Northern Ireland news

Irish language trail launched at Ulster Folk Museum

Madison Moore and Daire McElroy, from Gaelscoil Aodha Rua in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, with the Cúl Trá-il booklet

A NEW Irish language trail has been launched at the Ulster Folk Museum as part of a wider 'languages of Ulster' project.

The Cúl Trá-il - from the Irish place name for Cultra (Baile Chúl Trá) - is a self-guided tour which will explore Irish through the places and people of the Co Down museum.

Work is also underway to introduce an Ulster Scots trail.

The Cúl Trá-il is available in English and Irish via an illustrated booklet or smartphone app.

Visitors will learn that the 1900s residents of Ballycultra townland, the site of the museum, included Irish speakers from different classes and denominations.

An architect from Belfast and his wife from Louth, a mason from Donegal, a stationmaster's daughter from Antrim and a sculptor of Dutch parentage all spoke the language.

Donal McAnallen, library and archives manager at National Museums NI, said the trail had been designed "to tell an inclusive history, revealing how language across Ulster formed a much more nuanced and interconnected weave than is often presumed".

As part of the language project, Ulster dialect archive manuscripts will be digitised and new resources will be created based a survey of Hiberno-English which contains 539 tapes of people in every county of Ireland recorded between 1972 and 1981.

William Blair, director of collections at National Museums NI, said it had been a "custodian and champion of the languages and dialects of Ulster and Ireland" since the 1960s.

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