However, I was surprised to read Brendán MacCraith’s comment that schoolchildren can choose from some 400 titles in Irish for their studies.
Mr MacCraith gives the impression of a delightful course. When receiving my booklist in the summer, there was one prescribed book.
I do not recall having a choice on the matter - an experience I am sure that was shared by fellow students in many schools all over the country.
Mr MacCraith says that children apparently do not leave school with a hatred of the language.
He may think so, but as a student facing Irish classes every day, consisting of notes and tests on stories and poems, I beg to differ.
Irish is not taught in a way that actually helps students to speak it. That is no fault of the teacher.
The Leaving Cert requires knowledge of 12 poems, five short stories and a novel, each including in-depth analysis, ie, lots of notes and learning. This is just one of the papers.
In my honours Irish class of about 20 students, a few like Irish, but most feel it is a pointless subject that should not be compulsory.
I believe most students leave school still not having a clue about the language as such, having only known gruesome ‘exam Irish.’
If we truly want to see an increasing number of Irish speakers, the real answer is not to be found with TV, music, newspapers, websites, etc. The only way is a complete upheaval of the Junior Cert and Leaving Cert syllabus.
Ciara Ní Ceallacháin