Tomhas na Teanga

Bíonn an aimsir go breá an t-am seo bliana, agus is breá liom a bheith amuigh faoin spéir ag spaisteoireacht.  The weather is fine this time of year and I love to be outdoors walking around. Tamall ó shin, fuair mé comharsanacht an-suimiúil in Brooklyn agus mé ag siúlóid.  A while ago, I found a very interesting neighbourhood in Brooklyn while I was on a walk. Vinegar Hill a thugtar uirthi.  It’s called… Tá sí taobh leis na Brooklyn Navy Yards.  It’s next to… Tá cúpla alt suimiúil ann faoi ag www.forgotten-ny.com, faoi “na comharsanachtaí.” There are a couple of interesting articles about it at…under “neighborhoods.” Ainmníodh an áit in ómós do Chnoc Fíodh na gCaor lasmuigh d’Inis Córthaidh i gContae Loch Garman, mar a raibh cath tábhacht ar 21 Meitheamh, 1798.  The place was named in honor of …outside of Enniscorthy in Wexford, where there was an important battle on June 21st, 1798. Ár agus slad uafásach ar na Gaeil sin, fiú ar mhná is páistí, agus is iomaí uafás a rinne arm Shasana ar na Gaeil ina dhiaidh mar gheall air.  A slaughter and massacre of the Irish that, even of women and children, and many a horror was done by the English army to the Irish afterwards because of it. Tubaiste d’Éirinn ab ea an cath seo (tá alt maith faoi ag ga.wikipedia.org). This battle was a disaster for Ireland. Nach aisteach go mbaisteadh an t-ainm sin ar an gcomharsanacht seo?  Isn’t it odd that this neighborhood was given that name? Ach rinne an duine a thóg na tithe seo amhlaidh chun na hÉireannaigh a mhealladh chuici.  But the person who built these houses did so in order to attract the Irish to it. Is dócha go mbíodh Éireannaigh ina gcónaí ann, ach ina dhiaidh sin tháinig gach saghas duine, agus ní raibh dea-chlú ar an áit i gcónaí.  I suppose there used to be Irish living there, but afterwards every kind of person came, and the place didn’t always have a good reputation. Ba í seo an chéad áit a raibh Al Capone ina chónaí!  This was the first place where AC resided!

Chuaigh Capone go Cicero agus Siceágo Illinois, áiteanna a maraigh sé a lán coirpeach de shliocht na hÉireann, mar a tharla. Capone went to …and Chicago…, places in which he killed a lot of criminals of Irish descent, as it happened. Ar dtús, ghlac sé seilbh ar rialtas Cicero ó choirpigh le hainmneacha mar Myles O’Donnell, agus mharaigh sé daoine le hainmneacha mar Bill McSwiggins.   First he took over Cicero from criminals with names like…, and he killed people with names like… Ansin, in Siceágó féin, bhí cogadh ann idir drong Capone ó dheisceart na cathrach agus drong thuaisceart na cathrach, Bugs Moran i measc a cheannairí.  Then, in Chicago itself, there was a war between Capone’s gang from the south side and the north side gang, …among its leaders. Ba é dúnmhárú duine darb ainm Dion O’Banion a thosaigh an cath a chríochnaíodh le Sléach Lá ‘le Valaintín. It was the murder of a person named… that started the battle which ended with the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Deirtear uaireanta go bhfuil droch-chlú ar shliocht na hIodáile mar gheall ar na coirpigh, ach ní lú ná iad líon na gcoirpeach ab ea de shliocht na hÉireann, is oth liom a rá!  Sometimes people say that the Italians have a bad reputation because of the criminals, but there were no fewer criminals who had an Irish background, I regret to say!

I Nua-Eabhrac ag an am céanna sin a bhí drong i gCistín Ifrinn darb ainm an Gopher Gang, agus ba de shliocht na hÉireann a bhaill uile.  In New York at that same time there was a gang in Hell’s Kitchen called the…,, and all its members were Irish. An duine ba mhó díobhsan ná Owney “The Killer” Madden. The biggest of them was… Sea, is dócha go bhfaca a lán daoine an scannán The Gangs of New York.  Yeah, I guess a lot of people have seen the movie… Ba iad na hÉireannaigh sna Cúig Phointe a bhí i gceist, agus cé nach raibh an scannán sin cruinn go huile is go hiomlán, is iomaí drong Éireannach a bhí ann gan aon agó, agus bhí droch-chlú ar an gcomharsanacht sin.  The Irish in the Five Points were the subject, and although that film wasn’t perfectly accurate, there were a lot of Irish gangs, without question, and that neighborhood had a bad reputation. Théadh na daoine saibhre go dtí na Cúig Phointe chun na bochtáin a fheiscint agus sin as a bhfuaireamar an téarma ‘slumming.’  The rich people used to go to the Five Points to see the poor people and that’s where we get the term… Bhí na daoine sin thíos leis an mbochtannas agus leis an gcoireacht ina dtimpeall.  Those people suffered from poverty and the crime all around them.

Bhí mo shinsir féin ina gcónaí sa chomharsanacht sin, mar a tharlaíonn, agus níorbh coirpigh iadsan.  My own ancestors lived in that neighborhood, as it happens, and they weren’t criminals. Agus ní gá dom a lua an méad Éireannach a bhí agus atá ina bpóilíní, srl.  And I don’t need to mention how many Irish were and are policemen, etc. Ní mór dúinn a bheith bródúil as ár sinsir agus as na hÉireannaigh a rinne mórán rudaí maithe sa tír seo.  We need to be proud of our ancestors and of the Irish who did a lot of good things in this country. Ach leis sin, ní mór go n-admhaímid nach raibh gach mac máthar díobh go maith!  But along with that, we need to admit that every mother’s son of them wasn’t good! Tarlaíonn a leithéid…  These things happen…

Tomhas na Teanga

Táim i mo eagarthóir ar an leagan nua den tseaniris cháiliúil An Gael. I am the editor of the new version of the famous old publication An Gael. Ag deireadh an naoíú aois déag, bhí a bunaitheoir, Mícheál Ó Lócháin, fós ina eagarthóir uirthi.  At the end of the 19th century, its founder, Michael Logan, was still the editor. Duine an-suimiúil ab ea é, agus an-díograiseach i leith na teanga agus i leith saoirse d’Éirinn.  He was a very interesting person, and very enthusiastic about the language and about freedom for Ireland. Radacach ab ea é, le fírinne.  In truth, he was a radical. Agus ní raibh sé sásta ná foighneach le daoine nach n-aontaigh leis maidir le cúrsaí polaitiúla nó cúrsaí teangan.  And he was not happy about or patient with people who didn’t agree with him concerning politics or the language.

Rinne mé taighde ar an tseaniris le déanaí, agus fuair mé an tagairt seo, a scríobh MÓL in 1891, d’Ord Ársa seo na nGael:  A while ago, I did research on the old magazine, and I found this reference, which MÓL wrote in 1891, to this Ancient Order of Hibernians:

“In last Gael we asked our Hibernian and other Irish-society friends what they had done during their existence to preserve Irish nationality.  We have received no answer yet—nor never shall!”

Bhuel, a Mhícheáil, seo duit do fhreagra.  Well, Michael, here’s your answer.

Cheap Ó Lócháin nach rabhamar ar a thaobh maidir leis an teanga.  Logan thought we were not on the language’s side. Pé tuairim ia bhí aige agus pé dearcadh a bhíodh ag an ord san aois sin, is léir nach amhlaidh an scéal sa lá atá inniu ann (buíochas le Dia).  Whatever opinion he had and whatever outlook the order had at that time, it’s clear that that’s not the case nowadays (thank God). Ní mise an chéad cholúnaí Gaeilge ar an nuachtán seo, agus tá colún rialta agamsa ó Bhealtaine 2002.  I’m not the first Irish language columninst in this paper, and I’ve had a regular column since May of 2002. Tá a fhios agam go mbíonn ranganna Gaeilge ag an AOH in áiteanna éagsúla, agus tá taithí pearsanta agam ar Scoil Ghaeilge Ghearóid Tóibín, atá lonnaithe ag rannóg a dó sa Bhablóin ar Inis Fada, i Nua-Eabhrac.  I know that the AOH has Irish language classes in various places, and I’m personally familiar with the Gerry Tobin Irish Language School, which is located at division 2 in Babylon on Long Island. Tá SGGT ar an bhfód le breis is fiche bliain, le tacaíocht ón AOH.  The GTILS has been around for more than 20 years, with the support of the AOH. Agus roimh an scoil, bhíodh Gearóid Tóibin féin (ar dheis Dé go raibh sé) ag múineadh sa halla céanna.  And before the school, Gerry Tobin himself (may he be at God’s right hand) teaching in the same hall.

Bhí agus tá ranganna ag rannáin eile ar Inis Fada, r.8 in Selden agus r.7 in Islip Thoir, mar shampla.  There were and are classes at other divisions on Long Island, i.e. div.8 in Selden and div. 7 in East Islip. Nuair a bhí Vic Vogel (ag a bhfuil teastas gur chríochnaigh sé féin cúrsa sa Ghaeilge) ina uachtarán ar Bhord Chontae Suffolk, chruthaigh sé post Oifigeach na Gaeilge, agus tá an post sin ag Cathal Gaoidh.  When VV (who has a diploma saying he himself finished an Irish language course) was president of the Suffolk County Board, he created the position of Irish Language Officer, and Charlie Gee has that job. Insíonn sé don bhord faoin a mbíonn ar siúl a bhaineann leis an teanga, agus foghlaimíonn an bord roinnt paidreacha as Gaeilge, freisin. He tells the board about all that is going on with the language and the board learns some prayers in Irish, too.

Bhí Gaeilge ag an bhFeis Nassau le blianta fada, le Seosamh Ó hAllagáin á heagrú, ar dheis Dé go raibh sé. There was Irish at the Nassau Feis for years, organized by Joe Halligan (God bless him). Tá fós ag an bhFeis Suffolk le Bernard De Brún á eagrú.  Bernard Bruen still does this at the Suffolk Feis. Sa chomórtas amhránaíochta ar an sean nós a bhíonn ag an bhFeis Nassau, is iomaí duine a chanann as Gaeilge.  In the traditional singing contest at the Nassau Feis, lots of people sing in Irish.

Níl mórán eolais agam faoin nGaeilge ag rannáin ar fud na tíre, ach rinne mé scagadh ar an idirlíon, agus feicim go bhfuil cúpla focal agus cúpla nasc ar a suímh idirlín.  I don’t have a lot of information about Irish at divisions throughout the country, but I did a little checking on the internet, and see a few words and a few links on their websites. Tá daoine ag foghlaim na cúpla focal.  People are learning a few words. Molaim go dtabharfar níos mó aire don litriú agus do na hacmhainn nua atá ar fáil, fiú don colún seo, atá sa chartlann anseo:  I recommend that more attention be paid to spelling, to the new resources that are available, even this column, here is in this archive: http://www.scoilgaeilge.org/t_na_t/

Is iomaí ball den AOH ag a bhfuil Gaeilge. Lots of AOH members speak Irish. Ní bhfuair mé riamh, agus mé i mo bhall, go raibh aon duine diúltach maidir leis an nGaeilge. I’ve never found, since I’ve been a member, that anyone was negative about the language. Ceapaim go raibh Mícheál glan mícheart in 1891.  I think that Michael was totally wrong  in 1891. Gabhaim leithscéal don AOH ar son An Gael as an rud a dúirt ár n-eagarthóir fadó.  On behalf of An Gael, I apologize to the AOH for what our editor said so long ago.

Má tá eolas agat faoi stair na Gaeilge san AOH, scríobh chugam, le do thoil, ag JamusN@aol.com.  If you have information about the history of the language in the AOH, please write to me, at JamusN@aol.com