for children to hear the words spoken correctly, and while my husband is a dab hand at the old Irish I would, most likely, butcher the pronunciations.
My three-year-old was delighted with the books and why wouldn’t she be? She loves books and Irish or English is doesn’t really matter to her yet since she can’t exactly read in either language. I’m just glad she has the opportunity of a head start to learn her native language and, if I’m being honest, I’m happy to have some children’s level Irish books to help me along on my journey of expanding my cúpla focal.
So, there you go, if you want your free Language Support Pack – a beautiful collection of books as Gaeilge – all you have to do is e-mail your child’s name, age, date of birth and your postal address to firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in the application form on the website.
Also, from what I can gather, you’re entitled to a pack per child so no need for sharing. Although, ‘Is roinnt ag tabhairt aire.’ (I really hope that’s right!)