Dedicated to the Gaelic Language of the Isle of Man
Imraaghyn Features

Cooish review

Workshops on writing original songs in Manx and learning useful phrases to share with your children were amongst the topics of the new-look Cooish festival.

Re-launched after a four-year break, the Gaelic festival, which promotes and encourages the everyday use and learning of the Manx language, featured a concert evening and a full day of workshops and events designed to kick-start interest in the language and rejuvenate the festival for future generations.

The word ’Cooish’ itself has many meanings, and can translate as either a get-together, a chat, a meeting, an informal conversation or a cause.

Saturday morning saw groups of more than 20 parents take part in activities and word games designed to help them learn the language alongside their children.

Taking place in the Methodist Hall, St John’s, the parents learnt how to say basic greetings and ask about their day in Manx, and engaged each other in conversations.

Elsewhere, Manx speakers and tutors Jamys Harrison and Bob Carswell gave a workshop on how to translate English written work into Manx.

The afternoon saw a workshop held to help people write original music in Manx Gaelic, and was aimed at those musicians who are thinking about entering the Arrane Son Mannin competition, which is to be held in January.

Friday night saw a ’Giense’, or a concert party, held at the Peel Masonic Hall.

This featured music from the young folk group Scran.

The educational book, ’1000 Words in Manx’ was re-released during the weekend.

The 2017 Cooish was organised by Adrian Cain, who saw this year’s event as a chance to find new people who would be interested enough to help take the language forward in the future. ’The Cooish was really successful in promoting and raising the profile of Manx,’ said Adrian. ’But after a while I thought we were doing so much work promoting Manx language throughout the year that it seemed quite strange to say that we must do something in one particular week. So we left it for a while.

’But for the last four or five years there have been a lot more people involved in speaking Manx, and especially a lot more young people.

’Also, as we were working on a Manx Language strategy, it would be good to get it going again.’

Adrian said that this year’s Cooish was held with an eye fixed on 2021, when they intend to have a whole year dedicated to promoting Manx Gaelic. ’In 2021, we are looking at having a year devoted to the language,’ he explained.

’We will be working towards that, whether it will be with the Department of Education peripatetic team, the Bunscoill Ghaelgagh, Culture Vannin, the Mooinjer Veggey and the voluntary sector as well. The idea is that in 2021 we’ll really try to raise the profile of the language, and we’ll get a lot of things happening throughout the year.

This year’s Cooish is just a little introduction to that, to try and get people involved, and to get an introductory committee going, which will work towards trying to expand the Cooish over the next few years with 2021 in mind.’