Links between Islay and North Antrim were strengthened with Gaelic and Gaeilge Courses at Ionad Chaluim Chille ÃŒle. Ionad Chaluim Chille ÃŒle provided a warm welcome to seventeen Irish Gaelic speakers and seven Scottish Gaelic speakers to share a remarkable week in August. Most of the people who came from Ireland came by boat direct from Ballycastle. The journey, which is little more than an hour, underlines just how close Ballycastle and Islay are. RÃ©amaÃ Mathers, from the community development group Pobal an Chaistil said on returning to Ballycastle 'The links between North Antrim and Islay demonstrate that these places and people are part of a community of common language, heritage and culture that stretches from Kerry in the south to the far northern tip of Scotland'. BrÃdÃn NÃ Dhonnghaile, Principal of the local Gaelic-Medium nursery and primary school in Ballycastle also had another reason in attending the course as the trip allowed her to meet Niall Oliver, the teacher of the Gaelic-Medium Unit at Bowmore Primary School to discuss some joint projects for the coming year. Continue reading....'The Gaelic-Medium Unit in Bowmore is the closest to us in Ballycastle and while we work very closely with both Gaelic-Medium and English-Medium Schools in the north and south of Ireland I feel the link with Islay will allow the children to explore the unique Gaelic heritage that is specific to the north coast of Ireland and the Western Isles. Sine NicEalair from the Ionad Chaluim Chille ÃŒle said 'this work with north Antrim has really added an edge to what we are doing in the Centre, we have much in common and indeed it could be said that we are the same people. From the age DÃ¡l Riada to Clann Dhomhnaill who ruled from Dunluce in Antrim to Finlaggan on Islay we have so much common heritage. We also shared some sad stories which were highlighted when some of the older people on Islay explained that in the past, just like in Ireland, school children in Scotland were forbidden, beaten and made to feel stupid for speaking their native language, something which played no small part in the decline of the language and with it the links that connected Gaelic peoples throughout these islands.'
Ionad Chaluim Chille ÃŒle - Bowmore
Work between the two communities is stepping up with a joint course to be launched in the autumn and many more things to come. There is a real buzz about the ongoing work and both communities are looking forward to a long and lasting link with their fellow Gaels on the other side of the Sea of Moyle. The course was supported by ColmCille to promote links between the Scottish and Irish Gaelic communities. RÃ©amaÃ finished by saying we have a saying in Irish Gaelic â€˜cha neart go cur le chÃ©ileâ€™, which means we are stronger when we work together. Pobal an Chaistil, Ballycastle can be contacted on 02820768883 and Ionad Chaluim Chille Ile can be contacted on 01496 810 818. (map image courtesy google maps)
This story was published with kind permission of the Ileach local newspaper