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Linda Ervine

Linda Ervine

Linda Ervine MBE is an activist who has campaigned for the de-politicisation of the Irish language by supporting cross-community healing through provision of and access to Irish language lessons in majority Protestant/Unionist areas. Born in East Belfast in 1961 and raised in a Protestant family of socialists and trade unionists, she challenged the prevailing political narrative that the Irish language could or should exclusively be learnt or spoken by Catholic/Nationalist communities. In 2011, she attended a six-week Irish course as part of a cross-community endeavour organised by the East Belfast Mission and Short Strand Community Centre where it kindled her love for the language. Given that Linda was the wife of the PUP (Progressive Unionist Party) leader at the time, Brian Ervine, her enrolment in the class garnered media attention and the story was covered by several newspapers. Believing that language is for everyone who wishes to learn it, she went on to form Turas (‘journey’) in 2012 on the Newtownards Road; a project which connects people across the divide who have a shared passion for the Irish language, regardless of religious or political affiliation. Since 2012, Turas has expanded and developed, and provides 12 language classes a week, heritage bus tours, and encourages reconciliation through acceptance of all aspects of shared heritage. In 2020, Linda became President of the East Belfast GAA, and in the same year, began an Irish language degree at Queen’s University. In 2021, she was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Honours List for her services to the Irish language.

The items featured on this website are a sample of the material that Linda Ervine kindly donated to the Linen Hall Library as part of the extraORDINARYwomen project, and are comprised of press clippings from 2011 until 2021. 

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