Permanent North American Gaeltacht
Gaeltacht Bhaile na hÉireann
|Nickname(s): The Canadian Gaeltacht, Gaeltacht Bhuan Mheiriceá Thuaidh (Permanent North American Gaeltacht)|
|Established||16 June 2007 (as the first Official Gaeltacht outside of Ireland)|
|• Land||0.24 km2 (0.09 sq mi)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
Gaeltacht Bhaile na hÉireann or the Permanent North American Gaeltacht (Irish: Gaeltacht Bhuan Mheiriceá Thuaidh) is a designated Irish-speaking area in the town of Tamworth, Ontario, along the Salmon River. The nearest main township is Erinsville, Ontario. Unlike Ireland, where the term "Gaeltacht" refers to an area where Irish is the traditional language, the Permanent North American Gaeltacht has no resident native Irish speakers. The name refers instead to its being a regular meeting place for Irish speakers from North America and elsewhere. Emphasis is placed on the link with Ireland, which is considered to be the source of Irish language learning.
Erinsville was settled by the Irish, and its first five mayors were Irish. It is from this area that the Gaeltacht receives its official name of "Gaeltacht Bhaile na hÉireann" or "Erinsville/Town of Ireland Gaeltacht"
This area is notable mainly in that it is the first and only officially sanctioned Gaeltacht (or "designated Irish-speaking area") to exist outside of Ireland. Official support for this Gaeltacht was shown during the opening ceremony, which was attended by the Irish ambassador to Canada, Declan Kelly, and by Helen Gannon of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. An official statement regarding this site was also released by the Irish Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Éamon Ó Cuív. In this, dated 29 May 2007, he states: "I would like to congratulate the Canadian people for establishing a Gaeltacht in Canada, the first outside of Ireland. I wish every success to your work and I hope that it will grow and develop."  Also received from Mr. Ó Cuív was the approval of €20,000 (C$28,835) for the Gaeltacht, for teacher training.
This Gaeltacht has been featured in the news, primarily for the fact that it is the first of its kind outside of Ireland, and has been reported on by the Irish TG4, the British BBC and in The Globe and Mail (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/a-tongue-twisting-labour-of-love-in-canadas-gaelic-speaking-community/article593113/ ). Organizer Aralt Mac Giolla Chainnigh, when speaking with the BBC, stated that although the Irish speakers are all from very different places (Canada, Ireland, the United States) this site is one on which they may all congregate: "'It's a place where they can go when they want to regenerate their cultural batteries and, especially, to come back into contact with the language."
Aims and activities
The basic aim is to restore and maintain the language by having a place where speakers can make connections with each other, learn and practise Irish.
It is intended to use the site for Irish language immersion weeks, as well as the annual Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada. Its permanence allows the development of a community which can gather periodically, thus addressing the problem of there being relatively few people in North America with whom one can speak the language. It is intended to build a learning centre with such resources as DVDs, video tapes, course books, literature and other texts. Other objectives are to arrange exchanges with Gaeltacht families, to provide an Irish-language summer camp for children and to bring teachers from Ireland on a regular basis.
- Ó Cuív, Éamonn. "Searmanas Oscáilte Chumann na Gaeltachta" (Craobh Chláirseach Theamhrach Chomhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, 2007) Page 7.
- McKittrick, David. "Bualadh bos... Gaeltacht goes global." Independent.ie. 18 April 2007
- "GAELTACHT CHEANADA." BBC Northern Ireland June 2007.
- "Donegal example inspired idea for first gaeltacht outside of Ireland." The Donegal News 22 June 2007.
- TG4.ie (article now archived)