Friday, October 21, 2011

Rockaways Gaeltacht-

Ed Shevlin drives a garbage truck for
the sanitation department.  He has been awarded a Fulbright
so he can continue his Irish language study.
Thomas Costello, my great grandfather, came to Brooklyn from Casla, just west of Galway, across a narrow finger of Galway Bay from where the ferry leaves for the Aran Islands. When Taisy and I visited 10 years ago we walked into the grocery store and everyone was speaking Irish, as they called it. Irish kids - who have to study Gaelic as a second language - go there in the summers to live with Irish-speaking families. Today in the Irish Riviera - the Belle Harbor section of the Rockaways in Queens a bit of that world lives. - GWC
Ed Shevlin Polishes His Irish While Collecting the Trash - "THE jolly trash man was going about his route in the Rockaways, Queens, when he spied a woman in front of her house."

“Cé hé bhfuil tú?” he greeted her. Naturally, the woman replied, “Tá mé go maith.” “Ceart go leor,” the trash man shot back.

This exchange — roughly: “How are you?” “I’m fine.” “Ah, grand!” — was in Irish, the Gaelic language that survives only in parts of Ireland — and to a lesser extent, along the garbage route of Ed Shevlin, 51. The route winds through the Belle Harbor section of the Rockaways, where conversations were once commonly conducted “as Gaeilge.
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