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The Bier Baron Tavern and Comedy Loft
1523 22nd St NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20037
Profs and Pints presents: “Intro to Gaelic,” with Jennifer O’Riordan, native of Cork and former assistant director of Irish Studies and Irish language instructor at Catholic University.
The Irish language is Ireland’s most fragile natural resource and an unbroken link to its past. Called An Ghaeilge or simply Irish within Ireland, and Gaelic beyond the island’s borders, it is the oldest written vernacular north of the Alps. It’s taught to all Irish schoolchildren from the ages of five to eighteen, and about 40 percent of the Republic of Ireland’s population can speak it, with large percentages using it as their first language in the Irish-speaking regions known as Gaeltachtaí. Its importance is emphasized with the saying Tír gan teanga tír gan anam---a country without a language is a country without a soul.
No matter what shenanigans you have gotten into on Saint Patrick’s Day, you can get your soul back by taking an introductory Gaelic class from Professor Jennifer O’Riordan. You won’t find any better way to gain an insight into Ireland, its people, and its culture. She will start by discussing the origins and use of the language and Irish words you did not know you knew, such as whiskey, galore, brogue, smithereens, and Baltimore. She’ll then give you tips on basic pronunciation: Why is Saoirse Ronan’s name pronounced Seersha? Why don’t the Irish pronounce the th like the rest of the English speaking world?
From there Professor O’Riordan will tackle questions such as why the Irish are always talking about craic: How’s the craic, what’s the craic, did you have good craic? What is craic anyway?
Then she’ll launch into teaching a selection of Gaelic greetings and useful phrases. We’ll end the evening like all good Irish evenings end, with a song.
Come gain an appreciation of why Gaelic is experiencing a revival not only in Ireland, but all over the world, and now ranks among the ten most popular languages offered by the language app Duolingo. Beir bua! (Advance tickets: $12. Doors: $15, save $2 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk begins 30 minutes later. Please allow yourself plenty of time to place any orders and be seated and settled in.)