Ag Filleadh Arís - Coming Back Again

– A Conversation with Eóin Killackey

Episode #19

In this fascinating episode of The Language Question, I had the privilege of speaking with Professor Eóin Killackey, an individual with a compelling story of reconnection with his Irish roots. Eóin shares his journey with the Irish language after moving from the UK, where he was born to Irish parents, to Australia as a young child. We explore the deep ties between language, identity, and heritage, delve into the global Irish language community, and discuss the broader themes of colonialism and indigenous identity. Eóin’s personal anecdotes and insights provide a unique perspective on the evolving nature of language and its enduring impact on our sense of self and connection to our ancestry. Eóin’s story is not just about language; it’s about the discovery of self and heritage.

Podcast Notes

Eóin’s Journey: From Southampton to Australia

We start our episode by tracing Eóin’s unique journey, born in Southampton, UK, and his family’s move to Australia. Eóin shares insights into his life in Australia and his career in youth mental health. This particular part of our discussion paints a vivid picture of the diverse experiences shaping Eóin’s identity.

Reconnecting with Irish Language

A significant focus of our talk is Eóin’s recent journey to reconnect with the Irish language. Since 2019, he has embarked on this path, and his story is truly inspiring. We delve into his motivations, the challenges, and the joys he finds in rediscovering this part of his heritage.

Irish Identity and Family History

Eóin opens up about his family’s history and their connection to Ireland, discussing how his Irish heritage played a role in his upbringing and the evolution of his identity over the years. His reflections offer a personal perspective on the Irish diaspora’s experiences.

Language as a Connection to Ancestry

One of the most intriguing parts of our conversation centres around how learning Irish has helped Eóin connect with his ancestors and understand their worldview. He shares insights into how language shapes our perception of the world and our place in it.

Exploring the Global Irish Language Community

Eóin and I discuss the global Irish language community and his experiences as part of it. He talks about meeting learners from all over the world and the diverse reasons people are drawn to the Irish language.

Reflections on Colonialism and Indigenous Identity

We touch upon the complex topics of colonialism and indigenous identity. Eóin shares his thoughts on how these themes intersect with his Irish heritage and his experiences in Australia, offering a unique perspective on a global issue.

The Future of the Irish Language

Finally, we explore the future of the Irish language and the role of new speakers. Eóin’s insights into the evolving nature of language and its relevance in the modern world provide food for thought for anyone interested in cultural preservation and evolution.

More on Eóin Killackey

Eóin Killackey

Professor Eóin Killackey was born in Southampton UK and moved with his family as a young boy to Australia where he is now chief of research and head functional research in Youth Mental Health at Origin, the National Center of Excellence in Youth Mental Health and the Center of Youth Mental Health at the University of Melbourne. He completed his doctorate at Deacon University in 2000 and since 2019, he has been on a journey of reconnection with the Irish language.

Learn more about Eóin here:

Free Irish Learning Resources Guide

Whether you are just starting out or have already begun your language learning journey, I have compiled a collection of resources that should help you along the way.