Hating The Gaelic

Following a brief period of relative quiet the haters of Scottish Gaelic are back in full-swing, attacking new education legislation in Scotland which includes provisions to allow Gaelic-speaking parents to request Gaelic-medium schooling for their Gaelic-speaking children. The horror! From the Deadline News Agency, a press organisation with a certain reputation when it comes to reporting on Scotland’s indigenous tongue:… Read More Hating The Gaelic

The Latest Fake Controversy Over Scottish Gaelic In Scotland

So, another day, another staged controversy drummed up by anglophone supremacists (for which one can read in this case, British nationalists) attacking equal use and prominence for the Scottish Gaelic language alongside English in Scotland. Following on from Monday’s intensely partisan attack on Scottish-speakers by the financial journalist, Merryn Somerset Webb, there is more of the same from various right-wing and… Read More The Latest Fake Controversy Over Scottish Gaelic In Scotland

Mebyon Kernow Wants 2016 To Be Cornwall’s Year

Mebyon Kernow, the Party for Cornwall, has outlined its objectives to make 2016 the year of “…Cornish recognition”. This follows the UK’s long overdue designation of the Cornish people as a national minority in Britain under the Council of Europe’s “Framework Convention on National Minorities”. Announced back in 2014 by the then chief secretary to the treasury, Danny Alexander, relatively little has been done to… Read More Mebyon Kernow Wants 2016 To Be Cornwall’s Year

Britnat Nastiness Is Mainstream In The UK Press

Merryn Somerset Webb is a relatively well-known business journalist and editor in the UK who writes on a wide range of financial matters for the British press. So it was somewhat surprising to see her recent article in “MoneyWeek”, a conservative-leaning investment magazine, examining the burgeoning status of the Scottish Gaelic language in Scotland. Even more so when her piece is couched in a surprisingly vitriolic manner towards her… Read More Britnat Nastiness Is Mainstream In The UK Press

Majority Of Irish DNA May Have Originated In The Middle East And Eastern Europe

I’m sure some of you may have seen the recent flurry of articles in the national and international press highlighting the publication of a new genetics’ study, “Neolithic and Bronze Age migration to Ireland and establishment of the insular Atlantic genome“, by academics from Trinity College Dublin and Queen’s University Belfast. The examination of the DNA profiles of four… Read More Majority Of Irish DNA May Have Originated In The Middle East And Eastern Europe

The Neo-Celtic Architectural Revival That Wasn’t

Most observers agree that the applicability of the term “Celtic architecture” is largely a matter of perception since no such tradition of building design has survived into the modern or pre-modern eras, or at least none that can be labelled as authentically Celtic in origin. Indeed what defines a particular construction and artistic style as “Celtic” is itself debatable in light… Read More The Neo-Celtic Architectural Revival That Wasn’t

English Only, In Beirut’s American Restaurant

In relation to my recent posts on the discrimination faced by Irish- and Welsh-speakers in their respective nations, where intolerance of the indigenous Celtic languages has been embraced by historically Celtic, though now thoroughly colonised, English-speaking peoples, there is this story from the Lebanon. Even globally significant languages can be challenged in their home territories by a type of commercially-driven linguistic chauvinism that… Read More English Only, In Beirut’s American Restaurant

The Celtic Language Insurgents

Predictably enough, following the successful intimidation of a small community council in the majority Welsh-speaking village of Cynwyd by English language lobbyists, we learn that elsewhere in Wales the country’s native tongue is being rejected by a number of local government bodies on the spurious grounds that it is somehow alien to their regions. From the news and current… Read More The Celtic Language Insurgents

Drowning Welsh-Speakers In The English Language

A few days ago I highlighted a story from Wales where an anglophone lobbyist in the village of Cynwyd, a majority Welsh-speaking area in the north-eastern county of Denbighshire, had secured legal backing in her campaign to force the local community council into adopting a policy of full bilingualism, supposedly to meet the demands of the village’s minority English-speaking residents. Despite the fact… Read More Drowning Welsh-Speakers In The English Language

In Wales, They Speak Welsh, So Get Over It!

The small village of Cynwyd in the narrow, oblong county of Denbighshire, in the north-east of Wales, has a population of less than 600 men, women and children, most of whom rely on local farming or light industry for their livelihoods. While the region was formerly noted for its thriving Welsh-speaking communities today just over 20% of the county’s inhabitants are fluent-speakers, though in Cynwyd itself and the surrounding area these are in a… Read More In Wales, They Speak Welsh, So Get Over It!

Celtic-Speaking Communities Of Britain Denied Funding

While most eyes and ears were focused on the headline-grabbing announcements in the November budgetary review by the UK’s aristocratic finance minister, George Osborne, more seasoned observers were analysing the lesser discussed passages in the chancellor’s financial plans for 2016. Thanks to the diligence of Plaid Cyrmu and other interested parties it quickly emerged that the hereditary indifference or antipathy amongst Britain’s metropolitan elites… Read More Celtic-Speaking Communities Of Britain Denied Funding

Anglophone Segregationists In Wales, Hipster Denigrationists In Ireland

I suppose it was inevitable that an Anglophone supremacist somewhere in Ireland or Britain would pop up to denigrate that which most readily identifies the modern Celtic peoples – their language – during one of the more important holidays in the indigenous calenders of the Gaelic and Brittonic nations. On this occasion it is the Welsh-speaking men, women and children of… Read More Anglophone Segregationists In Wales, Hipster Denigrationists In Ireland

The Origins Of The Halloween Jack-O’-Lantern

There are many customs surrounding the annual October holiday of Halloween or All Hallows’ Eve, the quasi-Christian festival incorporating significant elements of the traditional Irish and Celtic celebration of Samhain or Feis Shamhna, the mythologically-important date marking the transition between the winter and summer halves of the year in the Gaelic calendar. One of the… Read More The Origins Of The Halloween Jack-O’-Lantern

The Irish Driver Theory Test – In Gaelic?

A couple of days ago I was helping my sister complete her online application form for the driver theory test when we encountered a drop-down menu that offered several different language options, including one for “Gaelic“. I was surprised to see this term substituted for the word “Irish” (or “Gaeilge“) on a website serving users in Ireland. While Irish is a Gaelic language, one of the… Read More The Irish Driver Theory Test – In Gaelic?

Restorative Justice For The Celtic Peoples

Returning to the issue of righting old wrongs, what might be described as restorative justice for dispossessed cultures, Paula Young Lee makes these observations on the decision by Barack Obama to officially recognise the name of the highest peak on the North American continent, Denali: “For decades, the Alaska Federation of Natives has been pushing to restore… Read More Restorative Justice For The Celtic Peoples

58% Support Welsh Teaching For Children In English-Speaking Schools

ITV News in the UK has a headline-grabbing story on its website: “Exclusive poll: 64% oppose compulsory Welsh to age 16”. The article goes on to state that: “…nearly two-thirds of people oppose the current situation where it is compulsory for schoolchildren to learn Welsh [as a] second language up until the age of 16.… Read More 58% Support Welsh Teaching For Children In English-Speaking Schools

Putting The Éire In Ireland

For the last four or five years of An Sionnach Fionn I have been promoting the potential benefits of “language tourism” for Ireland’s economy. The indigenous culture of this island nation represents a largely untapped source of prosperity for the national economy, and not just the education sector or the Gaeltachtaí. As I stated in the second month of ASF’s existence, way back… Read More Putting The Éire In Ireland

Síle Na gCrann

Remarkable the things one can find in nature when one is out an’ about. However, can anyone else see it? An organic Síle na gCrann? Or should that be Síle an Chrainn? Quite possibly it is just my artistic eye tracing patterns that are not there. In any case, more on the familiar man-made Síle na gCíoch here, not to… Read More Síle Na gCrann

Celtic Cosmology, Perspectives from Ireland and Scotland

Over the last two decades relatively few studies have been published analysing the cosmological traditions of the Celtic-speaking peoples, at least by academic authors. There was a lot of interest in such matters in the 1980s and early ‘90s, coupled with tentative suggestions about the composition of native Irish or Welsh beliefs in the composition of the… Read More Celtic Cosmology, Perspectives from Ireland and Scotland