The number of children now learning Manx Gaelic, particularly with the continuing success of the Bunscoill Ghaelgagh (Manx Language Primary School) at St. Johns, is growing. But so is the demand for the opportunity to use what they have learned in a social setting.
This has prompted the creation of a new Manx speaking youth club in Peel, specifically to cater for children between the ages of 10 – 14, and is based at Peel Youth Centre. ‘Possan Aeglagh’ offers the opportunity for young Manx speakers to meet each Monday evening after discussions earlier this year identified a need for such an outlet. It is also in line with the Isle of Man curriculum which states pupils should be encouraged to embrace Isle of Man society and Manx culture.
Youth worker in charge of the club is Manx speaker Cathy Clucas who explained the reasons behind the decision to base the club in Peel. A high percentage of young Manx speakers live in the west of the Island, but an evening slot was also available at the Peel Youth Centre on Shore Road.
‘Possan Aeglagh’, however, is open to any young person Island wide who is in the process of learning, or speaking Manx. Depending on the level of interest organisers may be able to broaden the sessions to include a wider age range.
Organisers also hope to establish contact with other Gaelic speaking youth clubs in Ireland and Scotland and in other Celtic countries with a view to organising some exchange visits in the future.
The opening of ‘Possan Aeglagh’ was timed to coincide with the annual ‘Cooish’ festival, which promotes and celebrates all aspects of the Manx language.
Officially opened by Graham Cregeen MHK and member for the Youth and Community Division of the Department of Education, he was joined by pupils from Bunscoill Ghaelgagh who treated an invited audience to a selection of music and song in the Island’s native language.
Valerie Caine © January 2010