News Archive

Children's Immersion Weekend

A Gaelic immersion weekend for children was held May 2 to 3, 2008. The 2 day immersion was led by an energetic Beth Anne MacEachen. Emphasis was placed on learning through games in a relaxed setting. No textbooks were used. With a fairly small group in a comfortable home setting, everyone had a good opportunity to use the Gaelic language.

The children were kept on the move with activities which included outdoor games like "Mother May I?" and "What Time is it, Mr. Wolf?" as well as quiet indoor activities such as traditional storytelling and card games. There was even a lesson on clothing followed by a very enthusiastic fashion show.

An evening cŔilidh where everyone offered up a song or a tune, whether on the fiddle, the tin whistle, the piano or the harp, brought an end to the first day.

The weekend was a success in its aims - to build connections among the children in the local Gaelic community, to further awareness of a shared Gaelic culture and, most importantly, to encourage the children to speak up in Gaelic.

Learners Conquer 6 Week Immersion

During the fall of last year, a seed was planted. How wonderful it would be to have a 6 week immersion where learners could have the benefit of condensed learning and really come ahead in their ability to speak GÓidhlig. With the contribution of time, money, effort, and in kind donations by many involved in the organization and planning of the event, the immersion came together and went ahead with great success running from May 5 to Jun 13, 2008. M˛ran taing dhuibh uile!

There were over 10 participants, full-time and part-time. The classes ran daily from 9 to 5. Additional evening activities were also organized to celebrate our culture further and create an opportunity to use the GÓidhlig we had been learning. The participants had a GÓidhlig movie night, several "Meals in GÓidhlig" in the local area, dancing lessons, celebrated La Caluim Chille, attended GÓidhlig conversation nights, GÓidhlig story telling, as well as milling. The classes themselves were conducted in the GÓidhlig aig Baile method, focusing on relevant language for use in the home and community, song and history.

Over the 6 week duration, we were fortunate to have 5 different tutors with us sharing their language, stories, and unique styles. We also had the pleasure of hosting some native and fluent GÓidhlig speakers. The group unanimously agreed that they all felt more confident using the GÓidhlig that they had as well as feeling like that had made strides forward.

We are very proud to have made a contribution to building a GÓidhlig speaking community in HRM as well as building partnerships with our neighbouring community in Pictou County. We are also very excited as we look forward to where our community is headed together.

Na Sgeulaichean

The rich tradition of storytelling within the Gaelic culture was shared with the Halifax community, June 27, 2008. Sgoil GhÓidhlig an └rd-bhaile (Gaelic Language Society of Halifax) presented its second annual fundraising event to support Gaelic education programs in the Halifax area, in the intimate setting of The Music Room.

The success of the evening was evident! The audience sat spellbound, as a group of Gaelic speakers wove tales of suspense, humour and heroism. Among the storytellers were native speakers, teachers and learners. English translation was on-going for those who "did not have the Gaelic". These tales would have been based on real individuals, while other stories very clearly were born from the need to entertain. Story telling within the Gaelic community was a way of sharing culture and history, as many of the tales are hundreds of years old.

In a time where there are so many distractions, the tradition of Gaelic story telling presents an opportunity to experience how the Gaels who have gone before us, shared their lives together.

The evening concluded with a reception and an opportunity to share music, dance and conversation.

To all those who participated in Na Sgeulaichean: story tellers, audience and organizers, a great big "M˛ran taing"! (Thank you!).

We look forward to another Na Sgeulaichean in 2009. See you there!

Cottage Weekend Immersion

On July 18th, a group of Gaelic learners headed along the CŔilidh Trail in Cape Breton, to our cottage in Port Hood for a weekend of Gaelic immersion and fun. Some of us had met before and some of us had not, but we were all there for the same reason, Gaelic. We came from Halifax, Newfoundland, Ontario, Sydney and Glendale. Our teacher for the weekend was Kathleen Reddy. Some of us arrived early in the evening and following a little "srubag", headed out to the campfire where many of my family were gathered and refreshments were waiting for latecomers. After everyone had safely arrived and all introductions made, a midnight grill topped off the evening.

By 9 am Saturday, following a great cooked breakfast, our all Gaelic sessions were underway. We reviewed some popular topics and learned a little more about each other. After we prepared our lunch, in Gaelic only of course, we headed outdoors to explore the property and describe what we saw in Gaelic. We followed a trail through the woods and upon our return, Mary Jane Lamond led us in some Gaelic games. We had some great laughs.

It was a lovely day for a boat ride, so after the days sessions ended, some of us went on a boat tour around Port Hood Island. Others went off on their own, but we all met up later at the Red Shoe Pub, in Mabou for a delicious dinner and conversation. Following a walking tour of beautiful downtown Mabou, we headed over to West Mabou to the square dance. Though the art of the dance was studied, there were none brave enough. Next year for sure! More campfire refreshments, good laughs and another midnight grill followed.

Sunday morning, after yet more food, people began to go on their way. Some heading home and some of us to the beach! We said our good byes, already planning when we would see each other again. Thanks to all who made the trip and to my family who are always so welcoming.

See you next time!

SlÓinte!

Short Radio Piece on Gaelic Immersion Classes

This is an interview/piece that was done on the Halifax Gaelic Language Society by University of King's College student Andrea Jerrett.

  • Radio Clip
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