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Category: Education (Page 1 of 13)

Scotland – Gaelic language school a victim of success

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PUPIL numbers at Glasgow Gaelic School are at an all-time high. But the popularity of the school has landed education bosses with a problem – they cannot find enough fluent Gaelic-speaking teachers. This year the secondary school has around 62 students on the roll but next year that number is set to rise to 100.
Over 70 children will enroll in the primary school next term.

Gaelic Language Schools

Glasgow was the first council to provide a dedicated Gaelic secondary school, recognised nationally as a ground breaking approach.

Margaret Doran, executive director of education and social work, admitted the shortage would hit lessons.

She said:

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Cardiff couple boost the Breton language

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The Flag of Brittany

The Flag of Brittany

A Cardiff couple have been actively aiding the survival of the dwindling Breton language. The Brittanica tells us that Breton is “a member of the Brythonic group of Celtic languages, spoken in Brittany in northwestern France. Breton was introduced into northwestern France in the 5th and 6th centuries by Brythonic Celtic refugees displaced from southern England by the influx of Anglo-Saxons.

The language is closely related to Cornish and Welsh but has been influenced by French and perhaps by a continental Celtic language formerly spoken in the region.” [Brittanica]There are about 540,000 speakers of this Celtic language and a Welsh couple are helping to revive it.

Richard Thorpe and his Breton partner Dr Jacqueline Gibson both speak Welsh and Breton and have been active raising links between Wales and Brittany since moving to France 18 months ago. More than 700 people recently took part in a sponsored run in Brittany in aid of Breton-language schools. The course began in Nantes and ran west via Lannion, which has been twinned since 1991 with Caerphilly. It finished in Carhaix-Plougher in central Brittany.

Welsh and Breton speakers can talk to each other

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Thornborough Henges: How YOU can help preserve them with a few words

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The Heritage Trust Blog reports : CAMPAIGNERS say allowing people access to a set of ancient monuments in North Yorkshire whose importance is said to rival Stonehenge is crucial to safeguarding their future. The Thornborough Heritage Trust has been set up to protect and raise awareness of the six “henges” and other Neolithic and Bronze Age sites on fields between Bedale and Ripon, with one of its first  objectives being to open them up to visitors.Dr Jan Harding, one of the trust’s founders and a senior archaeology lecturer at Newcastle University, said:

Despite being of unique cultural value and being described by English Heritage as the most important prehistoric site between Stonehenge and the Orkneys, it is closed to visitors, lacks educational information and sits in an extensively quarried landscape. At the moment, there isn’t even a display board. Getting some kind of formal access for the public is vital.”

It’s a while since we at Heritage Action went there (as part of our campaign against Tarmac PLC’s application to quarry its surroundings) but we do recall it was very visitor-unfriendly with no signage, parking or access. We also remember two more things that might be helpful:

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Celtic Research exploring Celtic Origins reaches its third year!

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The ‘Ancient Britain and the Atlantic Zone’ project, based at the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies at Aberystwyth, held its third annual forum at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff on Saturday 4 June. So reads the ground-breaking news from the University of Wales.

An audience of over a hundred heard experts presenting cutting-edge Celtic research in the fields of archaeology, genetics and linguistics. Project leader Professor John Koch began by setting out the implications of his ground-breaking work on the Tartessian inscriptions of the south-west Iberian Peninsula, dating back as far as the 8th century BC, which he argues to be the earliest attested Celtic language.

Tartessian Language provides key to Celtic Research

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Iron Age Warfare in Britain – Part 1 By Sue Carter

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A fabulous informative article written about Iron Age Warfare by Sue Carter appeared in Heritage Daily recently. We enjoyed it so much, we knew our readers would find it fascinating too. Here is a taster. Enjoy  :)

On whatever pretext you stir them up, you will have them ready to face danger, even if they have nothing on their side but their own strength and courage –Strabo, (64 BC – 24 AD).

Almost all of the Gauls are of tall stature, fair and ruddy, terrible for the fierceness of their eyes, fond of quarrelling and of overbearing insolence – Ammianus, (4th Century AD).

The two quotes were written by classical authors describing the Gauls of France as known at the time. Strabo would have been aware of Caesar’s excursion to Britain and possibly have read his account of the people he had been in contact with. Diodorus Siculus (V 21, 3-6) describes Britain as,

 ‘Inhabited by tribes that are aboriginal, and in their lifestyle preserve the old ways; for they make use of chariots in the wars….’

(Diodorus cited in Ireland 2003).

Due to Britain’s isolation it is possible that many of the ‘old ways’ were still being followed.

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Celtic Musical Instruments by Helen McSkimming

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An important form of expression in any culture is its music, each culture having its own independent style. This cultural expression is enhanced through the instruments it is played on. In our Celtic culture, the main instruments were and are the BODHRAN (drum), the FEADAN (whistle) the CLARSACH (harp) and the PIOB (bagpipes). All of these instruments still have the power to stir ancestral memory in people of today.

BODHRAN

The first of these, the Irish drum, the bodhran, is the oldest form of musical instrument, its equivalent being found all over the world. The Bodhran was traditionally made in the following way: A circular hoop was made out of the wood of the ash tree and an animal skin, usually of deer, calf or goat, which had been soaked in a stream for nine days, was stretched over the hoop and secured firmly around the edge of it.

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Celtic Scottish Sweat Lodge/Sauna saved and re-built

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Moving Stone at Bressay
Pic: Bronze Age Bressay
News at the Scotsman.com reports that a Bronze Age structure thought to have been used as a sauna has been saved from destruction by the sea after a team of archaeologists moved the entire find to a safer location. The building, which dates from between 1500BC and 1200BC, was unearthed on the Shetland island of Bressay eight years ago. It was found in the heart of the Burnt Mound at Cruester, a Bronze Age site on the coast of Bressay facing Lerwick.

But earlier this summer (2008), because of the increased threat of coastal erosion, local historians joined archaeologists to launch a campaign to save the building and to move it somewhere safer. A third of the mound had already been lost to sea erosion.

The central structure was carefully dismantled and each stone numbered before being moved to a site a mile way next to Bressay Heritage Centre.

And today (23/8/2008), following the completion of the unusual removal scheme, the Bronze Age building will be officially opened at its new location by Tavish Scott, the MSP for Shetland. Douglas Coutts, the project officer with Bressay History Group, said the structure was one of the most important archaeological discoveries ever made in the Northern Isles.

The building was hidden in a mound of burnt stones and is thought to have been used for feasts, baths or even saunas.

The structure comprises a series of dry-stone, walled cells, connected by two corridors. At the end of one corridor is a hearth cell, thought to have been used for heating stones, and at the other end is a tank sunk into the ground which is almost two metres long, more than a metre wide, and half a metre deep.

Burnt Mound at Cruester,  at Bressay
Pic:Bronze Age Bressay

Mr Coutts said:

Burnt mounds don’t usually consist of very much more than a hearth and a tank and a heap of burnt stones. But in Shetland, we seem to have much more complex structures with little rooms or cells leading off from a main passageway which connects the hearth and tank.

He added:

 

We think these cells may have originally been roofed over in a beehive shape. One theory is that these structures may have been used for cooking meat or tanning hides. But it is possible they could have raised steam by heating the water and that these little cells could have been used as saunas.

Tom Dawson, a researcher at St Andrews University who also worked on the removal project, said coastal erosion was threatening thousands of archaeological sites around Scotland.

 

The local group here came up with a novel idea for dealing with the problem. It is great to have had the chance to give new life to this particular site and make it accessible to future generations, while also learning something new, not just about Cruester, but about burnt mounds in general.

This structure is important in world terms. There are thousands of burnt mounds in Britain, Ireland and Scandinavia but only a handful are known to have structures within them.

Mr Scott praised the partnership between the local history group and outside archaeological bodies.

He said:

This exhibition will be a great asset for visitors to Bressay and local people. The more we understand about the past, the better informed we are about the future.

[Source]

Look out tomorrow for more details on how the re-construction of the Burnt Mound is helping Education in 2009.

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Update on Saving Newgrange: A New Hope?

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Proposed Slane Bypass
Pic: Save Newgrange
Vincent Salafia of Save Newgrange tells us that the Irish Times has reported that new consultations are being ordered to discuss the Slane Bypass that is threatening the ancient home of Angus Og, the Brugh na Boyne – the monument that is now called Newgrange.

Click on the image to the left to see the detail.

The Irish Times reports:

A NEW round of public consultations on controversial plans for a dual-carriageway bypass of Slane, Co Meath, has been ordered by An Bord Pleanála, with October 15th set as the closing date. A public notice advertising the new round of consultations was published recently in national newspapers. The original consultation period closed on February 25th last.

An Bord Pleanála had sought additional information from Meath County Council on the road scheme, including whether an alternative route running to the west of Slane had been examined. The current proposal, which is being advanced on behalf of the National Roads Authority (NRA), would run to the east of Slane, some 500 metres from the boundary of Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site.

The appeals board also sought alternative designs for a new bridge over the river Boyne, noting that the cable-stayed bridge originally proposed would be visible from the World Heritage Site. It also wanted the council to produce more detailed archaeological and geophysical reports on investigations of 44 archaeological sites that would be affected by the original scheme.

The information was sought “in order to clarify certain points in the environmental impact statement [EIS] and assist the board’s assessment of the likely effects on the environment” of the road. This followed complaints to An Bord Pleanála by the Save Newgrange group, former attorney general John Rogers SC and leading archaeologist Prof George Eogan that the EIS was flawed.

Save Newgrange spokesman Vincent Salafia said:

“We will be waging an international campaign over the next month, particularly in Northern Ireland, to get as many objections as possible filed with An Bord Pleanála.”

Save Newgrange

Irish Times

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Grace O’Malley the Dark Lady of Doona

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Our many to thanks the Irish Cultural Society of the Garden City Area for allowing us to post this great article to share with our readers. She is known by many names: Grainne Mhaol (Bald Grace), Grainne Ui Mhaille (Grace of the Umhalls), Grania, the Dark Lady of Doona, Grace O’Malley, and Granuaile (Gran-oo-ale). She was a contemporary of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Edmund Spencer, Walter Raleigh, and Francis Drake. She was a mother, a pirate, and one of the many great women of Ireland.

Born c. 1530 into the O’Malley family, the hereditary lords of Umhall which included Clare Island, Inishturk, Inishbofin, Inishark and Caher, Grace married into two of the powerful families of Western Ireland, the O’Flaherty of West Connacht and the Burke of Clew Bay. Tradition has it that she is buried (1603) on Clare Island at the Abbey which bears the O’Malley coat-of-arms; Terra-Marique-Potens. Indeed a fitting family motto, for Grace was powerful on land and especially on the sea.

The Life of Granuaile

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All Celtic Nations hear the ‘Visit Cornwall!’ message

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Wheat Coates Tin Mine
Pic: NapaneeGal
The Cornish Guardian in This is Cornwall reports in August 2011: Cornish rugby shirts selling like hot cakes, plenty of Spingo to wash down the pasties, cream teas and some good old sea shanties to keep the atmosphere merry proved a hit with our continental counterparts.

People from Cornwall have been visiting the Festivale Interceltique in Lorient, Brittany, for many years, but a delegation has just returned by Brittany Ferries which has taken the message both to the French themselves, and people from Celtic nations all over the world who had travelled to France, that it was time they paid a visit to Cornwall.
The festival this year attracted 650,000 people to hear the music, taste the food and drink, and to join in a get-together of Celtic people from all over the world, from Guadeloupe to Chile, Mexico to Vietnam, as well as the nations closer to home such as the Bretons, Irish, Scots and Welsh.

With the 41st festival celebrating the Celtic diaspora, it was a festival which explored where people of Celtic origin had travelled and taken their culture. It brought up an amazing mix, from Jack Kerouac to Le Bagad Karukera pipe band, complete with colourful girl dancers from Guadeloupe.

A huge crowd of 80,000 packed the route through Lorient of the grand parade which included 78 mainly pipe bands and lasted for three hours, 40 minutes. It is a unique experience, with Breton villages especially involving all the family, from grandparents to babes in arms as they dance to their pipe bands.

Neil Plummer and Beatrice Kerno, who have played a major part in the organisation of the Cornwall representation at the festival for many years, were in the parade, along with Cornwall Council Cabinet member for Customer First and Culture Joan Symons and the Bolingey Troyl Band from Perranporth.

Progressive folk-rock band Pentorr, from East Cornwall, played a packed gig, while the Bolingey Troyl Band appeared at one of the big venues, Espace Marine, and also entertained outside the Cornwall stand.

Another Perranporth outfit, Stamp and Go, brought a real smile to the crowds after rain poured down after the grand parade. Just as the parade ended the heavens opened, but Stamp and Go got into strong voice with shanties and traditional Cornish songs which drew crowds to both the Cornwall stand and the Blue Anchor bar, over from Helston, to sell litre after litre of four strengths of their Spingo, brewed in Cornwall and shipped over by Brittany Ferries.

Simon and Kim Stone had brought over plenty of bar staff to deal with the queues for not only Spingo, but Cornish pasties and cream teas.

The French had a bit of a problem with cream teas, with one couple eating the scones without touching the jam or cream, saying:

“I see, you put the cream in the tea.”

There were plenty of other Cornish there – John Nelligan with his historic boat the Grace, from Penzance, Hilary Hughes, from Saltash, with her copper, seawater and salt works on canvas, and Melanie Guy, from Stoke Climsland, with her work in metals.

This is Cornwall

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You can also now download a Celtic Myth Podshow App from the iTunes store. This is the most convenient and reliable way to access the Celtic Myth Podshow on your iPhone or iPod Touch. You’re always connected to the latest episode, and our App users have access to exclusive bonus content, just touch and play! To find out more visit the iTunes Store or our Description Page.

 

You can now also find an Android version of the App which works identically to the iPhone version. You can find it on Appbrain at http://www.appbrain.com/app/celtic-myth-show/tv.wizzard.android.celticmythpodshow841 or by using the QR code opposite.

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