Students urge Miramichi to add Gaelic to signs

Shunpiking Online & Agencies

HALIFAX (9 November 2006) - SCHOOL CHILDREN are lobbying Miramichi to add Gaelic to its signs welcoming visitors to the New Brunswick city.

Earlier in the fall, Sarah Hayward, a Grade 8 student at Nelson Rural School, was making a film for her social studies project on the cultures of Miramichi.

She and her friends thought the Miramichi welcome sign would make a good backdrop - and an even better one if people were greeted in Gaelic as well.

I think it'd show that we know our cultures and that we appreciate them
Knowing that the city's Irish heritage is important to Miramichi, which which hosts one of the country's largest Irish festivals every year, the students pitched the idea to city council.

She told CBC News that, "The Gaelic wasn't on the signs, and Mi'kmaq and French and English all were, so we thought it would be a good idea to get it on the sign,".

"Fáilte" is the Gaelic word for "welcome."

A similar initiative is being mounted through northeastern Nova Scotia to expand the use of Gaelic signs, especially on major thoroughfares. Gaelic signs may be found on Christmas Island and in Inverness County in Cape Breton.

In 1847, ships escaping the potato famine in Ireland were overrun by disease and forced on shore. They landed near Miramichi.

According to the CBC report, Lynn Doyle, a spokeswoman for New Brunswick's Irish Canadian Cultural Association, said putting Gaelic on the signs is a great way of recognizing the region's Irish heritage.

"There's many many people on the river who are of Irish descent so we're very, very happy to see a sign that recognizes our language," she said.

The city's tourism committee will discuss the idea when it meets later this month.

Hayward said she hopes they change the signs.

"I think it'd show that we know our cultures and that we appreciate them," she said.

On the Internet

Sanasan Gaidhlig ann an Albainn Uir (Gaelic signs in Nova Scotia)

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