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Bunscoil an Iúir, Newry

Atomic Irish

29ú Deireadh Fómhair 2019

Irish goes ‘Atomic’ in Newry

A new method of teaching Irish is promising to help frustrated learners take their language skills to the next level.

The ‘Atomic Irish’ course, which concentrates on sounds and pronunciation, will be held in Newry’s Gaeláras on Saturday 16 November between 9.30am and 3.30pm.

The aim of the intensive but friendly workshop is to give learners at all levels, including A/AS level students, a real understanding of the Irish sound system and spelling system.

It is intended to be particularly useful for parents of children who attend Irish medium schools.

For its founder, Dr Josephine Siriu, the method is about providing learners with the toolkit needed to unlock Irish and bring on ability to the next level.

Josephine’s linguistics doctorate concentrated on the native sounds of the Irish language and how they are produced. She has many years’ experience of teaching languages to adults - including Irish.

“Learning Irish as an adult as well as teaching it, taught me what adult learners need to succeed and become more independent in their learning process,” Josephine said.

She explained she put the course together as a way of sharing her scientific knowledge with learners in an understandable way:

“Irish is taught through building up basic introductory conversation and rarely, if ever, are students introduced systematically to the sounds and their relation to spelling.”

Her technique shows what Irish is made from at the ‘atomic level’ and how to read the phonetic transcription used in dictionaries – breaking down the mystery of Irish spelling in a very short space of time.

“Irish spelling works on a logic,” Josephine said, “that is rarely explained to people, which is a pity, because it can be done very quickly”.

By the end of the day, learners will be able to follow native speakers much more easily – regardless of their dialects.

Josephine has delivered her course a number of times and the consensus is that those who came along made a great leap forward in a matter of hours.

Previous participants described the course as “very enjoyable and informative, a clear presentation of essential material” and “of great benefit to all levels and learners”.

“This course taught me the things I have never been taught,” one student said, “Irish makes more sense now” was the verdict of another.

The course will cost £20 (with lunch included) but booking is essential. Josephine can be contacted on, 079238428722 or on Facebook @atomicirishlanguage.