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A New Look For An Sionnach Fionn

An Idirlíon
An Idirlíon
An Idirlíon

You may have noticed a few changes in the layout of An Sionnach Fionn today though hopefully they are not too dramatic. Why the changes? Simply a case of trying to meet reader demands. Since the start of the year the number of visitors to ASF has shot up with around 30% of those coming from outside of Ireland (and at least 50% of those having English as a second language). This has made it increasingly difficult to continue with the existing off-the-shelf WordPress “theme” I was using as the basis of the website. Frequent complaints communicated to me focused on load times, unresponsiveness, issues with language plugins for Chrome and Firefox browsers, cluttered layouts or options, etc.

While I ponder whether to move to a self-hosted website for ASF with a personalised design I have selected one of the cleaner pre-packaged WP themes and purchased an upgrade to allow me to rewrite the Cascading Style Sheets or CSS information that dictates how the website should look and respond (for those who are interested the WP theme is “Structure” by Organic Themes and I’ve changed the font styles and sizes, link attributes, the frontpage layout and a few other things initially using a private blog for testing). The cost of this and re-registering the ASF domain is €46.00 for the next twelve months which is admittedly expensive as such things go. Unfortunately the website has lost some of its bilingual settings which I will look to fix in the coming weeks. While the upgrade to editable CSS is good it is still limited by what WordPress will allow (and by my own unfamiliarity with CSS since I am more knowledgeable with HTML). So apologies for any issues you may encounter while I improve things. That includes updating my Media Library to more generic pictures since the “Structure” theme uses thumbnail images on the front page which are needlessly restricted by set sizes (annoying!).

Any comments or suggestions are welcome.

7 comments on “A New Look For An Sionnach Fionn

  1. I hope you figure out how to get the bilingual blog headings back! I’ve loved that about your blog. Incidentally your site is now much easier to load and firefox hasn’t decided to freeze just because I tried to load the page or write a comment. Thanks for that. 🙂


  2. an lorcánach

    very sharp, sionnach, nicely done — used to have loading problems with the smartphone browser, even after turning off the images and it’s ironed out: one quibble is the cropping of box-replies where it branches with each subsequent comment but that’s wordpress — really would be fantastic if maybe one of Vincent Morley’s electronic typefaces could be available to users as alternative font in writing irish language text — a campaign to bring back the buailte, i say! — beir bua, @


  3. Nice clean o/p. You might want to experiment with a simple serif font though, they are usually considered easier on the eye (and brain) for continuous text. Presumably something with sufficient x-height …


    • I changed the style-sheet to Verdana, “Arial”, Helvetica, sans-serif for reasons of legibility however I will certainly look at it again. Trying to do all this in and around the (ever more exhausting) day job 😉

      Any more suggestions are welcome.


  4. ar an sliabh

    I am a fan, will probably be hanging around here for quite some time. I loved the design of the old site. I am a “conservative” Republican though, and hence generally like good things to stay they way they are. I could easily deal with the longer wait times to see the sionnach and the other art work. Of course, I also miss the site being in “my language” as much as anyone else here does too. It’ll take some time, but it will be exciting to see how things turn out. It is more important to get the word out, and anything supporting more readership is definitely worth the sacrifice of some decor. Rational, grounded, objective writing is so hard to find these days. Also, I’d like to read some Fingal Irish – just every once in a while : ) – Go raibh maith agat do gach rud.


    • Thanks for the Comment. I liked the old site too, bar a few tweaks, however too many people found it awkward to load, navigate and comment upon. The WordPress blog themes (off-the-shelf websites) don’t really lend themselves to bilingual set-ups. It confused the hell out of browsers (especially Chrome and Firefox for some reason), was largely absent on mobile phones, and was search-engine adverse. Tried for two years to get around it with various fixes but nothing really worked. Even going for an entirely Irish language theme didn’t work and some browser issues were just as bad. Simply didn’t have the time to address everything technical. I should apologise for that.

      I will try and get some things back though. I miss my Ogham and logo (though both slowed loading).

      I’ve already noticed a pick-up in my stats over the last 48 hours and Google/Bing seems happier to link to the site.

      To go all-Irish in a manner that would be genuinely web-friendly I suspect I would have to pay for a professional design/hosting with separate Irish/English pages (a “” and “”). Expensive.

      My written Irish is so poor I’m afraid the message would be lost. A certain degree of fluency with English is what gives ASF what little credibility it has 😉

      I’m always looking for contributors so if you are anyone you know fancies a go, in any language, let me know.


  5. ar an sliabh

    I love reading, but I am not much of a writer in any language, I am afraid.

    Thanks again for taking the time for your site.


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