Anois teacht an Earraigh
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Anois teacht an Earraigh

Téann mo mhac Milo go dtí an Naoinra anois agus gach lá, cloisim é ag aithris na dánta agus na rannta a fhoghlaimíonn sé ann. 

Cé go gcloisim iad arís agus arís eile, is breá liom iad a chlos.

Na laethanta seo, níl á chlos agam ach:
'Ó Lá le Bríd amach, bíonn na h-éin ag déanamh nead.
Bíonn na caoire ag breith na n-uan agus bíonn an lá ag dul i bhfad.'

Níl mo mhac chun ligint dom dearmad a dhéanamh gur anois teacht an Earraigh ach caithfidh mé a rá go mbeadh sé deacair amhlaidh a dhéanamh.

Le roinnt tráthnóintí anuas, is léir go bhfuil na laethanta ag síneadh.  Cloisim níos mó éanlaithe ar maidin.  Tá los an chromchinn ag fás sa gháirdín s’againne agus tá cad é fás sa dhúlra tímpeall orainn.

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Tá’s agam go ndéantar rud mór d’Oíche Chinn Bliana agus go dtógann daoine cinneadh droch nósanna a bhriseadh agus tús a chur le dea nósanna thart ar an tam san don bhliain ach is ait liom é.  Tá sé fós chomh dorcha ag deireadh mí na Nollag agus tús mhí Eanair.  Tá gach rud fós ina chodladh agus fonn codlata orthu siúd nach bhfuil.

Tús nua is ea í an tEarrach.  Filleann an ghrian orainn taréis dorchadais an gheimhridh agus athmhúsclaíonn an nádúr.  Is fiú é seo a chéiliúradh le dánta agus rannta mar a dhéanann mo mhac.

Táimid tar éis olltoghchán a bheith againn anseo in Éirinn agus tá gach cuma air gur rialtas iomlán deifriúil a bheidh sa Dáil go luath.  Ó bhunú an stáit, is é an toradh a bhí ar gach uile olltoghchán ná gur bhuaigh páirtí Fhine Gael nó páirtí Fhianna Fáil móramh na vótaí.

Bhí cúis leis seo.  Bhí ar Éireannaigh troid ar son a saoirse, rud a bhí deacair.  Ach níos deacra fós, mar thoradh ar an slí gur cuireadh deireadh le Cogadh na Saoirse, thosnaigh an Cogadh Cathartha.  Throid deartháireacha i gcoinne a chéile agus cara in aghaidh cara.

D'fhás páirtí Fhine Gael as taobh amháin don gcoimhlint sin agus páirtí Fhianna Fáil as an dtaobh eile.  Ag braith ar an taobh inar throid do mhuintir sa chogadh, b'shin mar a chaithfeá do vóta in aon toghchán.

Is léir ós na torthaí – Fianna Fáil 38, Sinn Féin 37 agus Fine Gael 35 – go bhfuil sé seo athruithe agus go gcaithfear dul i ngleic le Sinn Féin anois.

Is cainníocht anaithnid iad.  Tá eagla ar dhaoine áirithe go bhfuil siad an iomarca faoi thionchar na bPoblachtánach ó thuaidh agus is imní réasúnta é seo, i mo thuairimse.

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Ar an dtaobh eile don scéal, is iad a labhair amach le linn an fheachtais toghchánaíochta ar son daoine atá ag fulaingt mar thoradh ar na fadhbanna ollmhóra atá againn sa chóras sláinte agus le tithíocht agus easpa dídine sa tír.

Caithfidh pé rialtas a shocrófar amach anseo ar a laghad 80 suíochán a bheith acu.  Is léir ós na figiúirí nach bhfuil aon cheann don trí pháirtí in aon ghiorracht do sin.  Beidh orthu comhrialtas a chur le chéile le tacaíocht ó cuid dos na páirtithe beaga.

Is é an ráfla is mó atá le clos faoi láthair ná go rachaidh Sinn Féin isteach le Fianna Fáil, le cabhair ó roinnt polaiteoirí neamhspleácha.  Athrú mór a bheadh anseo d’Éireann agus maith nó olc, is cinnte gur tús nua a bheadh ann dúinn go léir.

Má bhraitheann tusa gur mhaith leat tús a chur le rud éigin nua id’ shaol féin an tEarrach seo, molaim duit dul ar shuíomh idirlíne Sheachtain na Gaeilge, www.snag.ie.

Tá sé ar siúl ón gcéad lá de Mhárta go dtí Lá le Pádraig agus tá imeachtaí eagraithe chun é a chéiliúradh anseo in Éirinn agus níos faide i gcéin.  B’fhéidir go bhfuil ócáid á eagrú áit éigin in aice leatsa.

Táim chun alt na míosa seo a chríochnú le véarsa d’amhrán, ceann nach bhfuil foghlaimthe ag Milo (fós!)
Anois teacht an Earraigh
beidh an lá dul chun shíneadh,
Is tar eis na féile Bríde
ardóigh mé mo sheol.

N'fheadar cén treo ina gcasfar seol na hÉireann agus ár seolta pearsanta uile i mbliana?

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(And now the English translation...)

Springtime and new beginnings

My son Milo attends an all-Irish preschool now and every day I get to hear him recite the poems and songs he learns there. 

I always love to hear them, even though they’re on constant repeat.

These days, all I’m hearing is a poem about the springtime, which goes something like this (excuse the lack of poetry in the translation):

'From St Bridget’s Day on, the birds make their nests.

The sheep birth their lambs and the day starts to stretch.'

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With this being recited at least ten times a day in my house, my son isn’t letting me forget that springtime is near.  However, even if he weren’t, it would be hard to ignore the signs that winter is beginning to make way for spring.

It’s so much lighter in the evenings.  Every morning, I wake to the sound of birdsong.  We’ve already got daffodils growing in the garden and all around, there are signs of nature coming once more to life.

I know that people make a big thing of New Year’s Eve and that many choose to break bad habits and begin new ones at the turn of the year.  But I have to say that it’s always struck me as a strange time to do so.  It’s still so dark at the end of December and the beginning of January.  All anyone and anything wants to do is sleep.

Spring is the true season of beginnings.  It’s when the sun returns to us after the darkness of winter.  It’s when nature begins to rejuvenate.  That's well worth celebrating with poems and songs.

We’ve just had a general election here in Ireland and there’s every indication that we will have a completely new government in power very soon.  Every election that had been held in Ireland since the foundation of the state has resulted in either Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil winning the majority of the votes.

There's a reason for this.  Ireland had to fight a hard battle for its independence.  But harder yet was the fact that the way independence was negotiated led to a civil war.  Brother took up arms against brother and friends become enemies.

The Fine Gael party grew out of one side of that conflict and the Fianna Fáil party the other.  For generations, people voted depending on which side their family fought in during that war.

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Until now.  It’s clear from the results - Fianna Fáil 38, Sinn Féin 37 and Fine Gael 35 – that we finally have a third significant political player.

Sinn Féin are an unknown quantity.  Some worry that they are under the influence of dissident republicans in Northern Ireland and that's a reasonable fear, considering their history.  But on the other hand, they spent the election campaign speaking out in support of those who are suffering as a result of the terrible problems we currently have in our health system, in housing and with homelessness.

Whatever happens, a government can only be formed when a party or coalition of parties has at least 80 seats.  It’s clear from the numbers above that no one party comes close to that figure.  A coalition will have to be formed.

The current expectation is that Sinn Féin will go into government with Fianna Fáil, with some help from independents.  That will definitely be a huge change for Ireland and good or bad, it will represent a new start for us all.

If you too would like to start something new this spring, I suggest you visit Seachtain na Gaeilge’s website www.snag.ie.  This year’s celebration of the Irish language takes place from the 1st of March to Saint Patrick’s Day and will involve events all over Ireland and abroad.  There may well be something happening near you.

I’ll end this month’s column with a verse of a song, one that Milo hasn’t learned (yet!).

'Now with the springtime,

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The days will grow longer

And after St Bridget’s Day

My sail I’ll let go.'

I wonder what winds will fill all our sails, as people and as a country, in the year to come?