Irish Sign Language by Alan Roche

Listen to Alan’s story here!

My name is Alan Roche and I have just finished an Irish Sign Language course in Trinity College. The course took place over 24 weeks. I enjoyed meeting people from different countries and learning how different their signing is to ours.

My first encounter with sign language was when I was in my teens. I was doing a training course, learning to make furniture. There were two people on the course who were deaf. I thought it was great how they communicated using their hands. As time went by, I picked up some of the phrases they used. I discovered that there was a course taking place in Darndale teaching people how to use sign language so I decided to take part in the course to improve my knowledge. It was good and very interesting. I got to know more phrases which helped me later on in life when I started to work with deaf people.

Due to health reasons, I had to give up work. I joined the local Tech (CDETB), studying English and Computers. I got great support from the tutors and from the people I met in the classes. The biggest support I got was from my wife, Liz. She encouraged me to keep going with the classes. Liz works in Trinity College. A 12 week course in Sign Language was to take place in the college and she signed me up for the course.

It was amazing; it was different to what I had learned over the years. Following that course, I signed up for the 24 week course. I learned over 800 signs that I didn’t know before and a few Brazilian signs which were similar to ours. The tutors in Trinity College were very encouraging and want me to sign up for a PhD in sign language which I would love to do. The new course would be for 4 years, 5 days a week. Maybe one day that dream will come through but at the moment it’s a far distance away.

Listen to Alan talk about his story here!