ï¿½ chï¿½ad cheapadh Cumann Gaeilge na hAstrï¿½ile i Melbourne i 1991-92, tï¿½ sï¿½ ag dul ï¿½ neart go neart. Clï¿½raï¿½odh An Cumann go foirmiï¿½la mar chumann teoranta ar an 7ï¿½ Bealtaine 1993 agus anois tï¿½ breis agus deich mbliana cuirthe dï¿½nn. Bï¿½onn idir 30 - 40 de bhallraï¿½ocht an chumainn i Melbourne ag teacht le chï¿½ile go rialta gach seachtain chun a bheith pï¿½irteach sa ciorcal comhrï¿½ nï¿½ chun freastal ar na ranganna agus amhrï¿½naï¿½ocht. Bï¿½onn Daonscoil Victoria ar siï¿½l againn gach bliain agus bï¿½onn imeachtaï¿½ eile ar siï¿½l i rith na mbliana. Mar bharr ar sin tï¿½ ï¿½r suï¿½omh idirlï¿½n fï¿½in againn anois a thabharfaidh an-dheis dï¿½inn teagmhï¿½il a dhï¿½anamh lenï¿½r gcï¿½irde i ngach aird den tï¿½r seo agus thar lear, ach go mï¿½rmhï¿½r lenï¿½r gcomh-chumainn atï¿½ eagraithe sna Stï¿½it eile, 'Nï¿½ neart go cur le cï¿½ile'. D'fhï¿½adfï¿½ a rï¿½ nach bhfuï¿½l teorann ar bith leis an dul chun cinn gur fï¿½idir linn a dhï¿½anamh amach anseo ach amhï¿½in ï¿½r dtoil fï¿½in. Mar sin agus an suï¿½omh seo ï¿½ sheoladh againn, neosfaimid scï¿½al ï¿½r gCumainn don domhan mï¿½r agus cuirfimid fï¿½ilte is fiche roimh gach duine a lï¿½ighfidh ï¿½. Tï¿½ fï¿½ilte comh maith roimh eolas breise nï¿½ ceartï¿½chï¿½n ar bith ar phointe ï¿½irithe staire.

Ach sar a dhï¿½anfaimid trï¿½cht ar an gCumann agus cï¿½rsaï¿½ na Gaeilge sna deich mbliana atï¿½ dï¿½reach tar ï¿½is dul thart, nï¿½ mï¿½r dï¿½inn sracfhï¿½achaint a thï¿½gaint ar stair na teanga Gaeilge fï¿½in sa tï¿½r seo ar dtï¿½s. Ar ndoigh, tï¿½ An Ghaeilge san Astrï¿½il ï¿½n mbliain 1788, nuair a thï¿½inig 'An Chï¿½ad Chablach' i dtï¿½r i mBotany Bay. Mar is eol dï¿½inn cheap an t-ï¿½darï¿½s i NSW gur saghas teanga rï¿½nda a bhï¿½ ann agus go raibh lucht a labhartha ag iarraidh comhcheilg ï¿½igin a chuir ar bun. Nï¿½l aon eolas cruinn againn ar an mï¿½id Gaeilgeoirï¿½ a thï¿½inig go dtï¿½ an tï¿½r seo mar daorï¿½naigh agus nï¿½ bheidh go deo is dï¿½cha, de cheal fhianaise, mar nï¿½l ach an fo-thagairt ina taobh sna cuntais oifigiï¿½la. I Melbourne dhealrï¿½dh an scï¿½al go raibh roinnt Gaeilgeoirï¿½ ann ï¿½ na blianta tosaigh de rï¿½ir "Garryowen" (Edmond Finn) an t-iriseoir ï¿½ Chontae an Chlï¿½ir a thï¿½inig anseo sna luath 1840ï¿½. Dï¿½la an scï¿½al, Bean ï¿½ireannach ab ea bean chï¿½ile John Batman, ceannasaï¿½ ar an Port Philip Association. Eilï¿½s Nï¿½ Cheallachï¿½in ab ainm di agus ba chailï¿½n ï¿½g ï¿½ as ceantar na hInise, Co an Chlï¿½ir, nuair a chuireadh amach ï¿½ go dtï¿½ VDL sna 1820ï¿½, ï¿½it ar phï¿½s sï¿½ le Batman nï¿½ ba dhï¿½anaï¿½. Is trua ï¿½ nach bhfuil eolas againn ar laethanta a hï¿½ige in ï¿½irinn ach mï¿½s fï¿½or ï¿½ gur saolaï¿½odh ï¿½ timpeall 1800 in Iarthar na hï¿½ireann, nï¿½ folï¿½ir nï¿½ go raibh nï¿½os mï¿½ nï¿½ cï¿½pla focal Gaeilge aici san am sin i bhfad roimh aimsir an Ghorta Mhï¿½r.

Sa Naoiï¿½ Chï¿½ad Dï¿½ag, nuair a bhï¿½ sï¿½ dian ar shliocht na nï¿½ireannach, daoine bochta don bhformhï¿½r, bhï¿½ orthu comhrï¿½iteach a dhï¿½anamh le cultï¿½r agus nï¿½sanna an mhï¿½raimh chun iad fï¿½in a chosaint fiï¿½ amhï¿½in, gan trï¿½cht ar aon dul chun cinn sa saol a dhï¿½anamh dï¿½ibh fï¿½in. Cuireadh san 'na neamhriachtanais' mar an teanga agus an cultï¿½r Gaelach ar leaththaobh ar mhaithe leis an gcomhshamhlï¿½, agus cï¿½ a chuireadh an milleï¿½n anois orthu leis na deacrachtaï¿½ a bhï¿½ le sï¿½rï¿½ acu an uair sin?

Ach ag dul isteach sa Ficheiï¿½ Aois bhï¿½ rudaï¿½ ag ï¿½irï¿½ nï¿½os fearr. Bhï¿½ a hï¿½it fï¿½in bainte amach ag an Eaglais Caitliceach (an prï¿½omh-rud cultï¿½rach a choinneodh mar comhartha fï¿½in-aitheantais ag sliocht na nï¿½ireannach) i saol na hAstrï¿½ile agus de rï¿½ir a chï¿½ile thosnaigh athbheochan an chultï¿½ir leis an gceol agus damhsa Gaelach, srl. D'ï¿½irigh go hiontach leis na heagraï¿½ochtaï¿½ sin i bprï¿½omh-bhailtï¿½ na hAstrï¿½ile agus in ï¿½iteanna eile nach iad, ach bhï¿½ deachrachtaï¿½ ar leith ag baint le cï¿½rsaï¿½ teanga, teanga a bhï¿½ trï¿½igthe le trï¿½ nï¿½ ceithre gluain. Bhï¿½ scï¿½alta ann (agus tï¿½ fï¿½s) i dtaobh na Gaeilge (focal nï¿½ dhï¿½, nï¿½ b'fhï¿½idir sliocht as sean-amhrï¿½n ï¿½igin, chun na fï¿½rinne a innsint) a bhï¿½ in ï¿½iteanna mar Kororoit agus Kilmore i Victoria, nï¿½ Boorowa, NSW, suas go dtï¿½ aimsir an Dara Chogadh Domhanda agus fï¿½s tï¿½ roinnt cloch chinn le scrï¿½bhinn as Gaeilge le fï¿½il sna reiligï¿½ ann ('is fï¿½nach an ï¿½it ina gheobhfï¿½ gliomaigh' a deirtear ), ach sin uile.

Nï¿½ hionann sin is a rï¿½ nach raibh daoine ï¿½irithe anseo 's ansï¿½d san Astrï¿½il a bhï¿½ dï¿½il acu i lï¿½ann na Gaeilge i rith na blianta. Bhï¿½ aitheantas ar an Dochtï¿½ir Nioclï¿½s ï¿½ Domhnaill mar scolï¿½ire na Gaeilge i Melbourne sna blianta tosaigh an chï¿½ad seo caite , cuir i gcï¿½s. Scrï¿½obh An Domhnallach alt as Gaeilge sa nuachtï¿½n 'The Catholic Advocate' ar feadh tamaill agus d'fhï¿½g sï¿½ bailiï¿½chï¿½n leabhar Gaelacha le huacht ag Leabharlann Newman College, Ollscoil Mhelbourne, sean-lï¿½mhscrï¿½bhinn amhï¿½in san ï¿½ireamh. Tï¿½ siad ann fï¿½s san Leabharlann sin i Swanston St, Carlton, ach is beag duine a leagfadh lï¿½imh orthu anois. Tï¿½ lear mï¿½r leabhar Gaelacha sa Leabharlann Caitliceach Caroline Chisholm i Lonsdale St comh maith, a bhfuarthas sa t-slï¿½ cï¿½anna ï¿½ scolï¿½ire aonarach ï¿½igin na Gaeilge de rï¿½ir dealramh, ach buï¿½ochas le Dia, tï¿½ na leabhair sin le fï¿½il do chï¿½ch ach a bheith chlï¿½raithe sa Leabharlann ar chostas an-ï¿½seal.

Tï¿½ a fhios againn go raibh Conradh na Gaeilge ag feidhmiï¿½ sa Gaelic Club i Sydney sna 1920ï¿½ (Craobh Albert Dryer) agus b'fhï¿½idir go mbeidh nï¿½os mï¿½ eolais ar an ngluaiseacht sin le fï¿½il ï¿½n ï¿½r gcï¿½irde i NSW amach anseo. Ach i Melbourne ag deireadh na 'seachtï¿½daï¿½, bhï¿½ ranganna Gaeilge ar siï¿½l ag an Sean South Club i Flinders St ar feadh bliana nï¿½ mar sin. De chï¿½is ï¿½igin theip ar na hiarrachtaï¿½ sin diaidh ar ndiaidh, go dtï¿½ go shroicimid na 'hochtï¿½daï¿½ agus an 'multiculturalism' in aird a rï¿½ime ar fud na tï¿½re. B'ï¿½ sin an t-am a thosnaigh na 'Sean-Astrï¿½iligh' ag dï¿½anamh athmhachnamh ar a sinsir, ar an saol a bhï¿½ acu sa t-sean-thï¿½r fadï¿½ agus ag lorg fï¿½oreolais ar a gcultï¿½r fï¿½in i ndï¿½irï¿½re.

Timpeall an ama sin a thosnaï¿½odh ranganna Gaeilge i gcï¿½l-sheomra san 'Australian-Irish Welfare Bureau' i Fitzroy ( 'An Scoil Scarta' a tugtar uirthi). D'astraï¿½odh ï¿½ go dtï¿½ Northcote roinnt blianta ï¿½ shin agus tï¿½ sï¿½ ag feidhmiï¿½ ann fï¿½s. Ag deireadh na 'hochtï¿½daï¿½ a thosnaigh ranganna Gaeilge sa Prince's Hill High School, Carlton, agus in Ollscoil Mhelbourne, do na foghlaimeoirï¿½. Comh maith le sin cuireadh Clï¿½r Gaeilge ar bun ar SBS Raidiï¿½ i Melbourne, a tharraing scata beag daoine le lï¿½ofacht Gaeilge le chï¿½ile ï¿½ gach aird den chathair gach coicï¿½s. I measc na daoine a bhï¿½ chun tosaigh ann an uair sin bhï¿½ Muiris ï¿½ Scanlï¿½in, Eibhlï¿½n agus Vincent Loughnane (cainteoirï¿½ duchais as Chorca Dhuibhne an triï¿½r sin), ï¿½ine Szymanski, Daithï¿½ ï¿½ Lï¿½saigh, ï¿½amonn ï¿½ Neachtain, Jean Tongs, ï¿½amonn ï¿½ Riain, Coilin ï¿½ Riain, Louis de Paor.

Nï¿½ fada go raibh fonn ag Gaeilgeoirï¿½ uilig na cathrach ï¿½it chaidrimh a bheith acu chun teacht le chï¿½ile go rialta. Sï¿½ a bhï¿½ i gceist nï¿½ grï¿½pa nï¿½ ciorcal comhrï¿½ a eagrï¿½ ina mbeadh deis ag na cainteoirï¿½ a lï¿½ofacht teanga a choimeï¿½d nï¿½ b'fhï¿½idir snas a chuir ar a gcuid Gaeilge dï¿½ mba gï¿½ leis, agus gan dabht, cï¿½namh a thabhairt do na foghlaimeoirï¿½ a bhï¿½ ag freastail ar ranganna cheana fï¿½in agus a bhï¿½ ag mï¿½idiï¿½ an t-am ar fad. Bhï¿½ sï¿½ soilï¿½ir go raibh saghas chumainn ag teastï¿½il uatha agus tar ï¿½is tamall ag teacht le chï¿½ile go neamhfhoirmiï¿½il in ï¿½iteanna ï¿½agsï¿½la mar ï¿½stï¿½n Naughton's, Parkville, ï¿½stï¿½n Dan O'Connell, Carlton, an Celtic Club i lï¿½r na chathrach agus ï¿½iteanna eile nach iad, bunadh Cumann Gaeilge na hAstrï¿½ile go foirmiï¿½il i 1992 agus clï¿½raï¿½odh ï¿½ mar chumann teoranta go hoifigiï¿½il ar an 7ï¿½ Bealtaine 1993. Leanadar ar aghaidh sa Celtic Club ar feadh tamaill.

Ach lean an suim sa Gaeilge ag mï¿½idiï¿½ agus bhï¿½ an t-ï¿½ileamh ar na ranganna ar an dul cï¿½anna leis. Nï¿½ raibh aon dul as, bhï¿½ sï¿½ de dhï¿½lgas ag an gCumann ranganna Gaeilge breise a chuir ar fï¿½il do lï¿½on na mballrï¿½ochta a bhï¿½ ï¿½ ï¿½ileamh agus dï¿½anfaï¿½ amhlaidh, cï¿½ go raibh deacrachtaï¿½ ar leith ag baint leis. Anois bhï¿½ ar an gCumann suï¿½omh a fhï¿½il a bheadh oiriï¿½nach don obair, a bheadh lï¿½rnach do ball uilig an Chumainn agus a bheadh saor a dhï¿½thain. Tar ï¿½is seal ï¿½ chaitheamh sa Leabharlann Poiblï¿½ i North Melbourne, shocraï¿½omar sï¿½os i mBunscoil Caitliceach Naomh Eoin in East Melbourne ar an gcï¿½ad lï¿½ den dara thearma sa scoilbhliain 1993. Bhï¿½ na trï¿½ chï¿½imeanna ann ï¿½n dtosach, Bun Rang, Meï¿½n Rang agus Ard Rang, agus anois bheadh gach rang ina sheomra fï¿½in. Bï¿½onn Ciorcal Comhrï¿½ i seomra ï¿½irithe comh maith, mï¿½ bhï¿½onn dï¿½thain cainteoirï¿½ lï¿½ofachta i lï¿½thair.

Ba dheacair ï¿½it nï¿½ ba oiriï¿½naï¿½ a fhï¿½il, congarach don gcathair mar atï¿½. Tï¿½ an clï¿½s scoile ann mar suï¿½omh pï¿½irceï¿½la, tï¿½ cï¿½ig seomraï¿½ thuas staighre, le hï¿½iseanna teagaisc i ngach seomra, agus gan dabht seomra tae, le fï¿½il. Ach oireann Scoil Naomh Eoin don Chumann i slï¿½ thï¿½bhachtach eile toisc gurb iad sliocht na hï¿½ireann a thï¿½g na sean-fhoirgnimh timpeall cï¿½ad is a caoga bliain ï¿½ shin. Tï¿½ an chï¿½ad sï¿½ipï¿½al agus cloigtheach ar an sean-stï¿½l Ghaelach, laistigh den gheata fï¿½s. Tï¿½gadh iad agus an sean-scoil fï¿½in le gann-phinginï¿½ na nï¿½ireannach go lï¿½ir sa pharï¿½iste agus lena gcuid oibre. Tï¿½ a rian ar an ï¿½it fï¿½s, moladh go deo leo!

I Mï¿½ Na Samhna 1995 a chuir an Cumann a chï¿½ad scoil samhraidh na Gaeilge ar bhun toisc go raibh an scoil samhraidh i NSW ag feidhmiï¿½ fï¿½s i Mï¿½ Eanï¿½ir 1996. Mar sin thosnaigh Daonscoil Victoria (mar a tugtar anois uirthi) sa Western District, lï¿½mh le Willaura. Timpeall scï¿½r cloiginn a fhreastal uirthi ar feadh na seachtaine cï¿½ go raibh an ï¿½it fada go leor ï¿½n gcathair. D'athraï¿½odh go dtï¿½ Mï¿½ Eanï¿½ir 1997 don dara Daonscoil agus d'aistrï¿½odh go dtï¿½ campa nua i South Gippsland, mar go raibh an t-ï¿½ileamh ar ï¿½iteanna sa scoil ag mï¿½idiï¿½. Tar ï¿½is cï¿½pla bliana eile san ï¿½it sin (i 1998 agus 1999), d'aistrï¿½odh arï¿½s ï¿½ i 2000 de bharr ï¿½ilimh ar ï¿½iteanna breise, agus socraï¿½odh ar suï¿½mheanna nï¿½ ba chongaraï¿½ don chathair sa cheantar timpeall na bailte beaga Ballan, Myrniong agus Bacchus Marsh. Sna blianta deireanacha bhï¿½ idir 50 agus 60 duine ann gach bliain.

Tï¿½ clï¿½r ama na scoile socraithe le linn na blianta le ranganna ar gach leibhï¿½il ar maidin agus go luath san iarneoin, agus de ghnï¿½th bï¿½onn ranganna aisteoireachta, cheoil, rince agus amhrï¿½naiochta, srl, tar ï¿½is sin. Sna trï¿½thnï¿½nta bï¿½onn na ceolteoirï¿½ agus na hamhrï¿½naithe ag cleachtadh i gcomhair an choirmcheoil agus daoine eile ag foghlaim a gcuid ceachtanna nï¿½ ag comhrï¿½. Ach d'ainneoin sin agus uile bï¿½onn a dhï¿½thain am saoire ag gach duine comh maith. Is dial ï¿½ an obair a bhï¿½onn ag baill An Choiste gach bliain chun gach rud a ullmhï¿½, mï¿½le buï¿½ochas dï¿½ibh.

Is traidisiï¿½n anois ï¿½ go gcrï¿½ochnï¿½dh an scoil le Cï¿½ilï¿½ Mï¿½r/Ceolchoirm ar an oï¿½che deireanach agus 'scaradh na gcarad' tar ï¿½is bhricfeasta an mhaidin dar gcionn. Chun na fï¿½rinne a rï¿½, bï¿½onn an gairge agus an tocht i nglï¿½rtha na Gaeilgeoirï¿½ seasta ag dul i mï¿½id gach bliain.

ï¿½n gcï¿½ad scoil samhraidh fuaireamar tacaï¿½ocht lï¿½idir ï¿½ lucht na Gaeilge i NSW agus South Australia agus anuas ar sin bï¿½onn duine nï¿½ beirt againn gach bhliain ï¿½ ï¿½iteanna nï¿½os faide fï¿½s, Tasmania agus fiï¿½ amhï¿½in an NT (tï¿½imid ag sï¿½il le taistealaï¿½ ï¿½ Queensland, WA agus b'fhï¿½idir NZ, sna blianta amach anseo!). Ach ba ï¿½ an t-seoid is mï¿½ a bhï¿½onn againn le linn na seachtaine nï¿½ na haï¿½onna speisï¿½alta a thagann chugainn gach bliain, ï¿½ireannaigh iad go lï¿½ir ar ndï¿½igh, agus Gaeilge ar a dtoil acu, ach rud nï¿½os tï¿½bhachtaï¿½ fï¿½s, iad lï¿½n sï¿½sta dul ag mï¿½inteoireacht agus rï¿½l lï¿½rnach a ghlacadh mar stiï¿½rthï¿½irï¿½ ar chï¿½rsaï¿½ na seachtaine, ar a lï¿½istï¿½n amhï¿½in. Go fada buan iad!

ï¿½s rud ï¿½ go bhfuil rï¿½ na n-imirceach beagnach thart comh fada le hï¿½ireann de, tï¿½ sï¿½ rï¿½-shoilï¿½ir nach bhfuil ach slï¿½ amhï¿½in ann chun an Gaeilge a choimeï¿½d beo sa tï¿½r seo sna blianta atï¿½ le teacht. Maidir le sin tï¿½ sï¿½ mar aidhm fadtrï¿½imhseach ag an gCumann go mbeidh an Ghaeilge mar ï¿½bhar oifigiï¿½l sa chï¿½rsa meï¿½nscoile Victoria amach anseo, agus go mbeidh an Ghaeilge in Ollscoil amhï¿½in ar a laghad, mar aonad sa chï¿½rsa BA i Lï¿½ann na Gaeilge. Agus tï¿½ rï¿½iteach na fadhbe sin idir lï¿½mha ag an gCumann cheana fï¿½in mar is ï¿½ seo an dara bhliain as a chï¿½ile atï¿½ Cumann Gaeilge na hAstrï¿½ile (Victoria) teo, ag cuir ranganna Geailge ar fï¿½il do na daltaï¿½ i gColï¿½iste Chill Bhrï¿½de i Mentone. Cinnte, nï¿½l ann ach triail fï¿½s ach de rï¿½ir tuairiscï¿½ tï¿½ cï¿½pla scoil eile sa Chï¿½ras Oideachais Caitliceach ag cuir suime ann. Siad na tï¿½ismitheoirï¿½ a gcuirfidh an plean ar siï¿½l i ndï¿½irï¿½re gan amhras, ach caithfimid an sï¿½ol a chuir ar dtï¿½s.

Fï¿½s eile atï¿½ ag teacht chun chrï¿½och, tar ï¿½is cruinniï¿½ speisï¿½alta ag an Daonscoil i mbliana tï¿½ sï¿½ beartaithe go mbeadh a gcumann fï¿½in ag lucht na Gaeilge i gach Stï¿½t ag Victoria, NSW agus SA agus go mbeidh scoileanna Gaeilge deireadhseachtaine ag gach dream ar a uain fï¿½in. Bhï¿½ deireadh seachtaine fada iontach againn in Adelaide i Meitheamh 2001 agus 2002 agus tï¿½ fï¿½graï¿½ ag dul thart agus an mï¿½id seo ï¿½ scrï¿½obh, ag tabhairt cuireadh do Gaeilgeoirï¿½ na tï¿½re teacht go dtï¿½ scoil Gaeilge Sydney ar an deireadh seachtaine fada i Meitheamh 2003.

Sin scï¿½al an Chumann go dtï¿½ an lï¿½ atï¿½ inniu ann agus beimid ag cur leis go rialta ï¿½ am go ham as san amach, le cï¿½namh Dï¿½.

Criostï¿½ir ï¿½ Maonaigh

28ï¿½ Aibreï¿½n 2003

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Irish Language Association of Australia

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