A new collection of Irish oral histories celebrating the history and culture of the Irish language in Boston is now available online. 

Editor’s note: Seachtain na Gaeilge, celebrated from March 1 - 17, 2020, is an international Irish language festival and one of the biggest celebrations of our native language and culture that takes place each year in Ireland and in many other countries. IrishCentral, with offices in Dublin and New York, is delighted to celebrate it with them this year check out our Irish language stories here.

The University of Massachusetts Boston's Joseph P. Healey's Library has arranged a special archive collection consisting of five interviews, conducted entirely as Gaeilge, which discusses the unique importance of the Irish language to the Irish diaspora over the past 50 years. 

The interviews are also accompanied by English transcripts. 

The interviews explore several themes, from an upbringing through the Irish language to the social and economic conditions of growing up in Ireland. 

The project, entitled 'Boston and the Irish language,' investigates the importance of Irish in forming bonds between Irish emigrants from Connemara living in Boston with relatives back home. 

Read more: How the Irish language is being kept alive in New York

Carried out between 2016 and 2018 with five Irish immigrants in the U.S., the oral histories also tackle the reasons for emigrating to America, difficulties adapting and participating in the United States and the changes experienced since arriving on the opposite side of the Atlantic Ocean. 

UMass' Joseph B. Healey Library has curated the interviews as part of its University Archives & Special Collections, which holds a range of oral history collections. 

Here's just a sample of their work, an interview with Sean Mannion:

The project is sponsored by Cumann na Gaeilge i mBoston (The Irish Language Society of Boston) and also supported by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and a Mass Humanities Project Grant.  

* Originally published in Jan 2020.

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