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‘Mariko is ainm dom’: Meet the international students learning the Irish language

With the annual Irish language festival taking place right now, non-Irish lovers of the Celtic tongue explain their passion for all things as Gaeilge

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Mariko Shimaguchi from Japan is now learning Gaeilge along with her son. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Mariko Shimaguchi from Japan is now learning Gaeilge along with her son. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Mariko Shimaguchi from Japan is now learning Gaeilge along with her son. Photo: Gerry Mooney

It’s a very 21st-century Gaelic revival. The international student is the new kid in Irish class, making up more than half of some beginners’ courses in language schools. A new generation of global speakers are determined to keep the language alive.

Conradh na Gaeilge (CnaG) originally formed in 1893 to promote the Gaelic revival now has people from all over the world signing up to learn Irish. The organisation has students from China, Japan, North America, Mexico and all across Europe on its books.


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