O'Cuiv makes visit on Manx language

Minister Eamon O'Cuiv will today visit the Isle of Man and follow in the footsteps of his grandfather Eamon de Valera who helped save the native language 60 years ago.

De Valera stopped off on the island in 1947 when he was Taoiseach and was shocked to learn that the tongue was dying out.

When he returned to Dublin he despatched Irish folklore experts to record the last native speakers of the Manx Gaelic language.

The recordings sparked renewed efforts to preserve the language and it led to its revival from the 1950s onwards.

Gaeltacht Minister Mr O'Cuiv has been invited by the Isle of Man government to advise it on the introduction of a new Manx Language Act.

“Gaelic and Manx are actually very similar so it makes perfect sense to explore possibilities to share information and expertise with the goal of the preservation of both languages,” Mr O'Cuiv said.

“My grandfather actually conversed with some of the old speakers and they could understand each other very well.”

While on the island, Mr O'Cuiv will visit an all-Manx Bunscoill Gaelgagh school and tour some of the remote Manx-speaking villages such as Cregneash.

Mr O'Cuiv will also visit the Isle of Man parliament and the Manx Museum during his two-day trip.

Enhancing East-West relations under the remit of the British Irish Council will also be a priority during official engagements.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Manx language recordings in 1998, the original discs were digitally remastered by the Manx National Heritage and donated to the Department of Irish Folklore at University College Dublin.

Earlier this week, Mr O'Cuiv also visited Scotland to discuss ways of sharing knowledge and expertise in areas such as island infrastructure, rural development and language preservation.

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