Irish language school named after woman whose family fought to have Gaelic inscription on headstone

Irish language school named after woman whose family fought to have Gaelic inscription on headstone

A NEWLY launched Irish language school has been named after a woman whose family were forced to fight to inscribe her headstone in Gaelic.

Coventry-based Irishwoman Margaret Keane died suddenly in 2018, aged 73.

The Co. Meath native had moved to Coventry in her younger years and set deep roots in her local community with her husband Bernie, where they raised six children.

In 2020, her family were barred from inscribing her headstone with the words In ár gcroíthe go deo (In our hearts forever), without an English translation, in a ruling by Chancellor of the Diocese of Coventry, Stephen Eyre QC.

The decision sparked a backlash from the family, and the community at large, which saw a landmark appeal lodged that eventually overturned the anti-Irish ruling in 2021.

Co. Meath native Margaret Keane died in 2018 (Pic: Chris Egan)

This month the Coventry Irish Society, one of the many organisations which supported the Keane family in their legal battle, announced that their new Irish language school will be named after Mrs Keane.

“As a family it is such a privilege that Coventry Irish Society have named their Language School after mum,” Mrs Keane’s daughter Bez Martin said.

“The fight we endured to express our final message to mum on her headstone in Irish should never have happened, and as we fought to challenge that discrimination we were joined by supporters across Coventry and beyond,” she added.

“This tribute to mum will be a lasting legacy for all the right reasons, thank you to Coventry Irish Society and we hope that many people reap the rewards that learning Irish can bring, connecting with their heritage, or simply celebrating the joy of the Irish language and sharing it with others.”

The Margaret Keane Irish Language School opens today, with classes taking place every Thursday.

Beginners classes at the Margaret Keane Irish Language School start at 5pm today (April 18) at 2nd Floor, Eaton House, 1 Eaton Road, CV1 2FJ. The eight-week course costs £40.

An intermediate class runs every Thursday from 6.30pm to 8pm at the same venue.

For further information contact Coventry Irish Society on 02476256629 or email [email protected].