Iris na Gaeilge    Marta 2004    uimh 6

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Mícheál Ó Baoighíll, B.A,(Hons.), M.A. M.I.I.E.

Born in Belfast and brought up in both Dublin and Ironbridge, Shropshire, Mícheál Ó Baoighill had an Irish-speaking father and many interesting aunts and uncles. Now a busy man, in local politics, where he is a Co. Councillor, a District Councillor and a Parish Councillor, he still finds time for his Irish language studies. He also considers the weekend events arranged by Coláiste na nGael for learing Irish, to be highly beneficial.

Mícheál is married, with a grown-up family of two. He has degrees in Arts as well as Engineering. A dedicated trade unionist, his attachment to AMICUS, which represents engineers and administrators up to Ph.D level, is very close.

In boyhood his school holidays were spent mostly in Dublin with family relations. There were some fluent Irish speakers among them. He frequently saw the renowned Abbey Players at Queen's Theatre near the Liffey. He often attended the Sunday evening open-air céilies in Fairview Park. An aunt gave him a copy of "Gaeilge Sa Bhaile". He treasured it for years and studied it diligently at home in Staffordshire.

His father, a tradesman at Dudley, did his best to teach him Irish. Yet, the absence of regular schooling in the Language meant that fluency eluded him , until quite recently. A regular visitor to his home then was Dr. Seán McAndrew, of the Mayo All- Ireland football team of 1950. He, and Mícheál's father, would converse and yarn in Irish late into the night,

In early youth in Staffordshire, his dog, Ranger, understood Irish only. He responded nicely to 'Fán', 'Suigh', 'Amach', etc. Once when he was lost, the kindly finders were puzzled by the animal's reaction to plain English. It was a foreign language to this wandering canine.

A keen rugby player in later years, Mícheál continues to have a deep interest in the game, especially in the international matches. But he also enjoys immensely "the truly great and ancient game of hurling, the most skilful and courageous of all sports", as he calls it.

He has great admiration for the Irish language courses of Padraig O Duffaigh in Wolfrum College, Wolverhampton. He once postponed starting a Ph.D thesis so that he could attend one of Padraig's courses!. Greater love than this… He is an active member of Amnesty International, and he writes the usual letters of protest to tyrants and other nasty people worldwide, as all Amnesty members do.

Mícheál Ó Baoighíll believes firmly in tolerance, friendship, cooperation. He believes also, that in bringing people of all ages and all backgrounds together to learn Irish, Coláiste na nGael is catering for some of his own aims and ideals. He reads 'Lá' and 'Saol', two Irish language newspapers regularly; and he is always glad to converse in Irish whenever that is possible.

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