Chairman, Charities and Missions

This is my final report after four years on the National Board.  I would like to thank Worthy President Boyle for appointing me to what I consider two of the most important jobs on the National Board.  That is, the Organizational Committee and the Charities and Missions Committee.

I would like to thank the State Presidents, the State Organizers and the members at large for their help bringing in 22 new Divisions, 2 new County Boards and 1 new State Board while I was National Organizer.  I could not have done that without your help.  As for the Charities and Missions, we all know that the third pillar of our motto is “ … True Christian Charity”.  And that is what we practice every time we raise money or donate our time to help others.  I am proud and thankful to all of our jurisdictions for their efforts.

These past four years under the guidance of President Boyle this National Board accomplished many milestones.  All of your National Officers performed their duties superbly.  I am honored to be associated with and to have work with these men.

I am looking forward to seeing and meeting you at the National Convention this July.  It is going to be a great time – don’t miss it.

Finally, I would like to again thank all of you for your efforts in making our Order the most outstanding Organization in the country.  And as we say in the Donegal Irish (Gaeilge Thir Chonaill),  Mo chairde, go raibh maith agaibh agus tchifidh me thu, le cuidiu De.  Slan go foill.

Tomhas na Teanga

Bhí deis agam tamall ó shin bualadh le daoine deasa in Astoria ag teach tábhairne darb ainm Lavelle’s.  I had a chance to meet some nice people a while ago at the pub…in…  Daoine as an nGaeltacht roinnt díobh, agus a sleachta na daoine eile.  Gaeltacht people and their children.  Thaispeáin mé cóipeanna den irisleabhar An Gael dóibh.   I showed them copies of An Gael Foilsítear An Gael sna Stáit, as Gaeilge amháin (is mise an t-eagarthóir – féach www.angaelmagazine.com).  An Gael is published in Irish only in the States (I’m the editor).  Bhí siad an-sásta leis.  The liked it a lot.  Ach dúirt duine  liom nach léann sé mórán as Gaeilge níos mó, mar níl sé cleachta leis an gcló Rómhánach ná an litriú caighdeánach.   But one person told me he doesn’t read a lot in Irish any more, since he’s not familiar with the  Roman type and standardized spelling.   Thaispeáin mé dó go mbíonn ábhar sa seanchló ar chúl na hirise, agus bhí sé sásta leis sin.  I showed him that there’s always material in the old type in the back of the magazine, and he was pleased with that.  Ach is iomaí duine cosúil leisean atá ann, agus ba mhaith liom cúpla focal a scríobh faoin gcló nua agus an caighdeán oifigiúil.  But there are lots of people like him, and I would like to write a few words about the new type and the official standard.  (Tá alt maith ar an ábhar seo ar fáil ar vicipéid – sin wikipedia as Gaeilge:  ga.wikipedia.org).

Is léir nach raibh cló ag aon teanga go dtí timpeall 500 bliain ó shin, mar ní bhíodh ann ach lámhscríbhinn.  Clearly no language had print until around 500 years ago, as they just had hand written manuscripts.  Bhíodh a nósanna féin ag tíortha éagsúla chun a dteangacha féin a scríobh.  Each country had its own ways of writing their languages.  Nuair a thosaigh tíortha chun leabhair a chur i gcló, roghnaigh cúpla tír a gcló féin a úsáid, a bhí cosúil le nósanna na lámhscríbhinne a bhíodh acu.  When countries first started printing books, a few chose to use their own type, which resembled the way they wrote those  manuscripts.  Bhí an Fraktur sa Ghearmáin, agus an cló Gaelach in Éirinn.  Germany had… and Ireland had the Gaelic type.  Roghnaigh Éilís a hAon an cló Gaelach a cuireadh i bhfeidhm, mar a tharlaíonn.   Elizabeth I chose to use the Gaelic type, as it happens.   Ach tá sé bunaithe ar sheantraidisiún na lámhscríbhinne in Éirinn.  But it is based on the writing in traditional Irish manuscripts.

Ar ball, d’iompaigh beagnach gach tír i dtreo an chló Rómhánaigh, mar bhí sé ní ba shaoire chun an cló sin a cheannach agus a úsáid, agus tá sé níos simplí le léamh.  Eventually, almost every country turned in the direction of the Roman type, because it was cheaper to buy and use, and was easier to read.  Ní raibh ríomhairí ann, ach clóphreasanna agus clóscríobháin.  There were no computers, but rather  printing presses and typewriters.  Ní raibh sé éasca cló Gaelach a fháil chucu sin.   It wasn’t easy to get the Gaelic type for them.   Nuair a chéad fhoilsíodh An Gael (An Gaodhal) sa naoú haois déag, níorbh fhéidir an iris ina hiomlán a dhéanamh as Gaeilge, mar ní raibh a ndóthain litreacha as an gcló Gaelach acu, mar shampla.  When An Gael was first published in the 19th century, it couldn’t be all in Irish, because they didn’t have enough Gaelic letters, as an example.

Bhí sé de rún ag rialtas na hÉireann chomh fada siar leis na fichidí aistriú ón gcló Gaelach go dtí an cló Rómhánach.  The Irish government intended to convert from the Gaelic type to the Roman as far back as the twenties.  Ach bhí sé sin an-chonspóideach.   But that was very controversial.   Bhí na múinteoirí ina éadan go háirithe, mar bhíodh na leabhair scoile go léir sa seanchló.  The teachers were especially against it, since all the school books were in the old type.  Níor éirigh leis an rialtas cúrsaí a athrú go huile is go hiomlán go dtí 1963!  The government didn’t succeed completely until…  Mar sin, is iomaí duine atá againn fós atá níos compordaí leis an gcló Gaelach.  So we still have a lot of people who are more comfortable with the Gaelic type.

Níorbh é sin an t-aon rud a athraíodh, dar ndóigh.  This wasn’t the only thing changed, of course.  Rinneadh caighdeánú (is simpliú) ar litriú (agus ar ghramadach) na Gaeilge, freisin.   They standardized (and simplified) the spelling (and grammar) of Irish, too.   Bíonn gá le caighdeánú i dteanga ar bith, ionas go mbeidh gach duine i ngach áit ábalta an rud céanna a léamh, agus ionas go mbeidh córas amháin in úsáid sna scoileanna.  All languages need standardization, so everyone everywhere can read the same thing, and so there will be one system in the schools.  Tá cúrsaí casta sa Ghaeilge mar gur teanga bheag í, agus níor mhaith le héinne nósanna na gcainteoirí dúchasacha a chailleadh.  Things are complicated with Irish, because it’s a small language, and no one wants to lose the native ways of speaking.  Mar sin, de ghnáth, ní bhacann na cainteoirí is fearr leis an gcaighdeán, cé go bhfoghlaimíonn beagnach gach foghlaimeoir é.  So, usually, the best speakers don’t bother with the standard, even though almost all learners learn it.  Tuigimid a chéile, ach is iomaí saghas Gaeilge atá ann fós.  We understand each other, but there are still lots of varieties of Irish.

Rinneadh iarracht chun gnéithe na gcanúintí go léir a snaidhm le chéile sa chaighdeán, agus mar sin, níl aon chainteoir dúchasach sásta leis.  They tried to weave together traits of all the dialects in the standard, and so no native speaker is satisfied with it.  Ní teanga nádúrtha atá ann sa chaighdeán.  The standard is not a natural  language.  Ach is amhlaidh i dteanga ar bith.  But that’s the way any language is.  Bíonn difear ann idir teanga oifigiúil scríofa agus teanga an tí.  There’s always a difference between the official written language and language at home.  Ní mór don uile dhuine an dá nós a fhoghlaim, chun a bheith dea-oilte.  Everyone needs to learn both ways of speaking, to be well educated.  An ndéanann sé dochar do na canúintí?   Does it hurt the dialects?  Ní dóigh liom.  I don’t think so.  Ach ní bhíonn aon teanga socraithe go deo – bíonn an fás is an t-athrú ann.  But no language is settled for ever – there’s always growth and change.  Is fiú d’aon duine an iarracht a dhéanamh chun gach saghas Gaeilge a thuiscint.  It’s worth it for anyone to try to understand every kind of Irish.  Níl sé chomh deacair sin!  It’s not that hard!

 

Tomhas na Teanga

Tá umar iasc teochreasa againn.  We have a tropical fish tank. Bhí ceann beag againn ar feadh i bhfad, agus ansin fuaireamar ceann mór.  We had a small one for a long time, and then we got a big one. Tá cúpla dosaen iasc ann, idir bheag agus mhór. We have a couple of dozen fish, both small and large. Bainim an-taitneamh astu.  I get a lot of pleasure from them. Cuireann sé suaimhneas orm nuair a chaithim tamaill ag féachaint orthu.  It makes me feel peaceful when I spend a little time watching them. Deirtear gur íslíonn sin brú fola an duine, agus creidim é. They say that it lowers a person’s blood pressure, and I believe it. Níl peata ar bith eile againn ach na héisc, mar tá ailléirge ar mo bhean le madraí agus nílimid an-tógtha le cait.  We don’t have any other pets other than the fish, because my wife is allergic to dogs and we’re not too fond of cats. Ach tá cairde is gaolta againn agus gach saghas peata acusan.  But we have friends and relatives who have all kinds of pet.

Tá mórán cat ag mo chara Éamonn. My friend Ed has a lot of cats. Tá siad mar bhaill dá theaghlach aige.  They’re like members of the family to him. Taispeánann sé grianghraif díobh dom ó am go chéile, agus bíonn a lán acu greannmhar. He shows me pictures of them once in a while, and a lot of them are funny. (Cuirim i gcéill beagán gur maith liom cait dó, tuigeann tú). (I pretend a little that I like cats for him, you understand). Bhí ceann acu an-tinn tamall ó shin, agus cé go raibh an iomarca airgid i gceist, rinne sé pé rud ab fhéidir leis chun a chat a shábháil. One of them was very sick a while back, and although it cost a lot of money, he did whatever he had to, to save the cat. Ní miste leis go bhfuil droch-shláinte air, chomh fada agus atá sé fós ann leis.  He doesn’t mind that it’s not healthy, so long as it’s still there with him. Is breá linn ár n-éisc, ach tuigim (mar bhíodh madraí agam le linn m’óige) go mbíonn grá i bhfad níos mó ann do chat nó mhadra.  We love our fish, but I understand (as I used to have dogs when I was young) that cats and dogs are loved a lot more.

Nuair a chailltear peata, bíonn sé an-deacair agus an-bhrónach.  When a pet dies, it’s very difficult and very sad. Chaill mo chara madra tamall ó shin, agus bhí sé croíbhriste ar feadh tamaill.  My friend lost a dog a while ago, and he was heartbroken for a while. Ach bhain sé an-taitneamh as an madra sin le blianta fada.  He really enjoyed that dog for years. Bhí sí ann mar chara dó, agus bhí a lán spraoi acu le chéile.  She was a friend to him, and they had a lot of fun together. Tá madraí eile aige. He has other dogs. Beidh na cuimhní cinn sin aige go deo, agus tabharfaidh beocht na madraí eile misneach dó.  He’ll always have those memories, and the liveliness of the other dogs will give him courage. Beidh leigheas ar a chuid péine ar ball.  His pain will eventually heal.

Fuair col ceathar mo mhná coinín roinnt blianta ó shin.  Bhuel, fuair a hiníon é, le fírinne, ach sul i bhfad bhí sí féin i mbun cúram an choinín.  Ar dtús, ní raibh suim ar bith aici in a leithéid de pheata.  Ach tá an coinín greannmhar agus lán de phearsantacht, agus ar ball d’éirigh an-chairdeas eatarthu.  Níl a fhios ag éinne cén saghas caidrimh a bheadh ann le peata, ach go hiondúil, bíonn siad go hiontach mar chomhpháirtithe.

Tá col ceathar agamsa atá ina chónaí ina aonar in Florida. I have a cousin who lives alone in Florida. Tá a mháthair sa chomharsanacht.  His mother lives in the neighborhood.  Tá sí ina nóchaidí.  She’s in her nineties. Is é rud a thugann an sásamh is mó don bheirt acu ná cúram a thabhairt do ainimhithe. The thing that the two of them most enjoy is to care for animals. Níl a fhios agam cé mhéid cat agus madra atá acu, ach tógann siad ainmhithe gan bhailte isteach.  I don’t know how many cats and dogs they have, but the take in homeless animals. Cé nach mbíonn a sláinte féin go maith i gcónaí, díríonn siad ar shláinte na n-ainmhithe seo agus déanann siad cinnte go mbíonn siad go maith, agus cothaíonn siad iad.  Even though their own health isn’t always good, they focus on the health of these animals and make sure they are OK, and feed them. Faigheann siad cabhair ó chairde uaireanta, ach caithfidh siad féin bheith ann dóibh. They sometimes get help from friends, but they have to be there for them themselves. Mar chúiteamh ar an méid a dhéanann siad dóibh, bíonn comhluadar acu i gcónaí, agus rud tábhachtach le déanamh. In return for all they do for them, they always have companionship, and something important to do.

Má bhí peata agat riamh, is cuimhin leat go deo an spraoi agus an taitneamh a bhain tú as. If you’ve ever had a pet, you’ll remember for ever the fun and enjoyment you got from it. Bíonn scéalta agat i gcónaí (atá greannmhar, minic go leor).  You always have stories (which are funny, lot s of times). Má tá peata áirithe agat, tá rud i gcoitinne agat le mórán daoine eile, ábhar comhrá, agus cúis caidrimh le daoine eile a bheith agat. If you have a particular pet, you have something in common with a lot of other people, a subject of conversation, and a reason to associate with others. Déanann na hainmhithe a maith dúinn go léir. Animals do us all good. Bímis buíoch díobh. Let’s be grateful to them.