Member Interview: Learning Gaeilge for Connection

You may have heard the seanfhocal “Is fearr Gaeilge bhriste ná Béarla cliste” – broken Irish is better than clever English. This is one of Bitesize Member Joe’s mantra’s as he travels on his Irish language journey. He takes each lesson at a time and sees learning Gaeilge as marathon not a sprint to connect with his Irish heritage.

Here’s a little more about Joe and his learning journey with Bitesize and beyond!

Tell us a little bit about yourself! 

I am 51 years old, Lord help me! I am a retired NYC Police Officer. New York born and raised. My Irish heritage comes via maternal grandparents and paternal great grandparents.

Do you have Irish ancestry? Can you tell us about it

All from different Counties. Cork, Kildare, Mayo and Galway. A little bit of variety for you.
I can say this being an American sometimes can make you feel like a bit of a lost soul or an orphan.
While I love the U.S A it’s difficult to capture a common culture. America is like a loving foster parent. While you love your adoptive parent you can’t help but feel yearning to connect with your beginnings.

What got you interested in speaking the Irish language?

Anytime I have visited Ireland I can’t help but feel like a bit of a homecoming an inner peace or perhaps just a bit of an understanding like I get this place or better yet they get me! So this Drifter checks in now and again for a dose of Irish hospitality and a little bit grounding.
So the yearning for the connection has lead me to attempt to learn the Irish language. It’s kind of my way of paying a tribute to my ancestors as well as to Ireland herself. Grandma forgive me I’ll try not to embarrass myself.

How do you use Bitesize Irish?

I do find the language a bit challenging but as they say nothing worth anything comes easy.
I like the Bitesize lessons, they break it down and make its easy for this old dog to digest. So I’m taking my time and enjoying trying to master the language. What’s the saying? I believe it’s something like broken Irish is better than clever English. Yes I’d raise a glass to that.

What advice can you offer to someone considering learning Irish?

Starting with Bitesize Irish is the first right step.
And myself being a novice I can’t offer you much more advice but I do believe slow and steady and a bit of perseverance goes a long way. I hope this is helpful to anyone who has doubts about tackling this task.

If you’d like to give Bitesize Irish a try, like Joe, sign up for a free trial for three weeks here: www.bitesize.irish/try

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