This morning we had Irish language class. Not necessarily how to speak it, rather the origins and migration of the Irish people. It was an incredible feeling connecting the dots of my past. The Irish still have the ancient language and writing. The area that we are staying has the highest population of Gaelic speakers today. When the British took control of Ireland, they pushed the Irish to the westernmost coast. There are still small pockets of Gaelic speakers along the coast. There are also huge similarities between the the Gaelic and Hawaiian language revivals. Some of the same challenges exist between both cultures, but they have hope. Many of the speakers of Gaelic are under 12, speakers can get jobs, and there is strong state support.
After our class, I stayed to talk to the teacher Donnachadh Ó Baoill about my names. Two of my Irish names are Slattery and O'Connell, but I have one name that always confused me. My grandmother's name is Scoles, and it never sounded very Irish although I knew she was. When I asked Donnachadh about the name, his eyes lit up. He said it's not a very common name at all, and the Scoles (spelled Scholes in Ireland) is a family of stone masons from just down the road! I got tears in my eyes. There is a town called Letterkenny that still has Scholes living there. It was an awesome moment.
The rest of the day was filled with checking out an old folk village with traditional homes from the 18th and 19th century. Very cool, but dang they must've been short! Owie!
The last activity for the day was hiking a mile up the Sliabh Liag Cliffs. It was absolutely gorgeous. We was so beautiful that we really didn't mind getting pelted with ice cold rain the whole way up! Gorgeous lookouts all the way up, and we met quite a few woolly friends along the way as well.