A new cross-community initiative aimed at teaching residents the Irish Language is set to commence in Ballyclare next week.
The classes, which will take place in Sacred Heart Parish Hall, will run on Wednesday evenings and Thursday afternoons.
Administrator of Ballyclare and Ballygowan Parish, Fr Martin Magill said: “When I arrived in Ballyclare, I noticed a number of the street names such as the Rashee Road and Ballycorr Road had Irish sounding names.
“I have known Linda Ervine for a number of years and was aware of her work on traditional Irish place names. I invited her to the town to discuss the local street names.”
Fr Magill added: “After Linda gave a talk in Ballyclare about place names, people expressed an interest in learning Irish. A number of ‘taster sessions’ were then held under the stewardship of Niall MacLochlainn, attracting 25 or so people each time.
“The idea then came about to start the lessons and it was felt that two separate classes would be needed to accommodate the number of people who were keen to learn the language.
“The issue of the Irish Language became a bit of a hot potato during the last election campaign, but Linda has been very good at de-politicising the language and our classes in Ballyclare are open to everyone, with complete beginners being catered for.”
The first class will take place on May 17 from 7pm until 9pm. The second class will be held on May 18 and will run from 2pm until 4pm. There is no charge for the classes, although donations are welcome. Refreshments will be provided.
The church is located on the Doagh Road in Ballyclare, BT39 9BG.