A Russian man has been assigned the task of reviving the Irish language in a Kerry Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking region).
Dr. Victor Bayda, a native of Moscow, has been appointed as an Irish language officer with Comhchoiste Ghaeltacht Uíbh Ráthaigh, a community organization in the south Kerry Gaeltacht of Uíbh Ráthach (the Iveragh Peninsula).
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Bayda is fluent in Irish and has been teaching the language in a Moscow university for more than ten years.
He speaks nine languages including Dutch, Scots Gaelic, Welsh, Swedish, French, German and Icelandic and was awarded a Ph.D. for a thesis that dealt with aspects of the Irish language.
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Bayda becomes the tenth language planning officer appointed as part of the Irish government's 20-year strategy for the Irish language.
The plan’s aim is to keep the language alive in Gaeltacht areas as well as increase the number of daily speakers of Irish.
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Bayda has moved from his home in Moscow to take up residence in Ballinskelligs on the tip of the Iveragh Peninsula and says he began learning the language while attending university, but that he was aware of its existence as a young teenager.
"I have had an interest in languages since I was 13, especially the Celtic languages. I had learned some Welsh and Scots Gaelic by the time I went to university,” he told RTÉ News.
"It was then I discovered that Irish was available and I signed up for the course.
"I also picked up a lot of Irish from listening to the language on TG4 and Raidió na Gaeltachta.
"Then I had an opportunity to study at Trinity College where I first heard Irish as a living, breathing language."
Bayda will be tasked with implementing a comprehensive language plan aimed at arresting the decline of the language on the peninsula.
Uíbh Ráthach is renowned for its rich folklore and linguistic heritage, however, the south Kerry Gaeltacht is now struggling.
From Russia with grá - The man tasked with devising a plan to save the Irish language in a part of the Kerry Gaeltacht is from Moscow pic.twitter.com/VmcH4lzBxD— RTÉ News (@rtenews) February 20, 2019
According to the most recent Census in 2016, just 7% of the Gaeltacht population speak Irish on a daily basis outside the education system.
However, over 60% of the population there claims to have the ability to speak Irish.
Have you ever tried to learn Irish? Let us know in the comments section, below.