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Ta ocras an teanga fós orm, so I sign up for a course in an Ceathra Rua, Connemara, home of the Acadamh, an outreach of NUIG, which organises a broad range of Irish courses for adults, from a weekend refresher to a four-year degree.

There is no need to go searching for Gaeilgeoirí in an Ceathra Rua; they are all around me.

I have lived most of my life there, working as a journalist, and have learned to speak Spanish fluently – but have barely spoken a word of Irish.

The road back to the teanga náisiúnta began around two years ago, when I started listening to Raidió na Gaeltachta online.

Mairéad and Pádraig are extraordinary hosts who spare no effort in making us feel comfortable, allowing us the run of their home.

” condensed into a single bullet like sound: “Kayhoinawilltoo?

They start talking in Irish but quickly switch to Béarla. Inside the brand new Ionad Gaeilge, a custom-built language centre formally opened the previous week, teacher Bernie Pháid awaits.

I have been assigned to a meánleibhéal course, where reasonable competence is assumed.

One class is built around an attempt to sell us his coat while another leaves two students weeping with laughter. An modh coinníollach, the infamous conditional tense which has driven millions of Irish to emigration and self-loathing.

At Oideas Gael you can learn the harp through Irish, go hillwalking through Irish or just relax and ignore the Irish altogether.

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