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Going to Galway

By Janet Harron

Alethea Power has just gotten her first passport and is planning to make good use of it.

The fourth year linguistics student is the winner of an Ireland Canada University Fund Canadian Student Irish Language Award and will be studying Irish this summer at the National University of Ireland Galway from July 16-Aug.13.

This will be the first time a Memorial student has had the opportunity for Irish immersion studies through the ICUF.

Prof. Peter Ayres, associate dean, undergraduate in the Faculty of Arts and Brid Falconer, visiting Irish scholar, selected Ms. Power from a large group of applicants.

“Brid and I found it difficult to select just one from a sizeable group of worthy candidates but are confident that Alethea will be an enthusiastic and lively participant in the program and will do her utmost to derive maximum benefit from her experience,” said Prof. Ayres.

Ms. Power said she has always been interested in languages and knowing that Irish was the language of her ancestors made it even more fun to learn.

“At first my family thought I was learning how to speak with an Irish accent. I had to explain that I was learning Irish Gaelic.”

She took Ms. Falconer’s Irish classes in both the fall and winter semesters but had no experience at all with the language prior to these classes.

“At this point I’m better with Irish than with French,” she commented, and said there is no way she would be able to pronounce any Irish unless she was taught by a native speaker. “The spelling is crazy.”

For example, “bh” in Irish can be pronounced as a “v” or a “w.” The word “abhaile” means “home” and is pronounced “a-wall-ya.”

Ms. Power is looking forward to her month in Ireland which will be the longest period of time she’s ever spent outside of Newfoundland.

“I am very grateful for this amazing opportunity and would like to thank Brid, Prof. Ayres and the ICUF for making this all possible.”