Below are some pictures from a unique type of Irish event in America. It's put together by people who speak Irish and have a detail-oriented not-for-profit organization called Daltaí na Gaeilge that's been making these life-changing weekends-away happen for decades. The immersion weekends are for those lovers of Irish culture who wish engage it on a deeper level. Daltaí means students, and it's for anybody with the desire to learn.

The event below took place in a maritime setting by the beach on a long sliver of an island along the coast of New Jersey. The guests were a group of a couple dozen advanced speakers and students of An Ghaeilge, the majestic native language of Irish culture. Daltaí organized everything, from soup to nuts, hotel to classes, entertainment and networking opportunities at the cheapest possible vacation price. The next weekend coming up is for newbies and cainteoirí líofa--it's for everybody who wants to get into or get a taste of this world-wide Irish language phenomenon. A lot more people will be at that one as its inclusive of people coming to the language for the first time.

For those who missed this event, but would like to spend a lovely weekend in nature--by a river this time, upstate New York--and really engage Irish culture at the linguistic and poetic level, Daltaí na Gaeilge is offering another immersion experience and weekend getaway from Friday May 7th to May 9th at a lovely lovely retreat built with the soul's rejuvenation in mind. The Irish word for soul is anam, and is related to the Sanskrit word for soul, Ātman or आत्मन्. Indeed, it's a common expression at these weekends: tír gan teanga, tír gan anam--a nation that loses its language, will lose its soul. The people of Daltaí are soulful, like the ancient art of Irish learning has always required.

Mícheál Ó Máille is a man of rare experience and philosophy. Coming from the liminal world in Connemara of the breac-Gaeltacht, he is used to living between two worlds--idir dhá chultúr mar atá sé scríofa le Declan Kiberd. Ó Máille is recently returned from China, and he is a man who will elevate your intinn--your mind--with the connections he makes between Gaelic culture and the Chinese and the sciences and how our own culture has within it that ancient wisdom which answers many of the modern quandries and anxieties of being. He's one of the Daltaí people you'll meet at one of their events.

This is a map of where the event took place. I think it's called Árainn, but it may have a name closer to the Lenapé tradition native to this area of the world in New Jersey. To me it was Árainn. The organizers were able to host classes during the three days we were together in a Maritime Museum, immediately connecting the Celtic fringe to the sea, just as the dialect I am learning is associated with the area of Gaillimhe or Galway called Cois Fharraige, beside the sea.

There are so many wonderful people you will meet when you get in with Daltaí. Sorcha changed my mind on euthanasia. We discussed it in Irish--she with much patience and eye contact and body gesturing. One of the beautiful things you learn at an Irish immersion weekend is that communication without English blows the mind and puts it into a more receptive place. These weekends connect you to people through communication beyond English firstly, and through Irish ultimately, or hopefully, and quite often successfully, surprisingly.