Toronto Reference Library at 40: Celebrate with the Irish Language

October 12, 2017 | Michal

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Rupi Kaur's Crowd @TRL on April 28, 2016
Rupi Kaur's Crowd @TRL on April 28, 2016

Toronto Reference Library is 40 years old! Officially opened on Nov 2, 1977, Toronto Reference Library (TRL) (then know as the Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library - MTRL) is the largest public library in Canada and the only public reference library in Canada. In 1998, TRL amalgamated with six other municipal library systems to create the new Toronto Public Library system, which now has 100 locations. Toronto Reference Library functions as a resource for the entire library system, as it has specialized collections.

The Languages and Literature Department of the Toronto Reference Library invites you to help us celebrate the 40th anniversary by learning more about the Irish language. You are invited to join us on Saturday, November 4 at 2pm, in the Discussion Room, 3rd floor, for Mile Mile i gCein: The Irish Language in Canada. This is also the title of a book by Danny Doyle, a published Gaelic poet and winner of the 2016 Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada award for poetry. Space is limited to 30 people (no registration required), so come early.

 Danny Doyle Photo

Mr. Doyle has an M.A. in Conservation, and is not only a teacher of the Irish language, but a sean-nós singer and uilleann piper. He has worked as an archaeological conservator for the Government of Canada, and lectured on the topic of the Irish Language in Canada at numerous locations, including the University of Ottawa, Queen's University, and the University of Toronto, as well as through the Irish language at Ulster University (Derry, NI) and for the Irish radio (Raidió na Life). 

Image of Dannt Doyle's book - cover

Míle Míle i gCéin: The Irish Language in Canada explores the fate of Irish Gaelic immigrants in Canada, one of the first studies within the global diaspora focusing specifically on the Irish language. Bringing together census data and historic accounts, the prevalence of the language in Canada is shown, spoken at one point from Newfoundland through to the Yukon. Irish speakers in Canada created poetry, songs, and stories, many published for the first time after their rediscovery in the Irish Folklore Commission archives. Also discussed are the reasons for the language's abandonment and its near-total exclusion from the Canadian folk memory, unlike other immigrant languages.

Languages and Literature Department (LL)

Language Learning Collection

You can find materials to study about 80 languages in the Languages and Literature Department of the Toronto Reference Library. These include Indigenous languages of  the American Continents, African dialects, and ESL materials; most of these materials can be borrowed. We also have resources that can help you learn the Irish language.

Irish. [Beginner] Irish Grammar

Languages Collection

The Languages and Literature Department of the Toronto Reference Library also has books in over 66 languages other than English, including books in the Irish language, most of which are on the open shelves and can be borrowed. We also have reference books in about 96 languages, for use in the library only.  While you can sign out most of this material (or place holds on it to have it sent to your home library branch), and return it to any branch of the Toronto Public Library, you may prefer to study in the library. If so, you can use one of  the Language Learning AV Stations available just for this purpose. 

  Short Stories of Padraic Pearse Caisleain oir

Books and Ephemera 

The Arts Department has a large collection of books on Irish art and architecture, as well as a unique collection of vintage postcards, including those especially designed for St. Patrick's Day.

Find out more on our Arts & Culture blog:

Patrick's Day Vintage Postcards - Céad Míle Fáilte - Toronto Public Library

Thousand five hundred years of Irish Art (more or less) 

go deo i mo chroí

[forever in my heart]

Four Leaf Clover