I spent last Thursday filming at the Bunscoill Ghaelgagh for a short video piece I'm putting together about the school; although I'm a regular enough visitor there, being at the school for the whole day, reminded me of why it is I'm in this job in the first place. The dedication and commitment of the staff, the loyalty and enthusiasm of the parents hardly need repeating but it was both heart warming and rewarding to speak to so many children in Manx.
We're all aware of the current economic climate that the Island finds itself in and that some people will continue to question the resources spent on a school that teaches through the medium of Manx Gaelic; however, a short visit to the school would allay any suspicions and concerns. They wouldn't find a 'drain on resources' or 'something we can't afford' but committed staff, involved parents and fantastic children at a school that just happens to teach the curriculum through Manx Gaelic
Not that long ago when I appeared on Manx Radio, I was asked by a caller 'what was the point of Manx Gaelic?' In some sense this begs a larger question: 'what's the point of the Isle of Man?'. This very point was reinforced by a recent review I saw from an Irish magazine of a book about Medieval History in the Island which made the somewhat bold statement that the Island today (unlike it's medieval predecessor) had 'become largely peripheral to the cultural and political milieu of modern Europe'.
I've often said that I hope future history books won't see the Island simply as a footnote to European and British history, 'a well regulated off-shore tax jurisdiction' but little more. Honourable and important that this might be, we can strive to achieve much more than this, and hopefully in the process, become an integral part of the cultural and political milieu of modern Europe.
In this sense the Bunscoill's success (click here) can illustrate to the wider world - and indeed many who live in the Island - that there is more to this small island nation than tax, motorbikes and tailless cats. We have our own culture and a successful revival of interest in the language; through the hard work (historically unpaid) of many enthusiasts and activists we now have a growing and vibrant language community. This is a success story, something we have done well and something we can all be proud off in the Island. No-one else will look after our language; it's up to us to do it, and not be shy of saying how good we are at it!
I'm putting together some more information for people about the language and the school which I hope should illustrate what a great resource we have here; more to come on that, but in the meantime check out the following videos of the Bunscoill both of which aired on the Manx Telecom site: for the Bunscoill celebrating ten years of success click here and for their fair trade succeess (click here)