Political Irish | The Irish Politics & Current Affairs Website

Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

  • Before posting anything about the COVID-19 virus, please read this first Click Here

Seán Ó hÉinirí: Scéalta Chois Cladaigh - Last of the Monoglot Irish Speakers

Zosimus

PI Member
Joined
May 25, 2020
Messages
797
Likes
1,603
Thank you Zozimus, that's brilliant.

But I'm really after those verses in the OP video. Are they there in your link? I can't find them.

I'm really interested in how in the language and structure of these type of epic "Homeric" recitals there is this technique of composition, basically a vast storehouse of formulaic phrases ("swiftfooted Achilles"...) and even entire formulaic lines ("the Lord sends the food, the devil sends the cook"... etc.) to ensure the recall of the epic recital.

The way they're metrically correct and positionally predictable. Like the way a musician remembers and recalls a chord or a melodic line. It's all metric and versified speech, and there's melody too, as you can hear in Sean's voice in the OP. I am really interested in what I think I hear in that particular video.

The link you gave about memorising is great. But I remember when I was a young boy I met this ancient wrinkled woman while visiting relatives in Connemara, and she told me while walking along the road about how the "old places", like Newgrange and Knowth were actually for remembering old stories using the stars. Basically you map "topics" on stars and clusters of stars and when you want to remember you watch the unfolding of the constellations to get the sequence, there is a kind of cross-mapping of epic stories onto the stars, and that is how the remembering is done in the old way.

The other thing that fascinates me about Irish is the expression of the relation of things. How people and everything in the world relate to each other, and to spirit. I seem to discern a movement of spirit in the old way of speaking, and of course there is no word in Irish for "to have" and so on.

It seems to me that it is the English language that underlies all these materialistic relations we have these days, this idea of cash payment being the most important relation of human beings, the philosophy that it is always right to put labour, land and other natural resources on the open market where they can be bought and sold for payment etc.

Whereas what of reciprocity, exchange and redistribution, the sharing out of labour, the family and community unit etc? I think there is a much stronger philosophical basis for it in the Irish language, well as long as we don't turn it into something near English, which is what the current tendency seems to be, I'm sorry to see.

This is absolutely fasinating. It reminds me of the beginning of this extraordinary essay on Aogán Ó Rathaille by Michael Lillis:

As a schoolboy, nearly fifty years ago, I spent a magical month in Dún Chaoin in the portentously (if somewhat ungrammatically) named Teach a’ Phrinceiss. The Princess’s father had been Padraig O Catháin, the last King of the Great Blasket Island. His daughter Cáit, when I knew her in 1962, was an elderly widow living alone with her cat in a two-room house fifty yards from the local church. I was her only paying guest that summer. She quietly radiated kindness and (for a seventeen-year-old Dubliner) the enthralling dignity of her acknowledged princely status. She was a fund of lore, and not only about the Blaskets; she knew the folktales, poetry and song of all West Kerry. The locals revered her but feared her a little: she had the gentle clarity of penetration into the motivation of both young and old of a Miss Marple of Uíbh Rathach. She was believed to have supernatural powers; the sunlit morning I left her house to walk the mountain path, Mám Clasach, to catch a bus from Dingle to Dublin, she told me, with sadness but without a hint of ostentation, that she had sensed that a particular woman who lived on the other side of the peninsula had died unexpectedly during the night. I learned when I arrived in Ventry that she was right. When you were a schoolboy and when by chance you encountered a much older woman or man who glowed with that intelligence, geniality and authentic goodness, you half-consciously expected that life would, as you were only then beginning to explore its richness, throw up many similar people of great or even greater worth. In fact I never met anyone like her.​

The importance of what we've lost so quickly breaks my heart. Our nation had one task: to preserve, defend, cultivate and develop this culture, yet instead it turned treasonously against itself. Because that which belongs to the past belongs to the future too if it's still living cultural matricide is infanticide too. Róisín Dubh has life in her yet though. If not we are nothing.

mo chroi-se réabtha 'na mhíle céad cuid,​
Agus balsam féin nach bhfóireann mo phian,​
Nuair a chluinim an Ghaelig uilig dá tréigbheáil,​
Agus caismirt Bhéarla i mbeol gach aoin.​
 
Last edited:

Esto Praesidium

PI Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2016
Messages
2,791
Likes
4,039
Reading about the history of the state's Irish language policy has done more than anything else to make me feel that is illegitimate. Fine Gael has damaged my pride in my Old English ancestry, and also my esteem for the Normans as a race. In most places the Normans sent over only their lords and ladies but it seems here they sent over their gombeenish hick serfs too.
Collins, O'Higgins, O'Duffy, Cosgrave, Mulcahy and MacNeill were of Gaelic origin. It was the planter descendant Ernest Blythe that resigned from Fine Gael because of their language policy. The Anglo-Normans did become Gaelic speakers outside of Fingal and the Forth and Bargy, unlike in Lowland Scotland.
 
Last edited:

The Field Marshal

PI Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2018
Messages
12,079
Likes
9,769
Collins, O'Higgins, O'Duffy, Cosgrave, Mulcahy and MacNeill were of Gaelic origin. It was the planter descendant Ernest Blythe that resigned from Fine Gael because of their language policy. The Anglo-Normans did become Gaelic speakers outside of Fingal and the Forth and Bargy, unlike in Lowland Scotland.
It was the * pro British DeValera led Fianna Fáil govt of 1934 that made it a requirement to pass Irish in the Leaving Cert or else fail the whole thing

* Pro British in that DeValera knew full well that his efforts to destroy the Anglo Irish treaty would , if successful , result in the complete return of British rule to all of Ireland
 

Zosimus

PI Member
Joined
May 25, 2020
Messages
797
Likes
1,603
Collins, O'Higgins, O'Duffy, Cosgrave and MacNeill were of Gaelic origin. It was the planter descendant Ernest Blythe that resigned from Fine Gael because of their language policy. The Anglo-Normans did become Gaelic speakers outside of Fingal and the Forth and Bargy, unlike in Lowland Scotland.

You're right. Anglicised Gaels are the problem rather than Old English. Irish people of British or mixed heritage can appreciate the culture and civilisation of Britain with turning into fawning shoneens (Pearse never said anything disparaging of his English father's race) but Anglophone 'post-Gaels' are the great enemy of Gaelic culture. They hate it with all the bitterness of shame at having lost it. On one end of an Irish spectrum of temperament and manner you have the gracious and patient ladies and gentlemen of the Gaeltach and on the other end you have the venomous hate-filled barking pack of bitches and curs that infests Dublin. The further an Irishman drifts from Irish the more his heart is given up to bitterness and spite, and the further his intellect degrades into nothingness.

I would like to see a greater attention paid to both Old Irish and Old English culture (in the case of the latter I mean the Kildare Poems, the medieval parliament, the Earls of Kildare, William Nugent, Richards Stanihurst & Bellings, John Lynch and others - including Edmund Burke, who was actually Old English rather than 'Anglo-Irish'). I value New English (i.e. Cromwellian) culture for its achievements but think it is a tall oak blocking out the sun and thwarting the recovery of Irish cultures which were given less opportunity to develop towards the fulfilment of their native potential, and think a period of under-emphasis would be salutary.
 

An Dlí Dearmadta

PI Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2019
Messages
262
Likes
343
This is true, but is this a helpful and worthwhile post? I'll never understand why Dublin people speak only in order to denigrate and castigate and complain. Almost all of your posts are typical Dublinish fare: "stupid nonsense", "you talk a lot of nonsense", "that's stupid". Why are Dublin people like this? Why are Dublin people so utterly lacking in the charm and good manners for which the Irish are rightly or wrongly renowned?

This is a city of contemptuous scowls and cold hateful eyes. People in the south have a warm sense of superiority which facilitates gentlemanly politeness. People in Dublin seem to regard all other human beings with a bleak and hateful contempt, and think the unsparing expression of this contempt is plain, unvarnished "salt of the earth" Dublin charm. Having no manners is no substitute for manners.

This city to me is like a cold Calcutta. A pit of the bleakest misery, full of bleak and cruel people. The very stone of Dublin seems made of grey winter sky.
You should really move out of Dublin Zosimus..it doesn't seem to be your spiritual home
 
Top Bottom