No Speak The Irish!

Gunmen of the UDA-UFF, a legal British terrorist faction in Ireland, pose for the cameras

As if the precarious position of Irish-speaking citizens and communities in Ireland was not difficult enough living under the authority of a state hostile or indifferent to their needs, in the north-east of the country they must also face the threat of violence too. From the Belfast Telegraph: “A community centre has suffered a wave … Continue reading

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A Department Of Irish And Irish-Speaking Communities

Labhair Gaeilge

A great article over on Diaga Language which relates to my own piece yesterday on the lack of state-subsidised and accredited Irish language courses for adult learners in Ireland. As always you really should read the full post but here are the main points: “…I’ve been looking to find an advanced course over the last few days … Continue reading

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

Better Together Star: Catholics Look Better Hanging From A Tree

British Unionism or British Nationalism the English Defence League

The British Unionist parties heading the “Better Together” or No (surrender?) campaign in Scotland’s upcoming referendum on independence seem to have all but abandoned their scruples when it comes to defeating the SNP-led Yes side. Their language and rhetoric has become increasingly vitriolic with oblique references to verbal and physical violence littering their speeches as … 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

No Time For Irish – Government Policy In Ireland

Featured Image -- 11510

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

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

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

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

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 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

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

Gaelic Medium Education Growing In Scotland

BBC Alba

Some positive signs pointing towards growing stability in the numbers of Scottish (Gaelic) speakers in Scotland. Despite the decline caused by centuries of political, social and cultural exclusion – in particular since the 1800s –  communities are remerging in urban regions like Edinburgh and Glasgow. From the Scotsman newspaper: “THE growth of Gaelic education throughout … Continue reading

CLG Versus GAA?

The Gaelic Chieftain, Maurice Harron

Dónal McAnallen is a passionate and well regarded Irish rights activist, sports historian and writer so what is the source of the controversy that has blown up over the last few days in relation to his Irish language advocacy within the GAA? From a report by the Belfast Telegraph: “[GAA] President Liam O’Neill could be forced into … 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

Ras Yr Iaith 2014

Another quick post, this time to highlight the success of June’s “Ras yr Iaith”, a symbolic relay race organised by Welsh-speakers to celebrate their community and publicise their demands for greater equality in Wales. Inspired by similar events held here in Ireland, Brittany and the Basque Country (the latter for many years) one thousand runners … 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 Cló Gaelach Or Irish Typefaces

Nuacht1.com

Following on from the popularity of a recent post examining some online sources for Irish literary studies I thought a few of you might be interested by information on the Cló Gaelach (literally “Irish Type”), the family of typefaces formerly used in Ireland for Irish language texts. They originated in the 16th century with the creation of … Continue reading

Irish In Ireland? Oh The Humanity!

Ireland in chains

Richard Haass, the latest diplomatic envoy from the United States to the permanently ailing Irish-British peace process, has offered the tentative proposal that the Irish language be granted some form of “official” recognition in the north-east of Ireland. Predictably we are told that politicians from the British Unionist minority in the region will react with … Continue reading

In Support Of A Reunited Brittany

In 1941 the Vichy regime in France ordered the partition of the north-western Celtic nation of Brittany as part of administrative restructuring during its collaborationist rule with the Nazis. Nearly a fifth of the territory of the Bretons, including the historic capital city of Nantes, was incorporated into an artificial region called Pays de la … Continue reading

Nelson McCausland, The Tea Party Escapee

What other nation in Western Europe would tolerate a senior member of a regional government using his personal blog to publicly list individuals and their home addresses when those persons are at risk of a terrorist attack? Yet that is the very situation we have in Ireland with Nelson McCausland, the minster for social development … Continue reading

.éire Versus .ie

The people of Wales now have two national domain names to register their websites with, “.cymru“ and “.wales”, reflecting their nation’s bilingual status. Of course in Ireland we still persist with the “.ie” domain, usually using the “/ga” extension to direct users to the Irish language pages of any particular website (.ie. = “ireland” not … Continue reading

British Unionism, Nationalism In Denial

In a glorious example of the Irish political rhetoric known as “whataboutery” the columnist N.R. Greer takes to the pages of the Newsletter to attack the critics of the sectarianism and racism that is at the heart of the ideology of British Unionism in Ireland (and perhaps inevitably so given the origins of political Unionism … Continue reading

The Threat Of The Gaelic Ail-Caoíde

Talking of petty bigots whose anachronistic opinions are derived from centuries of colonial supremacism here comes another tirade against one of the indigenous languages of these Celtic Isles. Drew Cochrane, editor of the Largs & Millport Weekly News, spouting some ripe Daily Mail-style rhetoric for his Anglophone (and -centric) readership. Funny how people who complain … Continue reading

British Reformation Politics

  The legacy of British faith- and race-based colonialism right here in Europe, right here in Ireland. From The Impartial Reporter newspaper: “THE new Chairman of Fermanagh District Council, Bert Johnston believes First Minister Peter Robinson “has shown good leadership” despite his remarks on Muslims sparking controversy… Mr. Johnston, a long-standing member of the Democratic … Continue reading

Speaking In Code

  Declan Lynch, the one-time enfant terrible of Irish journalism now turned middle-aged establishment terrier, has taken to the pages of the Irish Independent newspaper to bewail the challenge offered by the resurgence of progressive republicanism at the ballot box to the decades-old political consensus of our nouveau Ascendancy. He makes a typically jaded attempt to link the rise of Sinn Féin … Continue reading

Demand For Scottish Medium Education Outstrips Supply

From Glasgow’s Evening Times newspaper: “Christine and Iain Agnew are keen to support Scotland’s language and so sent son Archie to a Gaelic nursery school in Anniesland. But the four-year-old has now been denied a place at Glasgow Gaelic School. Christine, 39, said: “My son has been going to a Gaelic nursery for the past … Continue reading

Fundamentalism Hates Fundamentalism

When religious fundamentalism combines with politics to create a cultural and societal norm that “the people” are expected to conform to it must also create enemies and victims in order to justify and propagate that norm, whether they are real or not. From the Huffington Post: “The First Minister of Northern Ireland Peter Robinson has said he would not trust … Continue reading

Some Basque Lessons

This article on the resilience of the indigenous language of the historic Basque nation in north-eastern Spain and neighbouring France is filled with the sort of optimism that one rarely hears in relation to the Irish language. From The Blue Review, a publication of Boise State University in the United States: “Steve Mendive is a history/government … Continue reading

Expediency Is No Substitute For Commitment

From a profile in today’s Irish Times on Lynn Boylan, formerly Lynn Ní Bhaoighealláin , the Sinn Féin candidate in BÁC for the European Parliament: “Who is Lynn Boylan/Ni Bhaoighealláin? She is the mystery woman who, in the short course of this European election campaign, has rocketed so far up the opinion polls that she seems … Continue reading

The Great Irish Paradox

From the Daily Beast: “Here in Odessa, the conflict has nothing to do with a linguistic divide. Everyone speaks Russian. As one pro-Maidan activist explained by analogy, “Irish terrorists speak English but fight for Ireland.”…” That they do. And that, a chairde, is the problem in more ways than one.

Ireland Spends More Money On Non-Irish Translations

In case you missed it (because you know the newspapers aren’t going to report this one), from RTÉ: “New figures show that Government departments spent more than €1m on translation costs last year. However, less than half of this was spent on translating documents into the Irish language. The figures show that the Department of … Continue reading

The Green Party And Irish Language Rights

I’ve been sent a Green Party / Comhaontas Glas press release in relation to its Irish language polices in the run-up to the European and local elections and it makes for some interesting reading. Will it overcome my well-known antipathy to the Greens following their disastrous coalition with Fianna Fáil and the erosion of national sovereignty … 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