Tag Archives: Irish Language

Irish language spoken here

Síomha Ní Ruairc writes:

Bliain na Gaeilge and Festival Republic are delighted to announce that they will be collaborating on some special feature events at Electric Picnic 2018 in Stradbally, Co. Laois, 31st August – 2nd September.

As part of this collaboration, there will be an official Gaeltacht camping area founded on the festival grounds.

There will be space provided for two hundred people in this designated camping area, in which Irish will be the common language of the residents.

Tickets for Electric Picnic 2018 are sold out, but those who have already purchased tickets will be able to stay in this new designated Irish language camping space.

Because of limited spaces, campers will have to register to stay in ‘An Ghaeltacht’ beforehand, at electricpicnic.ie.  Applications will open for ticketholders at 10am. tomorrow,  Tuesday July 24.

Electric Picnic 2018

The breakdown of respondents who said they could speak Irish in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland censuses of 2011

Colm Ó Broin, who last week compiled a rich example of prejudice in the national press about the Irish language, writes:

There are people in every society who are hostile to groups that are different to them. We are all familiar with prejudice against people of a different gender, sexuality, skin colour, nationality, ethnic background or religion.

But what about people who speak a different language? Usually bias against a language is classed as racism – for example, immigrants being verbally abused for speaking their native languages or chauvinists repressing the languages of minorities like Kurdish in Turkey.

We have our own version of this chauvinism here in Ireland – the hostility of British loyalists to the Irish language. One of the earliest examples are the Statutes of Kilkenny, which outlawed the speaking of Irish among the descendants of settlers from Britain.

These laws were enacted in 1366 but given the political nature of this hostility it’s more than likely it goes all the way back to 1169. The fear behind it was the belief that people would be less loyal to the English Crown if they spoke Irish – a fear still heard today in hysterical claims that the United Kingdom will be “undermined” if speakers of Irish Gaelic are given the same rights as speakers of Scottish Gaelic.

Which brings us to Gaeilgephobia – the irrational fear or hatred of the Irish language and those who speak it. You’ve probably never heard the term before and the concept has received little or no recognition in English-speaking Ireland, despite it being one of our oldest recorded prejudices.

While we can see the open hostility of Unionist politicians to the Irish language in Northern Ireland, many would find it hard to believe that there is prejudice against Irish speakers in the Republic of Ireland as well. Any negativity surrounding the language south of the border is supposedly related to government efforts to promote it, and not the language itself.

If you read the articles that the quotes used in my post are taken from you will indeed see legitimate arguments against official policies on the language – but scattered among them you will also see something entirely different – prejudiced attacks on the Irish language and Irish speakers.

One thing that’s striking is the GUBU nature of these statements, which would be worthy material for a Louis Theroux documentary.

In the bizarre corner we have the claim that no Irish word has been created in the past 100 years and the argument that Irish is comical in some way because it has taken words from other languages, something that practically every language on the planet does, none more so than English itself.

Then we have the comparison of Irish speakers with Nazis, skinheads, Communists and Islamic fundamentalists.

Among the worst is the comparison of a school in Dingle with the Finsbury Park Mosque, an establishment frequented by Islamist terrorists linked to Al Qaeda. The great crime committed by this school was to teach through the medium of Irish – in what is officially an Irish-speaking area.

Then there is the association of Irish speakers with IRA terrorism, “mucksavagery” and last but not least, the sexual abuse of children. If linking an entire community to the sexual abuse of children isn’t prejudice then ‘prejudice’ has no meaning.

Like other phobias Gaeligephobia has its own set of mantras that are repeated ad nauseum regardless of evidence, many of which are seen in the quotes.

One of the most common is the false claim that Irish is a “dead language”. The commentators who say this are fully aware that there are Irish-speaking communities in Ireland as well as thousands of fluent speakers in the rest of the country, so this is simply a crude attempt to insult Irish speakers.

After all, if Irish is a “dead language”, and you speak Irish, that means there is something “dead” about you and your community.

The most blatant example of Gaeilgephobia is the ludicrous claim that Irish language schools are “middle class”. The basis for this seems to be that because there are Gaelscoileanna in middle class areas in Dublin then all Gaelscoileanna must be middle class, which is like saying that only middle class people shop in Dunnes Stores because there is a Dunnes Stores in Stillorgan.

Opponents of Irish language education don’t have to send their children to Gaelscoileanna and are not affected in any way if other people make this choice. However, they still go out of their way to attack parents who choose Irish-medium education for their children.

But as they don’t have a rational reason for this opposition they have to resort to bogus pretexts. This is the most revealing attack on Irish as it relies on false claims, which is a sign of pure bias against the language.

Claims that the Irish language is somehow “middle class” are also very amusing for Irish speakers as for centuries we have been told that Irish was a “badge of poverty”.

This Orwellian doublethink will be familiar to other groups subjected to prejudice, like the immigrant who can scrounge on the dole while stealing your job at the same time.

Similarly, if a poor person speaks Irish it becomes a “peasant language”, but if a rich person speaks it it’s an “elitist language”. The object here is not to establish facts but to negatively stereotype the minority group using any means necessary.

Attacks on the Irish language began hundreds of years ago and the quotes highlighted last week show that they continue to this day.

Whatever the reason for this bizarre prejudice it’s time we consign it to the rubbish bin of history, where it belongs.

Colm Ó Broin is an Irish speaker from Clondalkin, Dublin and a member of Conradh na Gaeilge. Follow Colm on Twitter here.

Previously: I’ve Nothing Against Irish Speakers, But…

Pic: Wikipedia

From the illustrated Ulysess by James Joyce

Colm Ó Broin writes:

If you don’t believe there’s prejudice in Ireland against the Irish language and Irish speakers consider that people working in the national media have…

1 Denied the existence of the Irish language

“You see, the truth is there IS no Irish language. There was a bunch of dialects Dineen tried to turn into a language as a nationalist plot.”

Sarah Carey, 02/10/2017

2 Described the Irish language as gobbledygook

“The bilingual street signs in Dublin are just a bit of English and a bit of gobbledygook to most people.”

Malachi O’Doherty, Belfast Telegraph, 17/11/2015

3 Stated that English is superior to Irish

“I’m being excoriated [what’s the Irish word for excoriated?] for saying that English is a superior language to Irish. Which was tactless [what’s the Irish for tactless?] and a digression anyway. [Irish for digression?] But it is actually true. Try going round the world on Irish.”

Malachi O’Doherty, 21/02/2018

4 Described the name Mac Gearailt as an “absurd Gaelic confection”

“Garret FitzGerald is clearly Anglo-Norman, no matter the absurd Gaelic confection that he occasionally translates his name into.”

Kevin Myers, Irish Independent, 15/04/2011

5 Described an Irish language song as gibberish

“Somehow chanting pretentious gibberish is now considered to be cutting edge but it’s not and it never will be.”

Ian O’Doherty, Irish Independent, 03/10/2015

 6 Associated the Irish language with rich people

“Even now there is a class bias within the Irish language. At many Irish language primary schools in Dublin the favoured form of transport is an expensive SUV”

Anne-Marie Hourihan, The Times, 15/02/2018

7 Associated the Irish language with poor people

“I had a real visceral dislike for Irish back then…It was the language of poverty and submission”.

Ian O’Doherty, Pat Kenny Show, Newstalk, 14/06/2016

8 Used English words taken from other languages to criticise Irish words taken from other languages

“I am hurt by the reduction of Irish, the oldest spoken literary language in Europe, to phonetic translations from the relative newcomer, English. Who gains from the translation of ‘buggy store’ into ‘stóras bugaithe’? Anyone who wants to make fun of the Irish language, that’s who.”

Victoria White, Irish Examiner, 2015

9 Falsely claimed that no new Irish words have been created in 100 years

“When there is no intrinsic word or phrase in a language for anything new to the world in the past hundred years or so, that language is not alive.”

Emer O’Kelly, Sunday Independent 05/11/2006

10 Falsely claimed that the Irish language is dead

“So even though the language is dead – Erse is a hearse is how I have heard it described”

Kevin Myers, Irish Independent, 26/01/2007

11 Falsely claimed that Irish language schools are exclusively middle class

“Gaelscoils don’t exist most parts of the country. And where they do, their appeal seems to have little to do with Irish language. More to do with exclusively middle class (non working class, non immigrant) environment.”

Eoin Butler, 08/10/2016

12 Compared Irish language schools to the racist apartheid system

“While I appreciate the language, I abhor the educational apartheid that goes along with it.”

Kate Holmquist, Irish Times, 09/12/2008

13 Suggested Irish language schools “weed out” children with special needs

“The department’s own audit showed few children with special needs in Irish-speaking schools – so are Irish-language schools weeding these children out?”

Kate Holmquist, Irish Times, 09/12/2008

14 Described Irish language schools as “nationalistic Irish language nonsense”

“I’d create inclusivity by abolishing exclusivity. No religion, no private schools and none of this nationalistic Irish language nonsense, which, as far as I’m concerned, is the ultimate barrier in the Irish education system”.

Sarah Carey, Irish Independent, 22/01/2017

15 Associated Irish language schools with snobbery and racism

“The snobs (Na Snobi) are those who reckon that sending their kids to a gaelscoil is the only politically correct way to keep their kids away from the lower classes. (They are not wrong.)…Of course, sending your kids to a school where the parents must speak Irish could be seen by some as a form of racial segregation. Na Snobi are at pains to point out they are not racists.”

Pat Fitzpatrick, Sunday Independent, 02/06/2014

16 Described the growth of Irish language schools in South Dublin as “sinister”

“Apart from its straightforward careerist aspects, among the things we did not hear about the gaeilge during Seachtain na Gaeilge was the sinister development whereby the ruling class are sending their children to the Gaelscoileanna in unprecedented numbers — south Dublin, the land of Ross O’Carroll-Kelly, is full of them.”

Declan Lynch, Sunday Independent, 13/03/2011

17 Associated teachers in Irish language schools with Sinn Féin

“In recent weeks Sinn Fein fielded candidates who came across like gaelscoil teachers, while in Belfast a senior republican was declaring that they still had access to their own army.”

Declan Lynch, Sunday Independent, 01/06/2014

18 Associated Irish speakers with IRA terrorism

“if you think there’s been some gross hypocrisy over the language thus far, just watch how dirty it gets when the Gaelgoiri and the ‘cultural republicans’ of post-terrorist Sinn Fein face the prospect of losing their precious shibboleth.”

Kevin Myers, Irish Independent, 23/02/2011


19 Compared Irish language activists to the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban movement

“The guardians of ‘language rights’ as prescribed in the Official Languages Act have gone at the language like the Taliban went at Islam and left nothing except lumpen duty and legal threat.”

Victoria White, Irish Examiner, 24/09/2015

20 Compared Irish speakers to Communists

“But don’t hold your breath waiting for a quarter of a million language-Stakhonovites marching into the 2033 sunset, Gaelic spanners in hand, chanting Erse verse.”

Kevin Myers, Irish Independent, 15/03/2013

21 Compared Irish language activists to Neo-Nazis

“I’ve been writing about the futility of the state’s language-restoration programme almost my entire professional life, and the outcome has been threefold. One, vilification by brainless Gaeilgeoir skinheads, yawn. Two, the language is deader than ever. And three, the state money spent promoting this doomed language remorselessly rises.”

Kevin Myers, The Times, 06/09/2015

22 Compared Irish language summer colleges with concentration camps

“It’s that time of year again, when schools try to tempt youngsters into signing up for a few weeks in one of the Gaeltacht’s vast network of concentration camps…sorry, summer camps.”

Eilis O’Hanlon, Sunday Independent, 09/05/2010

23 Compared the Irish language to the Islamic hijab head covering

“A cúpla bliain ó thinn I wrote that the Irish language was our equivalent of the hijab, the headscarf worn by orthodox Muslim women as a badge of identity and compliance, a figleaf to cover a web of unacknowledged weaknesses.”

Anne-Marie Hourihane, Irish Times, 05/03/2012

24 Compared the Irish language to bird that became extinct 350 years ago

“We pretend that Irish is our national language and lavish hundreds of millions a year on trying to revive what is a linguistic dodo.”

Irish Examiner Editorial, 11/05/2012

25 Compared an Irish-speaking football team to fundamentalists and Nazis

“He said, look guys would you go and speak English, because everybody we do know, on this island does speak English. Not everybody on this island speaks Irish…this is fundamentalism. You vill learn the Irish and you will do it right, ja?!”

Paul Williams, Newstalk Breakfast, 21/09/2016

26 Wrote that “the Gael” is dishonest

“The one true function of the Irish language today is that it demonstrates the vastness of the dishonesty of the Gael, and the piety that is his calling card.”

Declan Lynch, Sunday Independent, 08/04/2012

27 Associated the Irish language with “mucksavagery”

“The Irish language’s unpopularity is rooted in the kind of mucksavagery with which it is surrounded. It has become the international language of cute hoorism, the babbling soundtrack to a world of strokes, chips on the shoulder and fast ones.”

Diarmuid Doyle, Sunday Tribune, 19/12/2004

28 Compared an Irish language school in the Gaeltacht with a mosque in London frequented by Islamist terrorists

“The school has set itself up as a kind of Finsbury Park Mosque by the sea.”

Irish Examiner Editorial, 17/10/2007

29 Associated Irish speakers with the sexual abuse of children

“The vast majority of us cannot hear that language being spoken, in any context, without also hearing some distant echo of physical and sexual and psychological abuse”

Declan Lynch, Sunday Independent, 23/08/2009

…Or to summarise, I’ve nothing against Irish speakers – they’re just inferior, extinct, dead, poor, rich, snobby, dishonest, fundamentalist, savage, sinister, racist, terrorist, Sinn Féin-IRA, Commie, Nazi child sex abusers.

Colm Ó Broin is an Irish speaker from Clondalkin, Dublin and a member of Conradh na Gaeilge. Follow Colm on Twitter here.

How’s your Irish?

Want to spend a cupla days and nights immersed in your native tongue?

Dúisigh do Dhúchas (Awaken your Heritage) is a project to help Irish people recover their roots.

Their first Wild Irish Retreat will take place this September on the Great Blasket Island in County Kerr hosted by Diarmuid Lyng, Siobhán de Paor and Cearbhuil Ni Fhionnghusa.

Diarmuid writes:

This is Irish language immersion but with a contemporary bent, with workshops in poetry, singing circles, wild food foraging and preparation, hurling, yoga, meditation and a purpose-built sweatlodge.

Lessons will be informal and the emphasis will be on learning naturally through experiencing the language.

Food will be organic and locally sourced where possible and accommodation will be simple, comfortable and off the electric grid.

This is an opportunity to live like a former islander for three days, learn skills to live closer to nature, explore your creativity through the Irish language and awaken your body to its natural environment…

Dúisigh do Dhúchas – Wild irish Retreat

Easy, you say?

Gerry McBride‏ writes:

So listen, I want to tell you about this taxi driver I met yesterday morning.

We got chatting about writing and the like, and he told me that he’d written a book.

It’s aimed at young people, or indeed anyone who wants to be able to speak a bit of Irish, and is called ‘The Easy Way To Speak Irish‘.

He gave me a copy, and it’s a charming little book which teaches Irish pronunciations phonetically rather than drilling you like school.

You can order a copy if you know someone who could use a hand with Irish. If you have kids who are struggling with Irish at school, it could be a huge help to them.

The Easy Way To Speak Irish

Irish-made stuff to broadsheet@broadsheet.ie marked ‘Irish-made stuff’. No fee.


According to the Census 2016 results published today…

There was a fall of under 1% in the numbers of speakers of Irish (from 1,774,347 to 1,761,420).

A fall of 4% in the number of daily speakers of Irish outside of the education system (from 77,185 to 73,803).

And and a fall of 11% in the number of daily speakers of Irish in the Gaeltacht (from 23,175 to 20,586).

So. What gives?

Niall Comer, President of Conradh na Gaeilge writes:

It is clear that the implementation of the Government’s 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language is not succeeding and that the main reason for this failure is the Irish Government’s lack of investment in the Strategy since 2010. The result of this lack of investment is a crisis in the Gaeltacht.

Conradh na Gaeilge is asking the Government to face up to the challenge reflected in the census figures by funding the investment plan agreed by 80 Irish language and Gaeltacht groups.

A majority of Teachtaí Dála are in favour of this investment already. This plan would increase the number of Irish speakers and would give the Strategy a chance of success.


Census 2016: Population increases to 4.76m (RTÉ)

Conradh na Gaeilge


This morning.

Smithfield, Dublin 7

Emma Ní Cheallacháin at the Mythbusting launch to mark the end of Seachtain na Gaeilge le Energia.


Via Conradh na Gaeilge:

There are many myths surrounding the Irish language, some of which are centuries old, others which have only come to the fore in recent years, including the idea that Irish is somehow a “dead language” or that Gaelscoileanna are elitist.

Today, Conradh na Gaeilge is launching Mythbusting, an awareness campaign to challenge misinformation about the Irish language with a series of videos and nationwide talks with Colm Ó Broin. All details can be found here www.cnag.ie/mythbusting

Translation: Tá go leor miotas a bhaineann leis an nGaeilge, roinnt acu atá ar an bhfód leis na céadta bliain agus cinn eile ar cumadh iad as an nua le déanaí, an tuairim gur ‘teanga mharbh” í an Ghaeilge ina measc. Tá Conradh na Gaeilge ag obair le Colm Ó Broin chun na ‘fíricí ailtéirneacha’ is coitianta faoin teanga a bhréagnú le sraith d’fhíseáin i mBéarla agus de chainteanna ar fud na tíre. Tá gach eolas ar anseo.
Tá Emma Ní Cheallacháin ó Shligeach le feiceáil ag seoladh an fheachtais Mythbusting i Margadh na Feirme, Baile Átha Cliath inniu (Déardaoin, 16 Márta 2017) chun Seachtain na Gaeilge le Energia a thabhairt chun críche.


Mythbusting (Conradh na Gaeilge)

Pic: Conor McCabe


They’re taking pingin out of their póca.

Síne Nic an Ailí , of Irish language lobby group  Conradh na Gaeilge writes:

Following feedback from the Irish-language and the Gaeltacht community since the announcement of Budget 2017 yesterday it is clear that the Government has let the Irish-language and the Gaeltacht community down badly in the budget for next year.

The Government is refusing to fund even the first stage of an investment plan agreed by 80 Irish-language and Gaeltacht groups that would create 1,175+ jobs and many opportunities for the public to use Irish. The proposal had been made that the funding of this plan could be done by reversing some of the cuts made since 2008 to Irish-language and Gaeltacht authorities.

The Foras na Gaeilge budget and the capital investment fund of Údarás na Gaeltachta, the body charged with creating employment in Gaeltacht areas, have in total been reduced by over 50% since 2008. There was €0 of new extra funding announced by the Government for these vitally important budgets in 2017.

This will mean that Foras na Gaeilge will have to continue with its cut backs of community projects, and the Údarás will not be able to create any new additional jobs in the Gaeltacht in 2017; the 2017 budget document states that an employment base of 7,000 jobs in the Gaeltacht will be maintained.


Conradh Na Gaeilge