The Human Centered Design Podcast with Gerry Scullion

Mollie 'The Resurgence of Gaeilge: Irish with Mollie's Effort to Save the Language from Extinction'

John Carter
September 12, 2023
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Mollie 'The Resurgence of Gaeilge: Irish with Mollie's Effort to Save the Language from Extinction'

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Today on the show we have a very special guest, Mollie, of Irish with Mollie Instagram fame. Now Mollie is from Dublin and has been on a mission to spread the love of my native language, Irish, or as we say in Ireland, Gaeilge. To give you a very brief background on our history in Ireland, we spoke Irish up until the British rule, and it wasn't until the early 1900s and 1916 that we regained our independence, but we never regained our native tongue fully.

It's now spoken only in parts in Ireland, and even though it is mandatory in schools. Many in my generation really had little or no appreciation of its beauty. Now Mollie's gifted me access to her courses and I'm about to start taking her courses. So who knows, you might start to hear me weave a few words here and there into the podcast.

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Episode Transcript

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[00:00:13] Gerry Scullion: Hey folks and welcome to another episode of This is HCD. Today on the show we have a very special guest, Mollie, of Irish with Mollie Instagram fame. Now Mollie is from Dublin and has been on a mission to spread the love of my native language, Irish, or as we say in Ireland, Gaeilge. To give you a very brief background on our history in Ireland, we spoke Irish up until the British rule, and it wasn't until the early 1900s and 1916 that we regained our independence, but we never regained our native tongue fully.

[00:00:47] Gerry Scullion: It's now spoken only in parts in Ireland, and even though it is mandatory in schools. Many in my generation really had little or no appreciation of its beauty. Now Molly's gifted me access to her courses [00:01:00] and I'm about to start taking her courses. So who knows, you might start to hear me weave a few words here and there into the podcast.

[00:01:07] Gerry Scullion: So why is this important and fitting for This is HCD? Well, hear me out. It struck me one day as I was scrolling through Instagram, that Molly was a fantastic example of what I refer to on this podcast as a change maker. Now she saw a problem with how Irish is being taught and believes that we as adults still have the power to reintroduce this language.

[00:01:28] Gerry Scullion: So she did something about it. She is making a huge difference. With over 120, 000 subscribers to her on Instagram and with no signs of this slowing down, I really wanted to chat a little bit more openly about what is behind all of this and what we can learn as change makers and reintroduce it into our own practice.

[00:01:48] Gerry Scullion: It's a cracking episode, so let's jump straight in.

[00:01:51] Gerry Scullion: You're more than able to speak, Molly. Um, you know, I feel like I know you at this stage, which is that whole kind of problem with social media where you feel like, you know, [00:02:00] someone when you don't really know them,

[00:02:01] Irish with Mollie: I

[00:02:02] Gerry Scullion: you know, I've been following you for, um, probably about a year, I suppose, online and. I was intrigued about a new use of Instagram on how to, uh, introduce people to the Irish language.

[00:02:14] Gerry Scullion: And I can see people from all over the world learning about our wonderful native tongue. I guess why I'm really interested in this is the, kind of, the retention of people's cultures and how, uh, the proliferation of, uh, social media and Netflix and all of these things. You're seeing a dilution of... native tongues and a kind of a westernized language of English.

[00:02:46] Gerry Scullion: So, um, when we were in, uh, Australia, we used to hear children in Australia with kind of an American twang. They used to say things like it was awesome and words that started to come back. And I could see it in Ireland [00:03:00] as well. So maybe start off, we'll, we'll have a little chat and tell us a little bit about yourself, where you're from and what you do.

[00:03:07] Irish with Mollie: Yeah. So, um, it's Misha Molly. I'm Molly. I'm from Dublin and I'm an online Irish teacher. I have an Instagram account called Irish with Molly, which I set up about a year ago, and I've been teaching online for about. 10 years, more or less, and I'm an English teacher, Irish teacher, and dance teacher. But now, pretty much all my energy is channeled into keeping our wonderful language alive, growing the community, creating content, materials, doing webinars, and making these reels where I get to indulge my Dork, and just go deep into like Irish mythology and etymology and, you know, really unearthed the links between Hiberno English and how we speak English in Ireland and its link with our native language.

[00:03:58] Irish with Mollie: So it's been [00:04:00] a really beautiful and fulfilling journey.

[00:04:03] Irish with Mollie: I never imagined I'd be an Irish teacher, you know, everyone kind of seemed to hate their Irish teacher. And. I get a lot of, Oh, if you were my Irish teacher at school, I'd, I'd probably still be there. Ha ha. Or like, I'd be fluent in Irish. And I'm like, So, you know, you can start now.

[00:04:19] Irish with Mollie: The thing is people associate Irish with school and with a subject, not with a living language. People really believe, Oh, I would have, you know, I would have learned Irish as if Irish learning stops at age 18 because the point of it was for the leaving cert, which is something I'd like to just

[00:04:37] Gerry Scullion: yeah, challenge. It's

[00:04:38] Irish with Mollie: apart, you know?

[00:04:38] Irish with Mollie: Yeah,

[00:04:39] Gerry Scullion: It's true, like it was kind of drilled into us as kids to, uh, kind of learn this stuff and we were like, I just didn't have, I didn't understand that because I was like, why am I learning this? We speak English and all the other lessons were done through English as well.

[00:04:57] Gerry Scullion: So it was like, I have to turn on a part of my brain [00:05:00] that I just didn't really want to turn on. I didn't see the purpose of it. Like, you know,

[00:05:04] Irish with Mollie: I get you. Yeah.

[00:05:06] Gerry Scullion: It's interesting that, uh, there has been a revival when we were in school, like I'm giving my age away here. I'm 43. Everyone, I don't really hide my age, but I remember T.

[00:05:16] Gerry Scullion: G. Cahar came on, which is a channel in Ireland. It would have been a 95 or 96 and we were like, All these TV shows are in Irish and it was, it was kind of like, wow, they're being overdubbed and it definitely helped just having it on in the background and listening to it. And it's a similar thing that I see happening with what you're doing on Instagram.

[00:05:35] Gerry Scullion: I see you're giving bite sized pieces of content, um, and people are able to learn pretty much asynchronously.

[00:05:44] Gerry Scullion: But what I want to understand, first of all, before we get into all the good stuff, is why is this so interesting to you?

[00:05:52] Irish with Mollie: It's a great question. Um. It's funny

[00:05:56] Gerry Scullion: What happened?

[00:05:57] Irish with Mollie: yeah, [00:06:00] you know how things make sense backwards. You don't really, well, I'm not a person who plans my life going forward. I do believe in visualization and really. Being grateful for what you want to have before you actually achieve it.

[00:06:12] Irish with Mollie: But it makes sense backwards when I think I have always loved language and communication and I studied English studies.

[00:06:21] Irish with Mollie: And I, I think one of my biggest goals in life was to travel and I sailed around the world about six years ago on a UN sponsored NGO cruise ship called the peace boat, and it is as magical as it sounds. And there were about 900. Japanese students. And I thought they were of university going age. You know, I was 25, they were all in their mid to late eighties and I would actually have to like help them into the cabin for my classroom.

[00:06:52] Irish with Mollie: And we were, I was teaching Zumba and English and. When they figured out, Oh, she's Irish. They were like, let's do Irish dancing. [00:07:00] So we did the walls of Limerick. We practiced every day and I taught them a bit of Irish as well. And their mindset is just phenomenal. Like they're so committed, really put in the time, very open minded about, you know, how possible.

[00:07:15] Irish with Mollie: Things are, and how it just takes patience and perseverance. So that was a real turning point for me in realizing what I wanted to do with my life. I had kind of fulfilled one of my biggest goals.

[00:07:28] Irish with Mollie: I traveled a lot during my early twenties. And then I, I thought, what do I want to do next with my time? You know, and I think being away from Ireland, having this pride. In where I'm from and how beautiful and magical the languages and the culture and how people appreciate that and respect it around the world. I was like, I want to teach our native language. You know, my grandmother, um, at that stage was in her nineties and We [00:08:00] were really close and I would call her and it was difficult for her to hear me speaking English on the phone, but if I switched to Irish, she could have a full conversation and she didn't really have Alzheimer's or dementia or anything, but she would be a bit forgetful and her hearing was terrible, but somehow Irish just kind of woke her up and it was always her dream to see me on TV.

[00:08:23] Irish with Mollie: So in a way I'm living her dream now, you know,

[00:08:26] Irish with Mollie: I don't know, I'm on a screen anyway, but. Yeah. I had an Irish teacher. Um, I went to an all girls school. So he was one of the only men in the building and everyone fancied him. And he was

[00:08:38] Gerry Scullion: out to him? I'll give a shout out to him.

[00:08:40] Irish with Mollie: okay. Mr. Hackett. Um, and he was a nice guy, but you know, we asked him, why did you go into teaching? And he said, June, July and August girls, June, July and August.

[00:08:50] Irish with Mollie: So, I don't know if he was there for the, for the Irish teaching. But, um, everyone went to the Gaeilteacht basically, or got grinds. [00:09:00] Because, there wasn't a lot of understanding going on in school, like many Irish schools. And, at the Gaeilteacht, I really connected with the language. I thought, You know, first of all, there were boys there and coming from an all girls school, that was quite exciting.

[00:09:14] Irish with Mollie: And you'd be going to the Ceilidh and playing football and going to the beach, all through Irish. But I went to a very strict one. So they actually kicked me out. I was 13 years old and I spoke one sentence in English and they sent me home on the train with two lads who'd been drinking on the beach. And I was like, how am I being treated like a criminal when they're,

[00:09:36] Gerry Scullion: sent home.

[00:09:37] Irish with Mollie: yeah,

[00:09:38] Gerry Scullion: be drinking. I do remember that, although I never went to the Gaeltacht, but I remember hearing people that had been, you know, kicked out for speaking English, like, you know, because it was pretty strict. You had to speak Irish when you were there, like, you know.

[00:09:49] Gerry Scullion: So, you studied English, though, in university, you were talking about beforehand.

[00:09:54] Irish with Mollie: Hmm.

[00:09:55] Gerry Scullion: was it about, um, English that you mentioned that you found it quite [00:10:00] unfulfilling?

[00:10:02] Irish with Mollie: Yeah. So I think I had always enjoyed reading. I was an avid reader as a child. I love writing, creative writing. And then after my English degree, you know, teaching English abroad was a great option because it let me travel and I loved teaching. I still do. I love teaching so much, but I think teaching English.

[00:10:25] Irish with Mollie: Made me kind of reflect on the utility of it, how these people would come to me kind of desperate to learn English because they had to, because English is the lingua franca because you know, as a commercial language, I really thought their English was killing other languages. You know, English has usurped other languages and I didn't like the role I played in that, especially as an Irish person and. I just thought, why can't I apply the [00:11:00] skills I've learned on how to teach a language logically? Um, and really clearly to the Irish language because Irish isn't really taught in a patterned logical way. People feel like they're dragged up like, okay, and now you need to write a, an essay about social problems in your area, but you don't really understand how to use the past tense.

[00:11:21] Gerry Scullion: Yeah, I found it really difficult to be honest, like Irish, cause I'd, I'd handle French, but when it came to the Irish, I was like, okay, this is back to front and it was really difficult. Like, you know, you mentioned there was something that was really interesting about English killing languages. So talk to me what you know about that.

[00:11:41] Irish with Mollie: So languages are dying every day around the world and it is an effect of globalization and of focusing mostly on giving this dominance to English. And for example, Irish. Is listed as definitely endangered. The next step is [00:12:00] severely, then critically, then dead. So when you look at Irish from a perspective of trying to invigorate the language and trying to bring it back, we look at other countries like Wales, the Basque country, um, even New Zealand with Maori and see how effective they've been in revitalizing.

[00:12:21] Irish with Mollie: The language. So something needs to happen in Ireland, you know, with Irish. Like I was thinking before our call, actually, how broken the curriculum is in Ireland, that children are learning poems and prose for their exams and they don't really understand them. And I thought if that time was spent.

[00:12:41] Irish with Mollie: effectively teaching children to embrace and enjoy the language and understand the language, they themselves would be able to write poems better or more meaningful to them, more relevant by the age of 18 because they'd be fluent. So then it gives people this mindset and [00:13:00] this misconception that Irish is It's really difficult and impossible, but it's not the case at all.

[00:13:06] Irish with Mollie: The more I delve into Irish, I realize it's so satisfyingly consistent. example, it only has 11 irregular verbs. English has about 220.

[00:13:17] Gerry Scullion: Yeah,

[00:13:17] Irish with Mollie: It only has, you know, it doesn't have a word for yes or no. We answer with the verb. It's got this beautiful, rhythmic, musical quality. And especially if you're growing up in Ireland, it'll be easier to learn because we're basically speaking Irish using English words.

[00:13:35] Gerry Scullion: yeah. But what is it about? And this is a kind of a rhetorical question in some ways. But what is it about retaining the language that's so important? How does that integrate with our culture

[00:13:48] Irish with Mollie: I think it's that Ireland has... A relatively new independence and Ireland has been kind of, you know, obviously [00:14:00] oppressed and been through the wars, et cetera. And maybe now is a time to emerge in this strength of who are we and what is Irishness because We have a booming tech industry, you know, fantastic scientists, pretty strong educational sector, tourism industry, and yet, the Irish are seen as kind of drunken, louts, you know, funny, but maybe our culture is tied up with leprechauns and, you know,

[00:14:33] Gerry Scullion: to a

[00:14:34] Irish with Mollie: Paddy's Day, and I think If we really harness the power of the language, that's what's really given Ireland its music and its literature.

[00:14:46] Gerry Scullion: it's identity. I mean, like, we're all over the world at the moment with, you know, Sinead O'Connor passing and You know, she was extremely passionate about her Irishness. I don't know what her perspective was on the Irish language, but [00:15:00] I think she sung a couple of songs in her

[00:15:02] Irish with Mollie: Yeah.

[00:15:03] Gerry Scullion: career. So I guess the, the retention of the language and its kind of correlation to our identity, we're aware of that, but it was actually, I was speaking to my next door neighbor, um, there a couple of months ago and he explained to me that it was his Dad was alive at the time of our independence.

[00:15:25] Gerry Scullion: And when you put it into the context of generations, you kind of go, okay, so it's so new and we're still kind of processing what that means. Like, and they say we only got back on our feet in the sixties in Ireland. Um, I think in some ways we're still only getting back on our feet. We still haven't found what it means to be Irish.

[00:15:45] Gerry Scullion: We lost an awful lot, um, during those 800 years when the British ruled us, like, you know. So we're at a crucial point is what I'm hearing from you, um, and what we do next. So if you imagine that I had a magic wand. It's not a magic [00:16:00] wand. It's a, it's a, it's a pen. But if I was able to go boom and make you, um,

[00:16:06] Gerry Scullion: I don't know what the Irish is for the, the, the feminine of Taoiseach.

[00:16:12] Gerry Scullion: Do you know?

[00:16:12] Irish with Mollie: Still Taoiseach. Yeah, chief.

[00:16:15] Gerry Scullion: So you're Taoiseach of Ireland and, uh, everyone is really happy. Molly's going to be running the country. What would you do?

[00:16:24] Irish with Mollie: So,

[00:16:25] Gerry Scullion: molly's running the country now. Um, listen up. What, what would you do to, um, introduce Irish?

[00:16:33] Irish with Mollie: the main thing is a shift in perspective and mindset. You know, the method is there for learning Irish. I've designed this way that people really Can learn the language and it's not as difficult as everyone thought. The major overhaul would be in how we think about the language and how we accept it and embrace it.

[00:16:51] Irish with Mollie: So I would do a lot of work into working through the shame and fear and resentment that people hold [00:17:00] onto. You know, we might be the only country in the world that has been traumatized by learning our own language. So making it so that. Mistakes are normal, you know, you're only going to get it wrong before you get it right.

[00:17:12] Irish with Mollie: Everyone just working through that kind of, who cares? Like, do we need to be fluent before we start speaking? No, you can just even add grow more, big love at the end of your messages, you know, you can write your shopping list in Irish and look it up, look up the word and then forget it and look it up again and forget it.

[00:17:33] Irish with Mollie: I would say, you know, bringing bilingualism into schools, making it so that sport is through Irish things that are really fun and positive. And so children have this association and parents too.

[00:17:46] Gerry Scullion: yeah,

[00:17:48] Irish with Mollie: Doing away with exams. I think exams come from this kind of factory worker mentality that we're having to test you because to, to work out whether you learned something instead of learning something should be, [00:18:00] the proof should be being able to spontaneously, creatively, confidently speak, even if you're making mistakes.

[00:18:06] Irish with Mollie: So it's amazing how we were scripted in Irish, basically, if someone asks a question that you haven't prepared for, it's like, you know, just anxiety overload instead of. Understanding the structures and it's very doable.

[00:18:23] Gerry Scullion: the foundations, like I, I, I couldn't tell you what my foundations in Irish were. It was probably counting like to 10 and even I haven't done it since I left school because I was living in Australia and so forth. The only time I really leaned into it was when I was traveling with other Irish people and we might see a Colleen Holland, which is a good looking girl and we were like, yeah, I don't even know if that's right, but they would get the point across that I was like, look over there.

[00:18:49] Irish with Mollie: Yeah.

[00:18:50] Gerry Scullion: It was Colleen Olin and they'd be like, OK, you know, girl and nice. So we'd be like, OK, it was beneficial at that point. But [00:19:00] I'm keen to learn about more, you know, that the killing of the you know, English language being used to. Maybe not intentionally to kill languages, but are there other countries in the world that are at the same level as us, what they've been done to reinvigorate the language and its adoption?

[00:19:18] Gerry Scullion: You mentioned Maui, um, Maori, sorry, I think I'm saying, I'm, I think it's Mofi actually, isn't it the proper, proper term? There's people in New Zealand are going to send me an email now and they're like, Jerry, this is how you say it, I'm so sorry. Um, but what are they doing to reinvigorate the language?

[00:19:35] Irish with Mollie: I think the major difference, uh, is you can see in Catalonia and places like that, that they make it more useful in a way that you need the language to get into certain government positions and, uh, public service. Kind of jobs and that it's actually used in daily life that who work in the post office, the [00:20:00] guards, teachers, nurses, all use the language and there's a place for that.

[00:20:06] Irish with Mollie: It's not in a way seen as such a minority language. For example, I lived in the Basque country and they're all the kids, most of the kids go to school and it's just Basque the whole day, and then they might speak Spanish with their parents at home and a lot of their games are really well preserved, like pelota, I think it's called, and. It's just made more, it's normalized and it's integrated into their life and it's a real pride thing. And I don't know why it's been the opposite in Ireland.

[00:20:43] Gerry Scullion: Yeah. I mean, it's in all our signposts. I mean, in some ways, like The Irish government, if, if there were a third person on this call, they'd say, well, we've introduced it on all the signposts. We've, you know, we give alternate languages, [00:21:00] um, you know, English on one side, Irish on another. You can apply for government services in our native language and ATM functions.

[00:21:11] Gerry Scullion: I'm thinking off the top of my head, you can do it as Gaeilge, um, but yet it still seems to be on the decline.

[00:21:18] Irish with Mollie: Exactly. And I see policies that are like, Oh, we'll protect the Gaeilge agat at all costs. And we'll protect this and that and preserve this. But I think the only time it's going to change is when Irish people feel okay with someone saying to them, An bhfuil Gaeilge agat? Have you got Irish? And they can say, Tá, or Níl, or Cúpla Fócal.

[00:21:37] Irish with Mollie: Yes, you know, I do, I don't. A couple of words. And not have this. Panic, because it's so common that you'd say to someone, Oh, you know, have you any Irish? And they're like, Oh, sure. I wouldn't have a word of Irish. I, I only learned it for 14 years at school and even Irish teachers themselves. I went to an event [00:22:00] and.

[00:22:00] Irish with Mollie: I heard it was a, an embassy event and there was this woman there who had taught Irish for years. And I was a bit like, okay, she's going to speak Irish to me. And even I have that kind of boom, boom, you know, what's going to happen here. And then she grabs me by the arm and says, Molly. Don't you dare speak a word of Irish to me.

[00:22:20] Gerry Scullion: Really?

[00:22:22] Irish with Mollie: She was like, I'm out of practice. You know, I haven't spoken Irish in years. And I was like, okay, the, yeah, it's a real mindset thing. 100%.

[00:22:33] Gerry Scullion: a jam. If you look at musicians, they get up and they just start to jam and play like, you know, and it's that mindset of being comfortable. You're in a safe environment to try again. Like, you know?

[00:22:43] Irish with Mollie: And I teach so many international students and they just have a very different approach. They're like, hi guys, just joined the course. Um, maybe you've been here since last September, but I'll catch up in a few weeks. I'm just on module two, you know, very open, very cheerful about it, very proactive, and they don't [00:23:00] mind making mistakes.

[00:23:01] Irish with Mollie: They don't apologize for them. It's just, of course I'm making mistakes. I'm a learner. Everyone does.

[00:23:07] Gerry Scullion: Do you think that's something to do with the fact that we hold a version of our own identity and we probably know deep down we should, whereas if you're not from that, um, perspective, if you're like, say, French, trying to learn Irish, you're like, I know I'm going to be bad. I'm just learning a new thing.

[00:23:26] Gerry Scullion: Whereas do you think there's something in that?

[00:23:28] Irish with Mollie: That's a really good point. I think a lot of Irish people have that, or maybe they move abroad and they realize, wow, I learned. Swedish in two years, how do I not know my native language?

[00:23:38] Gerry Scullion: Yeah. So how hard is it? Come on, Molly. You've got me interested. I mean, all these Instagram posts, even, you even spoke about Ali G the other day. You're speaking the language of the young people. And I say the young people, that's me. So, um, let's talk about that. Cause I remember hearing years ago when, when Ali G, when I was in school, they were like, there's a [00:24:00] correlation between that, that phrase and Oscar.

[00:24:02] Gerry Scullion: Tell us that story. That's a great

[00:24:04] Irish with Mollie: it comes. Yeah. So you remember Ali G saying and. It's from Jamaican Patois and apparently it comes from Buíochas le Día, thanks be to God. And the meaning is the same. He's saying it kind of like praise be, you know, good life, good stuff. And Cromwell sent thousands of Irish indentured servants to the Caribbean and, and they were working alongside black slaves and they apparently taught them a lot of Irish.

[00:24:36] Irish with Mollie: Another one would be Airy. The verb in Irish to mean get up or rise, and it can be connected to so many different collocations like, you know, to succeed, to give up, and loads of different things. And they still use it in Jamaican Patois. They say Airee.

[00:24:55] Gerry Scullion: Wow. It's kinda, it's crazy how language can permeate each other, isn't it? [00:25:00] Really like they, they can influence so many different things. I mean, we still like in, in Australia. Most people would be familiar with the phrase we're going to have the crack and it's, it's a very Irish thing. And do you know where that comes from?

[00:25:18] Gerry Scullion: I know it's obviously Irish, but, but how is it permeated all these other cultures?

[00:25:23] Irish with Mollie: this one is something we probably don't want to think about, but the crack apparently comes from the word crack, C R A K, coming from Middle English.

[00:25:33] Gerry Scullion: I don't know.

[00:25:34] Irish with Mollie: Yeah. But we changed the spelling.

[00:25:36] Gerry Scullion: Yeah. So it's got its roots in English.

[00:25:39] Irish with Mollie: Yeah. I think it meant racket or kind of hubbub, kind of hustle and bustle,

[00:25:46] Gerry Scullion: Yeah,

[00:25:47] Irish with Mollie: a sound or

[00:25:48] Gerry Scullion: kind of makes sense. Do you know, as I'm speaking, as I'm speaking to you, I, Susie Dent on Countdown, you are the Susie Dent to Irish, as she is to English. [00:26:00] It's, as I'm talking, I think I can throw anything out to you, and you're going to be able to give me a

[00:26:04] Irish with Mollie: I appreciate that. I love Susie Dent and a few people have said that to me and I would love, you know, to have been on Countdown. Maybe I'll start a Countdown in Irish.

[00:26:13] Gerry Scullion: Yeah, did it, did it, you know, to do, yeah, you need to unlock. I only watch the countdown cats, the cat's version of countdown. Um, have you seen that with Sean Luck and John Richardson? It's all these comedians who do Jimmy Carr fronts. Um, it's not, you can check it out on YouTube. It's, it's fantastic. But, um, so let's talk about what you, what you're doing.

[00:26:35] Gerry Scullion: Like, you know, so you, you do these Instagram posts probably daily. Is this,

[00:26:40] Irish with Mollie: Yeah. So I do a reel every second day and a post with like 10 flashcards alternating them.

[00:26:50] Gerry Scullion: how do you do all of this?

[00:26:51] Irish with Mollie: it's a lot of work to be honest,

[00:26:54] Gerry Scullion: Yeah,

[00:26:54] Irish with Mollie: so worthwhile. I absolutely love it. I'm, I'm learning a lot about, [00:27:00] you know, the algorithm and how to grab people's attention and the whole storytelling aspect of it. And I love deep diving into the etymology and kind of weaving in the folklore.

[00:27:12] Irish with Mollie: And it's amazing. It's really heartwarming to see how people react to that. You know, people from all over the world who say, Oh, my granddad used to say that, or people give me a lot of ideas. To be fair, they'll write me a DM and they'll go, do you ever hear this phrase? You know, my aunts always say this and then I'll start researching it and be like, wow, that's so special that that has carried on for generations.

[00:27:37] Gerry Scullion: do you ever hear of the phrase skunty bunty?

[00:27:40] Irish with Mollie: No.

[00:27:41] Gerry Scullion: No, that's my, one of, an old lady used to call me her, her little scunty bunty and I never knew what it meant and, um, my mom said she thought it might've been something to do with Irish. And he went, come here you little scunty bunty. And I was like, I was only when I get older, like she also used to call me the F word.

[00:27:58] Gerry Scullion: Like, you know, she's, you're, [00:28:00] you're a little F and it's only years later that I was like, well, probably inappropriate. But the scunty bunty one was always. Uh, you know, made me kind of ponder what, what she meant. She's long gone, unfortunately, to ask her, but there's probably loads of those phrases from the older generations that are being passed down and we're somewhat confused.

[00:28:22] Gerry Scullion: Do you have any other ones that you have from, um, kind of, uh, from your reels that you're able to recount for us?

[00:28:29] Irish with Mollie: Yeah, for example, you know, in Liverpool, people call it the Republic of Liverpool because there's so many Irish there, and they say, Tora, chuck. And tora comes from tor ada, meaning take care,

[00:28:41] Gerry Scullion: Right.

[00:28:42] Irish with Mollie: and even chuck. Like chicken, you know, in Australia you'll hear this a lot as well,

[00:28:48] Gerry Scullion: Yeah.

[00:28:48] Irish with Mollie: from apparently T I O C Chuck, that Irish farmers would call their chickens saying, Chuck, and it would

[00:28:55] Gerry Scullion: Ah.

[00:28:56] Irish with Mollie: something to kind of Yeah.

[00:28:59] Gerry Scullion: here. Come here. [00:29:00] Come here.

[00:29:01] Irish with Mollie: Yeah, exactly. Because Chucky would be the future tense of, to come. Yeah. Ah,

[00:29:05] Gerry Scullion: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Cause like it is very popular in Australia, like, especially with, with people who are true blue, as I say, in Sydney and everywhere else, like, um, can I check, um, it's really, it's fascinating to hear that, like, you know, so you're, you have a different style of, of learning.

[00:29:23] Gerry Scullion: Um, how does that differ to what the general curriculum does in Ireland to teach Irish?

[00:29:29] Irish with Mollie: Um,

[00:29:31] Gerry Scullion: What are you doing? You're doing dances, because you mentioned you do dances as well.

[00:29:35] Irish with Mollie: to be honest, I don't, I know there are. There are so many talented and brilliant teachers, but I think working with a curriculum like that really doesn't help. So what I love to do is kind of start with a lead in like something memorable, something that you can hang on and relate to and connect with.

[00:29:53] Irish with Mollie: So a story about. You know, let's say if you've an Irish mammy or daddy, you've [00:30:00] probably heard them say, why have you got pus on you? Get that pus off your face, you know, if you're being pretty grumpy and then everyone can kind of laugh at it or relate to it and go, Oh yeah, I've heard that. Why? Because pus comes from a pouted mouth.

[00:30:13] Irish with Mollie: in Irish. And then you might hear, you know, something else related to mouth. So everything is kind of together. For example, like to, you know, Irish has faded off our tongues, but we're going to gobble it back up. Gobble comes from gob, beak, you know, shut your beak or shut your mouth. So it's kind of linking them so that you remember them better.

[00:30:36] Irish with Mollie: I remember having a student who said he was learning whether. Items, vocabulary and Irish and scam is cloudy. And he was wondering, how should I remember this? Well, scam Allah. So Allah in the skies is scamming the earth with the clouds. So this is a really effective learning tool, you know? And I think also letting students sit [00:31:00] in their discomfort for a moment and kind of stretch their minds and try to, nearly struggle through to the answer instead of giving it to them.

[00:31:08] Irish with Mollie: There's a lot of this in school where people are fed information, this is the correct answer, instead of what do you think? Or work it out, like how cool would that be if etymology was more of a subject in schools, like it's fascinating.

[00:31:21] Gerry Scullion: Absolutely. Within design, um, we talk about this. It's an academic term. It's called the first shitty draft where you just get something done. Like I think Ernest Hemingway said that the hardest part of writing is just that blank page. And it's so true. It's, you just get something to the point of where you can actually critique it and provide feedback.

[00:31:42] Gerry Scullion: Whereas if you stare at that blank page and you don't attempt, you're just still. So you can't steer a pair of cars the other way of looking at it, and it's just about giving it a go and being, being willing to be poor is, is kind of what I'm hearing through that. Like, you know. So, Molly, [00:32:00] you've got this online school.

[00:32:01] Gerry Scullion: I'm, I'm on the website here, uh, at the moment. Um, what does it look like when people sign up? Like, I'd love to give people, uh, an introduction to, to what you offer.

[00:32:12] Irish with Mollie: So it's called irishwithmolly. com and I have two courses. So one is for beginners, perfect for people starting from scratch or maybe refreshing their Irish after years. Maybe they want to become a primary school teacher, or they're a parent of a kid in a grail school. And it brings you through the absolute basics of the language.

[00:32:32] Irish with Mollie: So I've designed this kind of features of the language module that a lot of people are like, God, I never knew that despite maybe even being at intermediate level. And then it brings you through the tenses, different vocabulary. So there's about 55 structured videos. Over 18 hours, so it's all self paced.

[00:32:52] Irish with Mollie: You can learn wherever, whenever suits you. There is over 800 exercises, over a hundred quizzes, downloadable [00:33:00] PDFs, my daily support, an open zoom room. So we have a 24, seven zoom room to converse. And I was on it last night with a few people. It was hilarious. It was Cork versus Dublin. So people from all over the world.

[00:33:13] Irish with Mollie: I've over 2000 students on it now, and people are just logging in from everywhere, you know, from Alaska, New Zealand, Morocco. It's incredible to feel this appetite for Irish. Then there's an intermediate course,

[00:33:26] Gerry Scullion: But what's a live zoom? I've never heard of a live zoom room.

[00:33:29] Irish with Mollie: yeah, so it's open constantly. People are online right now. We also have a telegram group, one for beginners, one for intermediates, and just sharing, you know, cupla focal.

[00:33:41] Irish with Mollie: A couple of words about their day or asking questions, sharing films in Irish and books. So it's a great way for people to feel part of something and to know I'm not alone. You know, everyone's trying their best and you know, the beauty of it is there's lifetime access as well. So. It's not like you have to finish [00:34:00] by this deadline or you'll get kicked out of the course or anything like that.

[00:34:04] Irish with Mollie: I've learned my lesson. So it's, um, yeah, it's just been a really beautiful kind of burgeoning community that fills me with a lot of joy. You know, it feels like friends, you know, everyone is there enjoying themselves and Adding to the experience.

[00:34:20] Gerry Scullion: Yeah, absolutely. Well, look, keep doing what you're doing, Molly. Um, because it's been fascinating watching your channel grow. I'm just looking at now you've got 125, 000 followers

[00:34:32] Irish with Mollie: About that, yeah, I think,

[00:34:33] Gerry Scullion: like that. I think more than across the two channels.

[00:34:35] Gerry Scullion: You're on

[00:34:36] Irish with Mollie: yeah.

[00:34:37] Gerry Scullion: TikTok as well. Like, which is just insane. Like, you know, anyone who's got more than, I've got 150 people on Instagram, my personal Instagram. I'm like, that's too many.

[00:34:47] Irish with Mollie: Yeah. I know it's, it's mind boggling sometimes when people recognize me. I'm like, whoa, yeah,

[00:34:53] Gerry Scullion: So if you had that one, I'd say you could definitely be stopped in the street.

[00:34:57] Irish with Mollie: Yeah, it has happened. Even [00:35:00] in Austria, to be honest, I was in the middle of the Austrian Alps and the guy putting on my ski boots said, uh, do you teach Irish online? And I was like, yeah,

[00:35:09] Gerry Scullion: No way.

[00:35:10] Irish with Mollie: it was weird.

[00:35:12] Gerry Scullion: That is so cool. And I noticed, um, when a good friend, uh, and somebody has been on the podcast, Mark Geary, um, follows you, uh, as well, like, you know, and there's been a lot of people, like I know Marquette Aglova as well, follows you on, on Instagram as well. So it's, there's a lot of people interested in what it means to be Irish.

[00:35:33] Gerry Scullion: You are popular amongst the creative community in Ireland following and learning and I think it's really powerful to see other people in that sort of position in Irish culture to support what you're doing because there's not too many other people doing it like it's it's coming from the heart that's the bit that comes through it's not a case of you like you see a niche in the market you're like I'm going to capitalize on this.

[00:35:59] Gerry Scullion: This is something you're [00:36:00] really passionate about. So I'm delighted to have you on direct people towards the work that you're doing, Molly.

[00:36:06] Irish with Mollie: Thanks a million. Jerry.

[00:36:07] Gerry Scullion: No worries. If so, if people want to reach out to you, what's the best way for people to do that?

[00:36:11] Irish with Mollie: Yeah. So Irish with Mollie on Instagram or TikTok and Irish with If you wanna send me an email or the website is Irish with

[00:36:21] Gerry Scullion: Okay, awesome. Listen, thanks so much for your time.

[00:36:24] Irish with Mollie: Cheers. Flon.

[00:36:26] Gerry Scullion: Haha, slán go fóill.

[00:36:27] ​

John Carter
Tech Vlogger & YouTuber

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