Most people in the Irish-learning community at Bitesize start to learn Irish Gaelic so they can have conversations with relatives and locals, or to strengthen the connection to their Irish heritage.
But we were also lucky to meet people who started to love the Irish language after visiting Ireland.
This comes to show how strong is the connection between the Irish language and everything in Ireland. Like we said before, Irish Gaelic is a living language, it’s used in day-to-day situations, and is a vital part of the Irish heritage.
As you know, from time to time, we ask members from the Bitesize Irish-learning community to tell us their stories so we can understand them better. At the same time, if you’re an Irish language enthusiast, these stories should encourage you to start learning.
Christopher Doucette is a Bitesize community member, he visited Ireland at least once per year since 2016 and he fell in love with the Irish language. We want to thank him for taking the time to answer our questions. Read the following interview and discover Christopher’s story, how he fell in love with the Irish language, and what are his tips on learning Irish Gaelic.
Bitesize: Where abouts in the world do you live?
Christopher: Ta me i mo chonai i Boston. Actually, Lancaster, Ma, just outside of Worcester.
Bitesize: What got you wanting to speak Irish Gaelic?
Christopher: I visited Ireland for the first time in 2016. A friend of mine had run in the Dublin Marathon for many years and I was invited even though I do not run. After the marathon, all the runners from his running group (Green and Grey from Clinton, MA) stay in Doolin for the next week (all the way to the west coast).
The Enthusiast Plan
Hey everyone, we wanted to thank you for reading this interview. If you find this story inspiring, we recommend you to sign up for the Enthusiast plan on Bitesize.
The Enthusiast plan features more quizzes, video lessons and more advanced live lessons with our native Irish speaking language assistants.
Christopher: It was here that I came across the language being spoken in the cafes in Galway. I went again in 2017 and met a “sean-nos” singer at the local pub and he spoke Gaelic. I went to the Aran Islands and the ferry captain spoke it (I told him. “Is tosaitheoir me”).
Everyone on the island speaks it. I was only comfortable with “Dia dhuit” in the local shops, but he immediately answered me back as you said he would.
I am hooked and expect to go every year from now on.
Bitesize: Do you have Irish ancestry? Tell us about it.
Christopher: I do. I am half Irish. Both my mom’s grandparents came from Cork. My sister and mother visited some relatives in the late 1980’s but I never went. Didn’t know what I was missing at the time.
Bitesize: How do you use Bitesize Irish Gaelic?
Christopher: I have all the lessons on my iPhone so every morning on the way to work I listen (and listen and listen). I also listen at the gym. I printed out all the materials and sit on the beach reading/listening. Everybody else is reading a magazine or book and I am doing my Bitesize lesson. Then of course all the lessons are on my iPad and I use that the most with the audio clips. So, many different ways to learn.
Bitesize: What advice would you have for a total beginner of Irish Gaelic?
Christopher: It started out really tough, almost daunting. How many ways can you spell father (athair) in Gaelic, with a t-, with an h added in front? How many ways can you make a word plural, seven or more? But, I am getting it thanks to Eoin!
The pronunciation is very clear on the audio and the conversational lessons are very practical. I try to write down some sentences that are combinations of different lessons as some reinforcement that I am getting it! I do have to use an online dictionary on my phone as a supplement and it helps with vocabulary words that aren’t covered.
I was surprised how much I could understand when reading Gaelic. You can see the root word and can figure it out as Eoin said. It is all starting to make sense.
Want to strengthen the connection to your Irish heritage? Make the first step and sign up for a Bitesize Irish Gaelic membership. Don’t forget about practicing the language, immersing yourself in Irish and visualizing yourself as being fluent.
If you want to start slow, that’s also fine – you can always sign up for our free trial!