A NEW grassroots Irish language group are set to launch with a family walk at Sarsfield’s GAC this coming Sunday.
Gaeil an Ghleanna were formed just before lockdown and are made up of Irish language speakers from the Andersonstown and Lenadoon areas. Local coaches Michael Doherty (Sarsfield’s) and Glen Phillips from Naomh Pól got together with radio presenter Caoimhe Ní Chathail and Shaws Road Gaeltacht resident Diarmaid Ua Bhruadair with the aim of organising events to bring Irish speakers of all abilities together through the language. 
Explaining how the group was formed, Glen Phillips told the Andersonstown News: “Just before lockdown a group of Irish language activists in the area got together. We had known each other for years and had been involved in stuff around the language. 
“We got talking about how there wasn’t actually a local group in the area. There were people teaching in Coláiste Feirste, people involved with Laochra Loch Lao, Radio Fáilte and we looked at other parts of West Belfast.
“There was lots of stuff happening on the ground but there wasn’t really stuff happening in the area. We decided that we would form a grass roots Irish language group and moved on from there.”

Glen said that the group decided that a walk would be an excellent first event due to the current situation with the pandemic as it is outdoors and there will be plenty of room to socially distance. 
“We had ideas for different activities like walks, conversation classes and mother and toddler groups. The walks seemed to be the best to get people out but the lockdown really held us back.
“Our plan is to do this walk in the area around Sarsfield’s then what we are looking to do is to use the last Sunday of every month to do a different walk. We would like to maybe use transport to take people out of the area and walk elsewhere as well.”
The walk is open to everyone from absolute beginners to fluent Gaeilgeoirí.
“We are really urging everyone not to be worried if you only have a cúpla focail. The vast majority of Irish speakers in West Belfast were learners at one stage and everybody will be supporting everybody else,” he said.
The walk will set off from Sarsfield’s GAC at 11am on Sunday 28 November. For more information visit the Gaeil an Ghleanna Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts or email gaeilanghleanna@outlook.ie.