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Helen Forde

 

‘Bhí an stair agus an cultúr an-suimiúil agus spreagúil. Anseo sna Muirí, bhíomar báite le daoine a tháinig ó Na Blascaodaí. Bhí Cáit Ní Chearnaigh ina measc agus tháinig sí ar chuairt gach uile lá. Bhí an saol crua uirthi, fuair deartháir níos óige ná í bás ó meiningíteas. Ba mhór an tragóid é seo di, agus labhair sí faoi go minic.

 

‘Bhí Cáit Ní Chriothain ós ár gcomhair amach. Bhí clog álainn acu sa tigh a tháinig ó Na Blascaodaí. Bhí ceangal álainn againn leo agus suimiúil dúine a mahir sa mhórthír. Ní raibh morán eolas agam faoi Na Blascaodaí agus ba mhóir dúinn éisteacht lena raibh le h-innsint acu dúinn.

 

‘Bhí mo pháistí ag tosnú ag freastail ar Gaelscoil agus bhí mé ag déanamh iarracht mo Ghaeilge labhartha a thabhairt ar ais go dtí leibhéil níos airde ná an Árd Teist. Labhrainn le Mike Ida, James Ashe and Cáit Ní Chearnaigh i nGaeilge. 

 

‘Bhí an t-am acu, bhí siad ar scor agus labhair said go mall liom. Ceann ar cheann fuair siad bás agus stop mé ag caint Gaeilge. D’athraigh mé ar ais go Béarla mar bhí na daoine ag labhairt liom chomh tapaidh sin i nGaeilge.’

‘To me the history and the culture has always been interesting and stimulating. In Muiríoch we were surrounded by people who had come from the Blaskets. Cáit Carney was one of those and she came and visited us every day. Her life had been hard, her younger brother had died of meningitis.

 

'The tragedy of her brother dying was huge for her. She talked about that an awful lot.  We had Cáit Ní Chriothain in front of us. They had a lovely clock from the Blasket Islands in their house. It was a lovely connection with them — it was interesting for us coming from inland Ireland.

'I didn’t know a huge amount about the Blaskets and it was pretty amazing to meet these people. My children were starting to go to the Gaelscoil and I was trying to get my Gaeilge labhartha back up to better than the Leaving Cert.

'I used to talk to Mike Ida, James Ashe and Cáit Carney in Irish. They all had time; they were retired and they spoke slowly to me. One by one they died and I stopped talking Irish. People I was talking to would come back with such speed that I changed to English.’