We’re not big fans of New Year’s resolutions since people tend not to go ahead with what they promised themselves. We’re always trying to help you take up the commitment of improving yourselves, learn something new and why not a new language such as Irish.
In most cases, New Year resolutions fail and that’s no surprise. Here’s why.
Improving ourselves by learning a new language such as Irish shouldn’t be considered such a big task, it should be a lengthy process we feel comfortable with. We should do it at our own pace, deciding what and how much knowledge we let it.
This doesn’t happen when you make a New Year’s resolution. You add a lot of pressure and probably get annoyed when people keep asking you if you started learning Irish or not. That’s why most people give up on their New Year promises. We don’t encourage you to add that unnecessary burden to your daily lifestyle.
Instead of adding pressure, just make the commitment to learn Irish without adding unnecessary weight on top of the not-so-easy process of learning something new. Make the plan to learn Irish in 2017 but leave room for other activities. If you’re wondering how to do this, maybe the following interview will shed some light upon your 2017 commitment to learning Irish. Meet Jerry Murphy – an active Bitesize Irish Gaelic community member and his interesting story of learning Irish!
Bitesize: Where do you live and what do you like about that place? Tell us an interesting fact about your town.
Jerry: I live just outside of Charleston, South Carolina USA. I grew up near Louisville, Kentucky, a long day’s drive away, and started visiting Charleston many years ago because an uncle lives here. I was educated as a scientist and believe there is an explanation for everything, but I have to say I had the strangest feeling that I was coming home every time I visited Charleston.
I finally moved here in 1989. At the time I had no interest in my family history and knew little about Ireland, most of it wrong. I soon developed an interest in genealogy and later discovered that my 6th great grandfather brought his family to Charleston from the north of Ireland, probably County Tyrone, and received a substantial British land grant in August 1766, about ten years before the Revolutionary War. They lived near a settlement called “Belfast”. I have to believe I have some sort of deep and unexplained connection to this place.
Bitesize: What got you wanting to speak Irish Gaelic?
Jerry: As I continued to research my family I started to develop an interest in Ireland. Some family members had visited Ireland and were delighted with the country and the people. My wife and I took a three week European vacation in 2015 and we spent the last week in Ireland.
A week in Ireland was not enough time and I started planning a second trip while I was still in there. I discovered Irish and decided I would learn a few simple phrases to use on my next visit. I kept wanting to learn more and ultimately decided to study it seriously.
Bitesize: Do you have Irish ancestry? Tell us about it.
Jerry: I have mentioned my earliest ancestor to come to America. I have found the grave of his son, John, and the headstone inscription states that he was born in Co. Tyrone on 15 May 1746. My family was Presbyterian Scots-Irish. They were poor and illiterate, but they worked hard and were successful in South Carolina.
My ancestors and so many others braved an eight to nine week crossing of the north Atlantic in a cramped sailing ship, cleared land to farm in the wilderness while facing disease and frequent Indian attacks and endured the horrors of the Revolutionary War, all while caring for their children and building a new country. John’s father, Thomas, ultimately had 765 acres of good farm land. That’s quite an accomplishment for a “poor protestant immigrant” as he and others from Ireland were described.
Bitesize: How do you use Bitesize Irish Gaelic?
Jerry: That’s a tough question. I started studying with Bitesize Irish Gaelic around nine months ago, but I have to say I don’t really use the language. I speak fairly fluent Spanish and speak it on a daily basis with my wife, who is from South America, and other Latinos I know. I feel very challenged trying to learn Irish alone.
I would like to find others in my area who study the language so I could meet with them and actually use the language. Right now I am wearing a tee shirt with “An Bhfuil Gaeilga Agat?” printed on the front. The hope, of course, is that I might find others who study the language. I have tried watching TG4 and listening to Raidió na Gaeltachta, but I only understand the occasional word. Irish is a challenging language for an English speaker, but or me, studying in isolation is the hardest part.
Bitesize: What advice would you have for a total beginner of Irish Gaelic?
Jerry: I have listened to interviews on the Bitesize Irish Gaelic podcasts and heard other Americans who have overcome greater challenges than those I have faced learning Irish. My advice is to make a commitment to learning it and DON’T GIVE UP!
The Bitesize method of learning Irish involves a lot of comprehensive materials and lots of audio you can use, so take the first step of learning Irish Gaelic – singing up for a free trial. The Bitesize Irish Gaelic method of learning Irish doesn’t stop here, though!
Learn at your own pace, be confident, get in touch with your Irish heritage and sign up for Bitesize Irish Gaelic.