Mustn’t Grumble



Peig Sayers in happier times

Further to recent neo-Gaelgoir revisionism.

A case for the ultimate Blasket case.

Author Sarah Baume writes:

It doesn’t matter to me that she didn’t place her own words down on paper, for this is only one element in the process of writing. Elegant prose it isn’t, but there are few authors with a more authentically Irish voice. Though much of what she described was unrelenting hardship, she was, by all accounts, pragmatic and cheerful in the face of it. Peig Sayers spoke for generations of poor, uneducated Irish women who never had the opportunity to speak for themselves….


In praise of Peig Sayers, by Sara Baume (IrishTimes)

Go raibh maith agat Ultach

15 thoughts on “Mustn’t Grumble

  1. Dubloony

    If you want to learn Irish, stay away from this book. There’s more to it than inherited misery.

    1. Ultach

      Probably best to learn Irish before attempting to read it in the original, but yes, it’s probably best to have other reasons to learn it before you start out. Sarah quotes from the English translation in her article which is worth a look (if you’re interested).

  2. Dick Byrne

    In one way or another, life was passing us by & we were suffering misery, sometimes having a potato and at other times having nothing in our mouths but sweet words of Gaelic. As far as the weather in itself was concerned, things were becoming worse.

      1. The Old Boy

        I believe so. Great fun. It was the first “proper” book I ever read in Irish.

      1. Eliot Rosewater

        It doesn’t matter whether she had a hard-on for misery or whether we have inherited it, or whether her writing was wonderful or dire, hers was an incredibly important story to be told. That life doesn’t exist anymore, and any understanding of the social history of that part of Ireland would be immeasurably poorer without her account. Yes, it was awful having to trudge through it in school (I would imagine, I missed that by a few years) and there is no way that such an account should have been drilled in to Irish school goers for so many years, but as a historical document, her story is priceless.

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