Douglas Hyde died on July 12, 1949. His gift to Ireland, Canada and all was 89 years of wisdom, poetry and adventure. At the unveiling of the Bronze Sculpture of Dr. Douglas Hyde, Ireland’s past president Mary McAleese said of him, “When we think of Douglas Hyde today we often think of him as just the first President of Ireland, but that is surely to put the cart before the horse. He was chosen as President because of his giant contribution to our cultural history.”
By the pole slope that Canada faces
The ice giants hurtle and reel,
For her seven months winter she cases
her land in a casket of steel.
Yet I pine for her mighty embraces
In the home of the moose and the seal,
And I pine for her beautiful places
And sad is the feeling I feel
When snowflakes remind me of her.
Ailísín Ní Mhaoildeirg
2014 RTE Ireland's national radio and television broadcaster launched news in Irish.
The ravaging winter is over.
The Wizard of Silence is fled,
And violets peep from their cover,
And daisies are raising their head.
Earth blushes to life like a lover.
And wakes in her emerald bed
And she and the heavens above her
In torrents of sunshine are wed
Forgetting the swoon of the snow.
Irish (Gaeilge), also referred to as Gaelic or Irish Gaelic, originated in Ireland and was historically spoken by the Irish people. By the end of British rule it was spoken by fewer than 15%. In 1893 Douglas Hyde (elected that year as first president of Ireland) co-founded the Gaelic League (Conradh na Gaeilge} the national movement for the revival of the Irish language. Today Irish enjoys constitutional status as the national and first official language of the Republic of Ireland. The 2011 census indicated 94,000 people reported using Irish as a daily language outside of the school system, and 1.3 million reported occasional use in or out of school. Irish has the oldest vernacular literature in Western Europe.
The Ireland Canada Monument honours the many men & women who are learning, speaking, teaching and rekindling Irish in Ireland and Canada.
Sheila Scott, Ph.D.
Directrice adjointe/ Assistant Director
Professeure de langue /Language Professor
Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute (OLBI/
Institut des langues officielles et du bilinguisme (ILOB)
Université d’Ottawa/University of Ottawa 171
Equipped with snowshoes for winter in New Brunswick
Bridget Grealis Guglich
Bridget was born in Ballycroy, Co Mayo, a remote area of Ireland, which is now a National Park. She attended
Drumgallagh National School and then St. Dympna’s Secondary School, Achill Sound where she mastered the Irish language with the help of the school’s founder, Padráig Mac Suibhne.
Having obtained her High School Leaving Certificate, Brigid taught in the national school in Innisbiggle for a year but, without certification, she was not qualified to continue. A lack of opportunities in Ireland meant tough decisions. In 1953 she began the three year training program at the Whittington Hospital in Highgate, London, to become a State Registered Nurse in England and Wales and, embarking on another year, became a State Registered Midwife. However, life in London had lost its appeal. Canada beckoned.
She found herself in a vibrant, lively city when she arrived in Montreal the Springtime of 1961. The Montreal General Hospital was very modern and there she encountered many interesting situations and personalities. She married in Montreal in 1964. They moved on to Sudbury in 1967 and then to Ottawa which is still home. Bridget worked part time in various nursing positions while their two children were young. She then turned to the mental health and addictions field, where she worked full time until retirement.
With two teenagers and full time work, Briget embarked on an external degree program at the University of Waterloo and obtained a Bachelor of Arts (History) followed soon by a Bachelor of Science Nursing from the University of the State of New York, Albany. With so much accomplished, Bridget herself would say the absence of the Irish Language in daily life left a big void. Retirement opened the door. She started to attend classes and was soon fluent again. The contacts she made allowed her to associate with other groups sha interest.
She attended weekends in Montreal, Kingston and Ottawa and was one of the members of the Ottawa Group attending the “Twenty Year Strategy for the Irish Language in North America” in New York City. Elected Irish Officer in the Ottawa Branch of CCE she worked with Aralt Mac Giolla Chainnigh to promote the Irish language.
She successfully reorganized the group which had previously arranged Irish Language Weekends in Ottawa and brought it under the auspices of CCE. This new group “Caint is Comhrá” continues with the primary aim of arranging the annual Irish language weekend, Irish language days, Conversation groups and supplying teachers for the weekly CCE Irish classes and at the Gaeltacht in Tamworth, where she is usually in demand. Now, with time to immerse herself in her native culture, she eagerly shares her knowledge with learners and feels at ease in the familiar community. Reading Irish Language publications and listening to Radio na Gaeltachta and TG4 are part of her daily routine.
in 1891, Douglas Hyde was invited to teach modern languages at the University of New Brunswick. Settled into his career and a community of friends, he was introduced, and inevitably fascinated, with the language and culture of Canada’s indigenous people. His interest soon became a study of comparing their folklore with the folklore of Gaelic Ireland – it was an interest rooted in his childhood.
Douglas Ross Hyde was born January 17, 1860, the youngest of four brothers born to Elizabeth (Oldfield) and Arthur Hyde. who was a Church of Ireland rector in Co. Sligo. Douglas would spend his first seven formative years in Co. Sligo home- schooled by his father and his aunt due to a childhood illness. Sligo was a county among the worst affected by An Gorta Mór - ‘the Great Hunger’. It would have seemed unlikely for a lad from the Hyde family to mingle with the peasants on his father’s estate. But Douglas was fascinated by their stories and learned as he listened to elders speaking the Roscommon Gaeilge dialect. His ‘best friend’ was the gamekeeper Seamus Hart, an old Gilly (servant) who shared with him the legends of Queen Meadbh (Maeve) and Gaelic royalty. Douglas was 14, deeply saddened when Seamus died. He stopped his study for a time, but not for long. As he visited Dublin and found that he wasn’t alone – there were others who loved the Irish language and legends as he did.
A fascination with legends and language would lead to the fullness of Hyde’s poetic avocation. He was a distinguished student, winner of the Gold Medal for Modern Literature in languages, and awarded his B.A. in 1884. He further studied both divinity and law, but his first love would always be languages – especially Irish. His first volume of verse was published under his pen name An Craoibhín Aoibhinn (delightful little branch). Bilingual anthologies and collaborations with Celtic Revival writers including W.B. Yeats who, along with Lady Gregory, persuaded him to join their newly formed Irish Literary Theatre (forerunner of Dublin’s famous Abbey theatre). He was once again successful and added to his awards the first Professor of Modern Irish UCD 1909
Rejecting family pressure to follow generations into a career in the Church, he entered Trinity College. He became fluent in French, Latin, German, Greek and Hebrew, as well as Irish. 1893 proved to be a significant year- he and Lucy Kurtz married that year and his passion for the decling Irish language, led to his becoming Co-founder and First President (1893 – 1915) of the Gaelic League (Conradh na Gaeilge} the national movement for revival of the Irish language.
Hyde cited his father illness as the reason for hi returning to Ireland from New Brunswick, however his diaries and notes that he mailed home, had begun to reflect on the situation political situation Ireland there and then. In 1937, Douglas Hyde was unanimously appointed first President of Ireland, and remained in that office until 1945.
Douglas Hyde’s poetic farewell and yearning for Canada – stanzas 3-4
Professor of Modern Languages, UNB Co-founder Gaelic League
First President of Ireland Poet
Danny Doyle was born in Bellville, Ontario, raised to be proud of his heritage and encouraged to explore his interests and accomplishments far and wide. His paternal great-grandparents were from Wicklow and Antrim. His maternal family emigrated to Canada in the 18th c Danny began learning the Irish language at St. Michael's College, UT. He was introduced to the Canadian Gaeltacht project in it's early stages and has been an active member and a teacher of the language for many years. Through his involvement in the Gaeltacht project, and due to a lack of published research concerning the history of the language in the global diaspora, Danny began researching the heritage of the Irish language in Canada. This research found a continuous Irish-Gaelic presence in Canada from the time of John Cabot through to the present day, and challenged many historical ideas about the persistence and usage of Irish within Canadian communities. The body of research grew with the rediscovery of Canadian poetry fragments and folklore recorded in the Irish Folklore Commission and Danny began presenting the material through university lectures, including in Irish at Magee College, University of Ulster. The culmination of his research was the publication of Míle Míle i gCéin: The Irish Language in Canada, which went on to win the 2015 Literary Award at Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada. This book is one of the first to explore the fate of the Gaelic emigrants and their language and culture within the global diaspora, bringing together scholars’ census data and historic accounts to show the prevalence of the language in Canada, spoken from Newfoundland through to the Yukon at one point, and the reasons for its abandonment and near-total exclusion from the folk memory. memory. With a Masters in Arts Conservation, he now works as an archaeological conservator for Parks Canada, overseeing the nation'’s 30 million historical artifacts and more than 160 national heritage sites, including Grosse Île. Danny has worked actively on archaeological sites, including the Pharonic cemetery of Abydos, Egypt, conserving human burials from 2000 BC, and at the Iron-age ring fortress of Caherconnell, Co. Clare. Danny comes from a strongly musical tradition. His grandparents were fiddlers and his great- and great-great-grandfathers played the tin whistle. Danny is keeping up the tradition as he is actively involved with the sean-nós singing and he is an accomplished uilleann piper. 218
Dónall Ó Duḃġaıll L Linguist. Conservator. Musician.
Allyson’s Great Grandmother Emily Haggerty from County Cork, her Grandfather Tom Reid and Great Grandfather Tom Reid Senior from Scotland.
Mary Coffey was born in Westport, County Mayo in 1926. In 1955 Mary and her husband Ben moved to Canada and settled in Ottawa with their children. Very quickly, they became involved in the Irish community through the Irish Society and Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.
Mary grew up with English as the language spoken at home, however her great love for Irish was such that she became a ‘near-native’ speaker.and was deeply committed to language, history and culture having learned it first as a student at the Convent of Mercy and Sacred Heart Secondary School .
Throughout this time, Mary’s deep interest in the Irish language never ceased She was a driving force in language instruction, a founding member of an Irish language group in Ottawa and its annual language weekend. She was very often invited to teach Irish classes at other Irish weekends established around Ontario and the Montreal area. She also instructed evening classes through the Ottawa School Board’s Continuing Education programme. Mary has a talent for teaching and over the years she has encouraged and assisted many to learn Irish. Several of her 'students' have continued and instruct at the ongoing, well-established language weekends.
Asked how she was able to maintain and fine-tune her own skills in the language, Mary responded that she was always an avid reader and as such, she read everything she could find in Irish. On trips home to Ireland, she would search out books by her favourite authors, in particular Pádraig Ó’Conaire, the celebrated Irish short story writer, and these treasures of literature served her well. Poetry is another literary passion of Mary’s and here too she has found great works to keep her Irish skills honed.
Mary continues to give Irish language classes in her home and has been the catalyst in the publication of two books in Irish, both composites of pieces scripted by her students.
Mary has also been a strong supporter of the Gaeltacht since its inception and is honoured to be named Uachtarán for Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada in 2012. She was one of the founding members of the Irish Society in Ottawa and would be the first woman president. Also active with the Irish Society bowling league, Tara Players and the Ottawa Gaels Gaelic Football Club. .
The Coffey house was always filled with music at the many fine parties Mary (a fine singer) held in Gatineau and later in the old Coachhouse. 'Mother Coffey', as she was affectionately called, always had a cup of tea and a heart full of kindness for anyone who dropped in.
Douglas Ross Hyde Dubhglas de Híde
Síle was born in 1960 in Ottawa to Deirdre (née Mulrennan) and Pádraig Scott. Both of her parents were born in Ireland, Deirdre in Gorey, Co. Wexford, and Pádraig in Farranfore, Co. Kerrry. Her childhood home was a major hub of all aspects of Irish culture. Her father was the Founding President of the Ottawa Irish Society (later renamed the Irish Society of the National Capital Region) and both parents were completely immersed in Irish immigrant assistance, Irish drama, Irish dancing, Irish music, the GAA, the Irish language, and the establishment of a chair of Celtic studies at the University of Ottawa.
She attended French language school at primary, intermediate and secondary levels, acquiring native competence in French. She began Irish dancing with Peggy Kendellen when she was in primary school, giving performances throughout the Ottawa area. By the time she had completed high school, she was already teaching. She established a dance school in Brockville in 1998, and began teaching with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann in Ottawa the same year. Her dance teams have taken first place at Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada 4 times since 2011, and have given many performances at other events. As head instructor for the Ottawa Comhaltas branch, she has also been responsible for calling monthly céilís, and acting as “Bean an Tí”. She is frequently engaged to call céilís in other locations (e.g. Kingston, Hamilton, Perth, Brockville), and for special events such as weddings. In addition to céilí and set dancing, she also teaches sean nós dancing, and placed first in the open event at Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada in 2012.
Having learned basic Irish language at home, Sile began attending Irish language weekends in 1995, meeting her husband (Aralt Tadhg Mac Giolla Chainnigh} at the second event in Montreal in 1996. A professional linguist, she quickly became fluent and began teaching at immersion events in Toronto, Montreal, and Kingston. By 2003 she was also teaching weekly classes in Ottawa for the Comhaltas branch. She became involved in Caint agus Comhrá, in Ottawa, which established their own immersion weekend in 2000. She was a founding executive member of Cumann na Gaeltachta (2002) the North American Gaeltacht (Gaeltacht Thuaisceart an Oileáin Úir, 2007) and Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada (2011). In 2011 she acted as primary convenor of an Irish language conference at the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute of the University of Ottawa (where she was Assistant Director), concerning a 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language in North America.Her responsibilities in the Gaeltacht project have been far-reaching including not only language instruction, but also volunteer coordination, event planning, coordination and conduct, cooking, and site maintenance. Other events at which she has made critical, ongoing, contributions include the Summer Gaeltacht Immersion Week, Snow Festival (Féile Shneachta), and work days at the Gaeltacht.
Síle also writes in Irish, and took first place in children’s literature in 2013 in Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada. Other Oireachtas awards include 2’nd place in Irish language singing (style other than sean nós) in 2014 and, in 2015, second place in poetry recitation.
Her service to the Irish language has also involved enormous contributions to the North American Association for Celtic Language Teachers. She has been on the executive since 2006, and has been primary convener at conferences in Scotland, the Isle of Man, Ottawa and Ohio. She served as President in 2011/2012. She established a testing center for the Irish language (Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge) at the University of Ottawa in 2012.
Administratively, Síle has served in many capacities in Comhaltas - as Irish language officer for the Ottawa branch from 2006 – 2010, after which she took over as Branch Chair, continuing to 2016 and as regional Irish language officer for Canada East since 2013. She received the Comhaltas North America service award at the Provincial Convention in Parsippany in 2015 and was inducted into the Comhaltas Canada East Hall of Fame in 2016.
Síle has been an inspirational Comhaltas figure in Canada, and in the Irish language and cultural community, for more than 20 years. Her enthusiasm is infectious, and she is almost certainly responsible for attracting more participants and volunteers to the movement than anyone else in the country during that time. Her generosity, patience, and genuine interest in people, are immediately in evidence. Her leadership, intelligence, vision, skills, and talents are legend. To this genius she adds the dynamic energy and fearlessness required to bring ambitious projects to fruition.
Harold Timothy Kenny
Aralt Tadhg Mac Giolla Chainnigh
Born Sept. 1959, in Ingersoll, Ontario, with roots in Sligo and further back in Co. Down, Aralt grew
up on a farm in the Ottawa Valley, and was steeped in the Irish traditions of the area. There he began playing fiddle. Still does, recently with the Kingston Céilí Band and the Wild Canadian Geese in the Bog. He has received many awards including, being one of the very few graduates of Royal Roads, the All Categories Triple Crown, the Governor General’s bronze medal and Best First Year Cadet, and championships in cross-country running, track and field, and debating. Academically he graduated in 1982 with first class honours in Engineering Physics and senior award for achievement in second language training; a Masters in Astrophysics in 1989; his PhD from the University of Calgary in 1995. By correspondence he completed a BA Athabasca University in 2000. Aralt also won numerous Canadian Army Championship medals between 1982 and 1986, skied on provincial teams of Manitoba (1982, 83) & Alberta (1984-85-86), and was Head Coach of the Canadian Biathlon Team at the NATO Championships (CISM) in 1986. He served with the First and Second Battalions of the Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry. In 2009, as an operational analyst responsible for campaign evaluation in the Southern region of Afghanistan. Posted as lecturer to the Royal Military College of Canada in 1992, Aralt was subsequently promoted to Assistant and then Associate Professor. His research is the circumstellar envelops of symbiotic stars. His primary observations are taken from international radio interferometers (VLA, MERLIN, AT, VLBI). He has also done observations at optical and x-ray wavelengths. His theoretical work has involved the fluid dynamics of colliding stellar winds, and synthetic mapping their morphology. In 1989 he began attending Irish Language community courses. By 1994 he was teaching and, following an Irish Immersion workshop in New York, Aralt and two friends launched an annual event through the Harp of Tara Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí. Summer immersion weeks, launched in 2002, continued. Connected with other Irish language organizations in Toronto (Cumann na Gaeltachta, Taca na hÉireann) & Montréal (Comhrá), a possibility arose - to purchase land and create a year round centre where people could learn and share the company of Irish speakers. Aralt served as provincial Irish language officer of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and North America Celtic Language Teachers Assoc since 2005.. In 2006 his dream came true: a 70 acre property along the Salmon River, in the Tamworth/ Erinsville area, was purchased by members and officially opened in 2007 by Ambassador Declan Kelly. Minister of Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs Ireland, Éamonn Ó Cuív, recognized the site as the “first Gaeltacht outside of Ireland”. The project won first place in the Global Gaeilge competition 2008, third place 2009 and 2010 and is featured in a TG4 documentary “Gaeltacht Cheanada”. In 2011 Cumann na Gaeltachta ran the first Irish language “Oireachtas” outside of Ireland (“Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada”), for which the organization received an official congratulatory letter from President of Ireland, Máire Mhic Ghiolla Íosa.
Born and raised in Corbyville, Ont. with roots in Monaghan, Fermanagh, Armagh, and Cork. Allyson is
a founding and current member of Ciorcail Chomhrá Thoronto (Toronto Irish Language Circles) and is a founding member and PR Chair for Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada which is Canada’s only outdoor Irish language and cultural festival. She served on Cumann na Gaeltachta (the board that oversees the activities at the North American Gaeltacht in Tamworth, Ontario) for several years and was proud to have shared two “Global Gaeilge” awards from Glór na nGael with her fellow board members during her term.
Through her company, Chockablock Productions, Allyson has covered Irish language events since 2005 and continues to send video footage to Irish news programs welcoming Canadian content.
Her great-great-great-grandfather James died in the quarantine hospital on Grosse Ile and his wife Margaret was buried at sea in the dark summer of 1847 Being a part of the Ireland Canada Monument is an honour felt by her whole family and sends a nod to people who took a chance on a new life in Canada.
Ailísín Ní Mhaoildeirg
Nurse. Mother. Teacher.