herald

Sunday 23 November 2014

Eamon to follow grandad Dev with Manx visit

MINISTER Eamon O Cuiv was today visiting the Isle of Man and follow ing 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 dispatched Irish folklore experts to record the last native speakers of the Manx Gaelic language.

The recordings sparked renewed efforts to preserve the language.

This led to its revival from the 1950s onwards.

Gaeltacht Minister 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 and tour some of the remote Manx-speaking villages.

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.

In 1998, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Manx language recordings, the original discs were digitally remastered by the Manx National Heritage and donated to the Department of Irish Folklore at UCD.

This week, Mr O Cuiv also visited Scotland to discuss ways of sharing knowledge in areas such as island infrastructure, and rural development.

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