Two years of Latin. Five years of French. One year of German. One year of Spanish. And a brief dalliance with Japanese. But not one word of Gaeilge.
The grammar school that I attended was mixed. It had both girls and boys. It had both protestants and catholics. When I was at school in the late 80’s the community split was about 90% protestant and 10% catholic. By 2011, it had balanced a bit further – 80% protestant.
But how could it be that by the time I left school at 18, my complete Irish knowledge was:
An lár – The centre (or middle)
Trá – beach
Both of these picked up from signposts I’d had seen whilst on holiday in Donegal.
A short note on Spreadsheets…
Spreadsheets are one of if not the most useful tool in running a business. Yet if you try to teach a bunch of youngsters at secondary school how a Profit and Loss statement works, you’ll have your work cut out for you. It’s likely to be drier than a Pharaoh’s sock. Of course, that all changes when it’s your Profit and Loss statement, and every number in every cell could have big implications for your business.
Why am I blethering on about spreadsheets? Well, I think it’s a bit like learning Irish at school. When I talk to those who did learn Irish at school, which would only have been at a Catholic school, they’ve described how awful and boring it was. How different it is, when you discover that it’s your language, spoken by your ancestors.
As far as I know, students from my school still don’t learn any Irish.
Not. One. Word.