Spring 2003                                                                               uimh 4


Mrs. Carmel Silver was born in Dublin, but received much of her schooling in Lincolnshire. Later, she trained as a nurse in London. She finally settled in Coventry where she lives now with her husband, Stuart.

Two and a half years ago she decided to attempt to find her "lost" Irish language, as she puts it. She and eight like-minded people started a regular two-hour class. All were adults. Buntús Cainte and its tapes were used. There was no teacher. Today, that group is still together and they meet for two hours every Wednesday.

On Monday nights, Mrs. Silver teaches a class of seven adults. One is French. The rest are English. All are very enthusiastic about the language and work very hard. Some of them plan a Gaeltacht course soon. At Christmas she translated four carols into Irish. All the learners gathered and sang the hymns together. A very happy occasion.

It is worth noting that Mrs. Silver and all her associates in the city have a very strong spirit of self-help and independence as regards the language.

A visit to Carraroe (Co. Galway) Gaeltacht, she found delightful. She wants to return there soon. Her ambition is to be a proficient speaker of Irish. She attends, as often as possible, the study weekends of Coláiste na nGael organised by Christy Evans. Usually she is accompanied to those events by two or three of her friends or acquaintances. She, and many of her friends, are regular readers of "Saol", the monthly Irish language newsletter from Dublin.
She went to Russia in July 2002. In Moscow she met Anja Maseeva, who is learning Irish. This Russian lady discovered the existence of Irish through her studies of ancient European paganism. She is in touch with Oideas Gael now. Nearer home, Mrs. Silver sent Buntús and other material to an Irish language group which was starting in Spain. Always help the weak!
On 10th Sept 2002, Carmel was invited to participate, as an Irish person, in the multinational procession during Covertry's Lady Godiva Day celebrations. She was asked to write and read a poem in the Irish language for the event. This she did, and read it publically in the Cathedral, as requested.

Afterwards, she learned that most of those present did not know until then that Ireland has a native language of her own. Most of the Irish in Coventry would ask, "What good is Irish to anyone?"

In a busy life, she sings in a large secular choir among 200 voices. This activity she enjoys immensely. She is exploring the possibility of asking Coláiste na nGael to hold one of its study weekends in Coventry this Summer.

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