Six years ago I took the small step of learning a few words of Irish as part of a cross-community initiative with a local women’s group who met, one week in East Belfast Mission, on the Newtownards Road and one week in Short Strand Community Centre. Interestingly the women from the Short Strand had little interest in the language and preferred to talk about the upcoming Royal wedding and what Kate’s dress would be like.  It was me the Protestant from East Belfast who fell in love with the language.

That chance encounter has changed and reshaped my life.  What began as an interest has become a job and I suppose even a way of life.  Over the past six years, I have become increasingly proficient in the language, gaining qualifications and making many friends. I have visited the Gaelic speaking parts of Scotland and the Isle of Man as well as travelling the length and breadth of Ireland. I speak Irish almost every day and could not imagine a life that the language was not part of.

Sometimes I wonder how my life would be today if I hadn’t taken that one small step. It’s impossible for me to say how things would be but I do know for sure that I would have missed out on something wonderful which has enriched life and the life of many people around me who have also grown to love the language.

Watch Community Relations Council’s video of Linda Ervine during Community Relations and Cultural Awareness Week:

Linda Ervine and Turas have been working hard to connect people from Protestant communities to their own history with the Irish language #CRWeek17

Posted by Community Relations Council on Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Interested in taking your first step? Get some ideas and let us know what your small step will be!

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Linda Ervine: A cross-community language

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