Irish Ways And Irish Laws

Dearg Le Fearg, Irish Rights Are Civil Rights!

It seems that even the most reactionary dung-hill can produce the odd progressive rose. Here is Clare Cullen in the Irish Independent with some entirely sensible points in relation to Irish language education and the (constitutional) obligations of the state towards its citizens following the news that several TDanna were availing themselves of free Irish … Continue reading

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Analysis Of ÓnaÉ Video

Volunteer of the Real Irish Republican Army armed with an AKM assault rifle

There was a bit of a kerfuffle in the news media over the weekend caused by the military funeral of Tony Catney, a former senior veteran of the (Provisional) Irish Republican Army. His funeral cortège in Belfast was escorted by uniformed Republican activists, possibly Volunteers of the militant grouping Óglaigh na hÉireann or ÓnaÉ, through … Continue reading

Fingal Irish

Scary Eire

  I’ve discussed before the truly excellent blog Dublin Gaelic which discusses the history of the Irish language in the capital and its hinterland, focusing in particular on the historic dialects of Irish in the region (now essentially lost; the contemporary version of Dublin Irish is based upon dialects from the west of Ireland mixed … Continue reading

Nimble Scotland Versus Lumbering Britain

Alba Gu Brath - Scotland Forever. Thousands attend Scottish independence rally, Edinbugh, Scotland, 2012 (Photo: Wings Over Scotland)

There are very few politicians that I actually admire. In general my opinion of those who enter party politics is pretty poor though growing up in Ireland, with its values-adverse, morally flexible and easily purchasable political classes, it is easy to see why. It’s not that Irish politicians are particularly corrupt in the sense of … Continue reading

Some Fan News

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I know that quite a few of my readers are “fangirls” with an interest in all aspects of geek culture (literature, art, movies, games and so on) so it would be interesting to hear their experiences of what was traditionally perceived as a mainly male preserve, especially here in Ireland. World By Storm has a good … Continue reading

No Time For Irish – Government Policy In Ireland

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A few weeks ago the appointment of two ministers by the government of Ireland with responsibilities directly effecting the interests of Irish-speaking communities and citizens was mired in controversy when it became clear that neither appointee could actually speak the Irish language (despite the presence of several other fluent candidates in the government parties). Both … Continue reading

A Stranger In A Strange Land

Stephen King and wife Tabitha make their cameo appearence in 1981's Knightriders

One of the worst aspects of occasionally working night-shifts is being forced to listen to the talk-radio stations that pollute the airwaves of BÁC during week-nights (the listening choice of others in my workplace, believe me). First off, why on earth would anyone want to listen to the opinions of strangers on a range of “controversial” … Continue reading

The Politics Of Brutal Bruton

John Redmond The British Ventriloquist

Former Fine Gael leader and arch Euro-federalist John Bruton is generally regarded as the most economically right-wing Taoiseach Ireland has had in living memory. His term of office in the mid-1990s was pity poor even by the mediocre standards of Irish politics, not helped by his obvious pro-British sympathies and antipathy to the emerging détente in … Continue reading

Hold Your Tongue

The National Library of Scotland, Early Gaelic Book Collection

Karen Matheson, the lead vocalist with the popular Scottish folk band Capercaillie, recounts something that was once very familiar to speakers of the two main Gaelic languages, Irish and Scottish. From the Herald Scotland: “WHEN Karen Matheson was growing up in the small Argyll village of Taynuilt, her mother refused to speak Gaelic to her. She herself … Continue reading

Vote An Sionnach Fionn

Reynard the Fox

Nice to hear that An Sionnach Fionn has been nominated for three separate categories in the Blog Awards Ireland 2014 (the same number as last year, so I must be doing something right!). The categories are “Best Political/Current Affairs/News”, “Best Mobile Compatible” and “Best Blog Post” (for the article “Chief Superintendent Harry Breen, What You … Continue reading

British Violence Good, Irish Violence Bad

The mutilated body of Patrick Loughnane, age 29, Volunteer of the Irish Republican Army, tortured to death alongside his younger brother Harry, age 22, by the Royal Irish Constabulary, Britain's feared colonial police force in Ireland, 1920

Perhaps I should change that headline to a more accurate one? “British Violence (By Irish People For Britain) Good, Irish Violence (By Irish People Against Britain) Bad” For that in essence is the argument put forward by former Taoiseach and aficionado of several right-wing think-tanks John Bruton in a number of recent speeches. Of course … Continue reading

Reclaiming The Past And The Present

Labhair Gaeilge

Some interesting thoughts on translation and the Irish language from the Cork-based poet Louis de Paor in an interview with Alan O’Riordan in the Irish Examiner: “CAN a poem ever really be translated? The Cork poet Louis de Paor covers this ground in the introduction to his latest volume, The Brindled Cat and The Nightingale’s … Continue reading

Going, Going, Gone

Northern Ireland

Up to the 1980s the British Labour Party was generally supportive of ending Britain’s centuries-old colonial interference in Ireland by drawing down the shutters on the last remnant of the beleaguered colony in the north-east of the country. Many in Labour saw themselves as “persuaders for unity” on the island of Ireland, a mantra once as important … Continue reading

Festival Interceltique 2014

The Celtic Nations

Sometimes we need reminding that – whatever our origins – we are not just Irish but Celts too, one of the indigenous peoples of north-western Europe. From a report by the Irish Times newspaper: “At the Festival Interceltique, President Michael D Higgins was warmly received as the only head of state of a Celtic country. … Continue reading

Underground Warfare

Maev's second meeting with Fergus, illustration from The Táin by Mary Hutton, 1924

  One of the commoner settlement types to be found in Irish archaeology are the ráthanna or so-called ring-forts 40,000 of which are known to have existed during the first millennium CE (and probably many more than that). These were a class of fortified homestead normally consisting of a circular earthen bank inside an exterior ditch which together enclosed … Continue reading

Festival Of Lúgh

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It’s a rather overcast and muggy day in BÁC but I’ve still followed my own little traditions for Lúghnasa, the festival of Lúgh that marks the harvest time in the Irish and Celtic calendars. A climb to the summit of Binn Éadair to watch yesterday’s sunset over the capital that marks the commencement of the … Continue reading

Coláiste Lurgan, TG Lurgan

Éire vs. Ireland

The current affairs site breakingnews.ie carries a lengthy article on the well-publicised work of Coláiste Lurgan, an independent Irish language summer school in Galway, to popularise the use of our national language with young people across Ireland and well beyond. Below are a few extracts from the piece (the spelling mistakes in the original have been corrected): “You can’t have … Continue reading

Dublin Irish, 4000 Years And Counting

Ireland in chains

A few years ago a former passive-agressive manager in my job, who made a great point of mispronouncing my surname whenever the chance arose, confronted me with the following declaration: If you speak Irish why are you living in Dublin? Why don’t you go live somewhere down the country where it is spoken? His pugnacious … Continue reading

Equal In Any Language

We Are 42% - Gaeilge Anois!

In yesterday’s Guardian newspaper the journalist and political activist Ellie Mae O’Hagan argues that the Welsh language should be part of the school curriculum not just in Wales but in other parts of the island of Britain too. Since “England and Wales” are essentially treated as one constitutional and legal entity under British law it … Continue reading

The Orange Order – Enough Is Enough

British soldiers of the RIR unit with a flag supporting the anti-Catholic and Protestant fundamentalist Orange Order in Drumcree, 2002

From 1975 to 1982 a British terrorist faction nicknamed the “Shankhill Butchers”, part of the militant UVF, carried out a series of attacks designed to instil terror in the Irish Nationalist community of Belfast, randomly targeting men, women and children living in isolated enclaves around the city. Like Al-Qaeda in Iraq during the intercommunal conflict the … Continue reading

France Had Pétain, We Nearly Had Redmond

John Redmond MP presents a regimental flag to a unit of the Irish National Volunteers, the paramilitary wing of the Irish Parliamentary Party, the Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland, April 1915

John Redmond is probably one of the more divisive figures in Irish history and rightly so. The patrician head of the Irish Parliamentary Party whose followers eulogised him with an almost messianic fervour while excoriating any and all critics he was the self-proclaimed “leader of Nationalist Ireland” who bullied and cajoled thousands of young Irish … Continue reading

Name The Kincora Abusers

"Belfast Fianna Fáil wish all members of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland a happy 12th of July"

  For the first time an allegation long made in private has been stated in public: a senior member of the largest political party representing the British Unionist community in the north-east of Ireland and a current minister in the regional executive in Belfast was once an associate of Tara, a would-be British terrorist grouping founded in the … Continue reading

The Irish State Versus The Irish Language

English versus An Ghaeilge

More on the controversial decision by the Fine Gael-Labour coalition to appoint two government minsters to departments dealing with Irish-speaking communities and citizens both of whom have little to no ability in the language despite the fact that a number of their colleagues are fluent speakers. The now familiar hostility and apathy towards our indigenous language … Continue reading

Irish-Speakers Lie Down!

The Ladies of Fine Gael - old habits die hard

If there is a nation anywhere on the planet more ashamed and embarrassed of its own existence, of its very language and culture, than Ireland then I think we need to hear of it. Only the modern Irish could disdain their millennia-old identity in pursuit of some nebulous form of Anglo-Americanism. Only the modern Irish … Continue reading

Between The Land And The Sea

Teach an Locháin, Bóthar an Choinicéir, Cill Fhionntain, Éire 2014

Regular readers will know of my affection for Bóthar an Choinicéir, a leafy side-road in Fine Gall situated on a narrow strip of land between the sea and the main BÁC-Binn Éadair DART line. Generally considered to be part of Cill Fhionntain technically the area lies within the separate townland of An Coinicéar (though both lie in the … Continue reading

The Calm Before The Storm

"Belfast Fianna Fáil wish all members of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland a happy 12th of July"

The infamous Ku Klux Klan had – and probably still has – burning crosses. The equally infamous Orange Order has burning bonfires. The function of both is the same: celebration, defiance, intimidation. With “only” three ethnically motivated stabbings, scattered and desultory rioting, a handful of inter-communal clashes, minimal damage to property, shorter than previous road and … Continue reading

A Sickness At The Heart Of Britishness

The True "Northern Ireland" In Orange

As Britain witnesses the revelations of a decades old culture of institutionalised paedophilia and sexual abuse within the heart of the state (seemingly encompassing the BBC, the lower and upper houses of parliament, the judiciary, the police and intelligence services, the “aristocracy”, and past – and possibly current – governments in London) it is worth … Continue reading

Oíche Sheanchais, The First Irish Language Sound Film

Mian Ní Cheallaigh, An Cladach, Contae na Gaillimhe, Éire, 26ú Bealtaine 1913

From a report by the Galway Advertiser: “The first Irish language ‘talkie’ ever made has premiered at a renowned Italian festival of rediscovered and restored film… Oidhche Sheanchais, an 11-minute film featuring Aran islanders from the Man of Aran cast listening to a story told by seanchaí Seáinín Tom Ó Dioráin, was the first ‘talkie’ … Continue reading

A Colony Cannot Be Reformed

We Shall Overcome - Civil Rights In Ireland - The 1960s

In case you missed it, from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations: “Press Statement by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on adequate housing… From 29 August to 11 September 2013, I undertook an official visit to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the invitation … Continue reading

The Irish Government’s Anti-Irishness

Agóid Tobstailce @ Dáil Éireann

The Irish-speaking citizens and communities of Ireland are under attack. They are under attack from a coalition government of two parties who seem determined to finish the ethnocide of the indigenous Irish language and culture begun eight centuries ago. For how else could one explain the events of the last three years? The rolling back of … Continue reading

Foreign Teanga, New Radio Documentary

We'll have none of that Irish shite here! You're Irish! So speak English! (Íomha: An Timire)

A quick post to highlight an upcoming radio documentary, “Foreign Teanga”, examining the positive and negative experiences of seven non-nationals living in Ireland who have chosen to learn the Irish language in Dublin over the course of ten weeks. One major source of the negativity? The Irish themselves. “At the dinner table when they found out I was … Continue reading

The Unionist Caliphate In Ireland

Peter Robinson with an automatic assault rifle

The mainstream British Unionist parties in the north-east of Ireland, the governing DUP and out-of-office UUP, have issued a statement condemning yet another ban on the controversial annual march by the anti-Catholic Orange Order in the Ardoyne district of Belfast, and have done so in conjunction with the fundamentalist TUV, and the PUP and UPRG, … Continue reading

The Real Subversives In Ireland

John Redmond British Army Recruitment Poster

The twisted psyche of the ruling elites in Ireland is never plainer to see than when one of them emerges from the Big House to criticise the revolutionary stepping stones that led to the establishment of the nation-state they inhabit. And by implication the very existence of the state itself. Former Fine Gael politico and EU careerist … Continue reading

Tony O’Reilly, Entrepreneur Or Ideologue?

For the last three decades the national press in Ireland has been dominated by the publications of the Independent News & Media group (INM), a corporation formerly ruled by the controversial businessman Tony O’Reilly (or “Sir Anthony O’Reilly” as his newspapers were allegedly instructed to describe him following his “knighthood” by the British head of state in 2001 for … Continue reading

The Dirty Secrets Of A Dirty War Get Even Dirtier

Joint footpatrol of British UDA terrorists and British Army soldiers

In the “better late than never” category Britain’s Left-leaning newspaper, the Guardian, has published a special investigation by Ian Cobain into the infamous Ballymurphy Massacre of August 1971. During the course of three days rampaging British troops in an isolated Irish Nationalist enclave on the edge of West Belfast murdered ten civilians, 9 men and boys … Continue reading

  • blog awards ireland Nominated: Best Politics Blog 2013, Best Personal Blog 2013, Best Blog Post 2013
  • blog awards ireland

    Nominated: Best News/Current Affairs/Political Blog 2014, Best Mobile Blog 2014, Best Blog Post 2014