Mike Power is learning Irish, like so many people around the world, to connect with his ancestry and the culture he grew up with.
He visits Ireland regularly, not to see relatives, but to see “historic sites and places of beauty and interest”. Of which, we have to admit, there are many!
Living in London, he says he doesn’t speak Irish within the London Irish community, instead he finds people a little further afield to practice his Gaeilge with and connect with his culture.
“I have friends from Kerry and Connemara who are happy to listen to my pathetic attempts to speak Irish with them”, Mike says.
Mike joined Bitesize Irish in late 2018 and we asked him why he made the decision to learn the language of his ancestors.
Connecting with language to connect with culture and history
I have always loved Irish culture in its many aspects, including a history fraught with repression of the Irish language. I find the language to be beautifully melodic, and a statement of Irish identity. I feel a great desire to speak the language of the culture I was brought up in.
My parents and extended family are/were Irish, and I grew up in the Irish community in London, attending Irish Catholic primary and secondary schools .During my youth we spend all our summer holidays staying in Ireland with our relations in Waterford, where my father came from, and Longford, where my mother came from.
Using Bitesize Irish
I use Bitesize Irish at my own pace, working hard to understand the full intent of what is being taught i.e. literal interpretation, origins of phrasing, grammar etc
Mike’s advice for Irish language beginners
Treat it as an adventure into a new culture, never feel pressurised to achieve, take it easy but take it!