Eric Davison, The Fulcrum
January 22, 2018
The University of Ottawa’s Celtic studies program is taking part in a global online campaign beginning Jan. 22 to support the world’s Irish-speaking populations. Literally translated as “Across the Waves,” Trasna na dTonnta is described by its organizers as a “Cyber-Gaeltacht,” a reference to traditional Irish-speaking communities in the west of Ireland.
Classic Gaeltachts serve as a place for Irish populations to reconnect with a heritage and culture left in tatters after centuries of English subjugation. Trasna na dTonnta was created for a similar purpose—to reconnect Irish populations across the world to their language and history.
The U of O’s participation in the project is spearheaded by Síle Concannon, a professor of Irish language at the university on an exchange through the Ireland-Canada University Foundation as part of her doctoral program.
Crossing the waves to return to the homeland is a recurring theme in Irish literature and forms the chorus of a traditional Irish folk song of the same name. The modern movement focuses on a similar idea, inviting individuals from across the world to explore their heritage.
“We are reaching out to people all across the world, from people with just a few words of Irish to fluent speakers to tweet out something,” said Concannon. “Whatever they can speak, whatever the fluency they have.”
Concannon has turned the initiative into a project for her Irish language classes and the Celtic studies program in general, where students will contribute a variety of poetry, art, and spoken Irish pieces until Friday, Jan. 26.