The Miracle that is TURAS
Guest speaker Linda Ervine, East Belfast Mission Irish Language Development Officer, in her address to the Club Monday 29 April which members present found both interesting and informative, talked about "the miracle that is TURAS" bringing learning the Irish language to the heart of East Belfast in the East Belfast Mission (EBM).
The EBM's Irish-language project was given the name Turas - an Irish word meaning journey and is an apt description of the objectives of the Turas project. Having begun with a group of 20 the class was a first step in what has become a much more substantial journey than was ever expected. 250 are now enrolled, 4 people have done university Diplomas and 5 will be doing a degree this year. Noting the importance of the language in our everyday lives as it is all around us - in our place names, our surnames, in words that we use in our everyday speech Linda highlighted that Turas look at Irish not narrowly but as a part of our culture and history and provide a fun way for all, not only the Unionist community, to come together, learn and enjoy the language. Turas provides workshops and talks on the historic links between Protestants and the Irish language, the relevance of the language in present-day society as well as a range of other topics related to language and culture. It also works inclusively to develop greater awareness and acceptance of shared heritage. She concluded that they have great support and continued media interest. Cairde Turas (friends of Turas) is a group who have come together to support its aims, through providing practical support, fundraising and promoting its activities.