On Friday, March 7, 2014, Ms. Marianne Dundon gave a lively and informative presentation to IB 2 English A students on Irish-English, the Irish language, and Irish culture. Ms. Dundon, a native of Dublin, Ireland, began by speaking some Irish to us, which no one but her daughter, Elena, could understand! She continued by briefly summarizing the history of the Irish language, one of the oldest surviving Celtic languages in modern Europe. According to linguists and archaeologists, shortly before 2000 B.C., during the Bronze Age, the Celts arrived in Ireland speaking a language which was an ancestor of the Modern Irish spoken today. This language is still spoken predominantly in the Gaeltachti areas of Ireland but efforts are constantly being made to revitalize Irish. Nowadays, both English and Irish are official languages in Ireland, although English is predominant, after 400 years of English rule. However, Irish is the first official language of the Republic of Ireland. All documents and road signs must be in both languages and Irish is a required subject at school. Ms. Dundon also explained how the Irish language has influenced the variety of English spoken in today’s Ireland, which she called Hiberno-English, or Irish-English. At the end of her presentation, Ms. Dundon gave us the text of some contemporary Irish-English poetry, which she also played for us to hear. As we were reading and listening to the poems, many of us we were able to recognize the Irish words in the texts. Thanks to Ms. Dundon, we are now more aware of the history of Celtic languages and the contemporary revival of Irish language and culture that enriches the entire European community. Thank you, Ms. Dundon!
Dr. Manney, IB English A Instructor