There’s never been a better time to learn Irish

LIVE in the Cookstown area and want to learn Irish? Now has never been a better time to start.

A range of beginner, intermediate and advanced classses are set to become available as part of the Liofa initiative.

Josephine McCaughey, local Irish Language Development officer explains: “As September approaches, it is time to start thinking about availing of the many opportunities to learn Irish that will be out there from mid-September on in the Cookstown and Dungannon & South Tyrone Borough Council areas.”

Three levels of classes are set to be offered to those living within the Cookstown and Dungannon council areas; beginners, intermediate and advanced, so that learners can learn at a pace that suits them.

The numbers of locations in which classes are being made available is constantly increasing as more and more community groups are continuing to come forward to have classses organised in their community.

The Irish Language Development Officer is very much excited at this and wants to make other groups aware that the Councils can advise and help facilitate groups to develop Irish Language activity.

Details of upcoming classes and their locations will follow in local press and on web over the coming weeks.

Josephine continued: “The beginners classes are aimed at absolute or complete beginners so you have no need to worry about not knowing any Irish, you will meet plenty of other people in the same situation and you will all be amazed at the fun and life-enrichment you have been missing out on! You will also be amazed at the amount of wee words of Irish you already use without being consciously aware of it! “

Some people may want to brush up on the Irish Language skills they acquired at school or night classes and they too, may like to attend a beginner’s class if they want to be comfortable, or even an intermediate class if they want to be challenged.

It really is down to the individual and it is important that the level is right for the individual so that they feel either comfortable or comfortably challenged.

At all three levels emphasis will be placed on confidence building, practical use of language, repetition and practise and this is often most needed at the Intermediate level.

Intermediate or improvers classes are ideally suitable for those who have achieved good results in Irish at school in GCSE or A Level and who have kept up with the language through watching TG4, listening to Raidió na Gaeltachta or for those who, through night classes, are able to hold a short conversation in Irish but may struggle to hold a lengthy conversation owing to lack of practise. Advanced classes are generally for those who are in regular contact with the language who socialise through the medium of Irish and who can speak at length in the Irish language but may need a little help with accuracy and use of proverb and idiomatic language in speaking and writing.

University of Ulster’s part-time Irish Language Diploma is unique in that it is ideally suited for both those who want to be comfortable (as the course is delivered in a methodical step-by-step approach) and simultaneously, for those who want to be challenged (as the pace is quite fast and accreditation is offered).

As a result of the Líofa campaign work is ongoing to establish an Irish Language Diploma programme in Cookstown in 2012/13 as it offers a fast-track to fluency.

The part-time Diploma programme offers flexibility as it is recognised that many of those wishing to be fluent by 2015 are learning the language in their spare time. Dr Malachy Ó Neill explains “This course is perfect for those who already have cúpla focal and who strive to; speak fluently, listen effectively, read confidently and write accurately.” Successful Diploma graduates may enter Year 2 of part-time degree course or Year 1 of full time degree course. For more information contact Malachy Ó Néill via email at

Mar fhocal scoir, finally, It is well worth checking out the Oideas Gael website at as it could be very motivating to know that after attending classes in beautiful Tyrone during the Autumn/Winterof 2012/13 that there are language and cultural holidays to be explored and enjoyed in the beautiful Donegal in the Spring/Summer of 2013!