At Bitesize Irish Gaelic we see the task of preserving the Irish language as something we didn’t need to do but rather as an assignment we decided to take upon us with open hearts. It brings us happiness to see other people who decided to embark on the same journey.
We’re talking about the Irish language learning community that has grown around Bitesize Irish Gaelic. Keeping the Irish language alive isn’t a task for anyone so that’s why we’re always interacting with very passionate people who want to learn more about Ireland, its history, and people.
One of these amazing individuals who have a worthy goal to preserve the Irish language and heritage is Patrick Jones – Bitesize Irish Gaelic member who agreed to share his story with the rest of us.
Where abouts in the world do you live and what do you enjoy about that place?
I live in the Central Valley of California. This is a great area because it has access to the coast, the mountains, the deserts and L.A. and San Francisco. I enjoy riding Harley Davidsons and this is a great area for riding. Yosemite National Park is only one hour away. The down side is about 6 weeks of extreme heat in Jul/Aug.
What got you wanting to speak Irish Gaelic?
I was planning a trip to England and Ireland (which we completed in April of this year), and in my planning discovered that Irish Gaelic was still a spoken language in Ireland, so it peaked my interest and I looked into it deeper. I used what little I had learned at that point to speak to tour guides, cab drivers, etc.
They seemed surprised and delighted that I had a “cupla focal” but of course far from fluent!!
Do you have Irish ancestry? Tell us more about it.
Irish Ancestry was another motivation. Through an Ancestry.com DNA test I learned that 60% of my DNA is from Ireland. My great great maternal grandparents Thomas Skelton and Ellen Sheehan migrated to the Adirondack mountains of upstate New York, where they established themselves in the logging industry.
Thomas was from Wexford, and I think Ellen was from Limerick, but I am not sure about that. My last name “Jones” is taken from my stepfather, the name of my biological father is not known to me. My maternal grandfather insisted that my first and middle names be “Patrick Owen”.
How do you use Bitesize Irish Gaelic?
I use Bitesize Irish Gaelic as a learning experience. Learning it is more of a hobby than a necessity. Indeed many of my friends ask why bother since it is not widely spoken. I tell them that it is important to me to help keep the language alive and hopefully inspire more people to learn it. Of course when we are having a beer and I throw a “Slainte” at them, they seem eager to throw it back!!
I expose my grandchildren to it as often as possible and they are fascinated by it.
Preserving the tradition of an ancient language seems a very worthy goal.
What advice would you have for a total beginner of Irish Gaelic?
The advice I would give is to be patient. Don’t push too hard and make learning a chore rather than a positive experience. However, if you feel the desire and motivation to study 2 hours a day go for it!! Also, while Bitesize Irish is a great learning tool, I would encourage exploring as many sources as possible. Other sources provide reinforcement and different perspectives.
Using the Bitesize method to learn Irish Gaelic allows you to embark on the same journey of preserving the Irish language. Having Irish ancestry plays an important role in finishing this worthy task but it’s not a decisive factor.
If you just to know the language, go ahead and take a free trial. The Bitesize Irish Gaelic method of learning Irish is tailored for every individual, allowing you to learn at your own pace.
Learn to speak Irish! Sign up for Bitesize Irish Gaelic.