If there’s something we understood after all these years developing Bitesize Irish Gaelic, is that the Irish spirit is somehow bigger than time and space put together. Wouldn’t it be easier to live your life not caring about your heritage, not looking into your ancestry?
Yes, it would, but we’ve learned that people with Irish ancestry don’t settle for an easy life at the cost of not knowing where they come from.
There are a lot of people with Irish ancestry living in the U.S., and many of the are doing their best to find out more about where they come from, maybe in the hopes of finding out who they are, for real.
Next to Irish traditions, the Irish language plays a significant role in the life of someone with Irish ancestry. We haven’t found yet what exactly triggers that individual’s desire to learn more about Ireland and his past, but we know for sure that Irish Gaelic has its “set in stone” role in this equation.
We believe that the Irish spirit transcends time and space. The feeling of being Irish sticks to the families of Irish immigrants that settled in all over the World. It’s not something you can (or want) to fight, but it’s something that lives within Irishmen and drives them forward.
Erin Blackman – Bitesize Irish Gaelic community member, also discovered her desire to learn more about her past and chose the Irish language as a tool to do it. She was kind enough to share with us some of her thoughts about learning Irish Gaelic and discovering her Irish ancestry. Read her interview below.
Bitesize: Where abouts in the world do you live?
I live in a tiny state in New England with a really long name – Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, but we just go by Rhode Island! In the United States.
Bitesize: What got you wanting to speak Irish Gaelic?
I became interested in languages at a young age – I grew up in a mostly Italian neighborhood and many of my neighbors were Italian immigrants. As I learned more about my ancestry, I became intrigued with Irish Gaelic. When my parents died, they left me a small inheritance and I wanted to use some of it to do something I hadn’t been able to afford before, so I treated myself to a Bitesize membership!
Bitesize: Do you have Irish ancestry? Tell us about it.
Oh, do I ever! Just look at my name – Erin Lee. My Mom always told me it was for Ireland and the River Lee. She was fiercely proud of her heritage – and made sure my sister and I were brought up to be equally proud.
My mother was a Conway, her mother an O’Donnell, her grandmother a Shanley… That list could fill a book! On my maternal side, I am 3rd generation American, the family from Ireland (Wicklow, Cork, Donegal) and England. My father’s mother was a Johnson, changed from Johnston. I believe they hailed from southwest Ireland, but I am still researching it. On that side, I am back 17 generations and still in the States!
Bitesize: How do you use Bitesize Irish Gaelic?
Sadly, I do not have a solid routine. I review lessons when I am able, then make sure I complete a new lesson each time.
Bitesize: What advice would you have for a total beginner of Irish Gaelic?
Be patient and give yourself time to absorb it. If your first language is English – do not try to apply English grammar rules while learning! Be open minded to learning a whole new system, and be ready to appreciate the language’s very unique beauty. I have fallen in love with it!
Now it’s your turn. Let the Irish language help you discover your Irish heritage. Listen to your Irish spirit and sign up for a Bitesize Irish Gaelic membership. If you want to start slow, that’s also fine – you can always sign up for our free trial!