Friday, October 9, 2009



This blog is very indebted to a wee man called Beausang. He was a Christian Brother and a champion of the Irish language. He was my ticket to the Gaeltacht in Donegal when I was a young student. A summer vacation with a bunch of other gaelgeoiri in DerryBeg was my first introduction to that wonderful county and to the magic world of an Irish speaking community. We went to Eoin Ellen Boyle’s house, eight or nine young Belfast boys bunked up in two back bedrooms. The small allowance given to the host families provided some economic subsidy for them in what were very lean times. Summer in the Gaeltacht was brilliant. Why do I tell you all this?

Well Brother Beau died some time ago and among his belongings and books and other bits and pieces was the certificate he gave when I passed my exam for a silver fáinne. A fáinne is a small lapel pin which some Irish speakers wear to let other speakers know that they are gaelgeoiri. The silver one is for those who are fairly proficient in the language. The gold one is for those who are more proficient. I was delighted to get the certificate. Here it is with my thanks to Brother Beau. And to the kind person who sent it to me.

By the way I had a lovely Friday morning in the Whiterock Library with youngsters from Naiscoil an Sleibhe Dhuibh as part of Book Start Day. This very fine charity was set up to introduce children to books and to encourage them and their parents to join and use our libraries. When I was asked to attend the event I asked if it could be bilingual and the organisers readily agreed so we all had a good time reciting and singing Irish Nursery rhymes and listening to some very fine stories.

Well done to Bookstart, to the staff at the Whiterock Library and to our friends at Sleibhe Dhuibh.

And finally,

If you are in Belfast on Sunday 11th October there is a big Irish Language Day at St George’s Market. It starts at 1.00pm and the official opening will be by Alun Ffred Jones, the Welsh Heritage Minister. The event is organised by Pobal and will include:

Workshops on dance, arts, historical tours: The Irish language and St George’s Market, An Snáthaid Mhór, Éamonn Maguire, Tura Arutura,

Music – Cór Loch Lao, Coláiste Feirste and the musical grease, Bunscoil Phobail Feirste Choir,

High flying circus spectacle with the Belfast Circus,

Dance – The fabulous Celtic Storm,

Ceilí with Máire Ua Bruadair and John McGurren Céilí Band,

Origami, Na Bopóga, Henna hand painting, Face painting, Exhibitions, Food, Information stalls, plus surprises and lots more.


charlie beag said...

Speaking irish is great but only if spoken properly as they do in Gweedore, proper Ulster gaelic that flows and is smoothly spoken. but there seems to be a trend to speak it like a robot and write it in english letters, to make it easy, to change it from what it is...

Ainle said...

Charlie a chara,
Perhaps you are familiar with the saying 'is fearr Gaeilge bhriste na Béarla cliste'.

Paul Doran said...


Based on your article in An Phoblacht this week I wrote a letter to them today.and received the following

A chara.

I am greatly annoyed that you have failed to publish the article by Gerry Adams which appeared in An Phoblacht this week. When you would publish comments from the likes of Gareth Fitzgerald.

Is Mise

Hi Paul,

Thanks for your message. Everything which An
Phoblacht said about the Irish News was untrue.
We approached Gerry Adams over a seven-week
period in advance of our hunger strike coverage,
asking him for either an interview or an opinion
article, but he was unavailable. After the
coverage appeared, we approached him again to see
if he could comment on the issues arising. At no
stage did Sinn Fein seek a right of reply, as An
Phoblacht claimed. The article which we had
requested eventually arrived, and we immediately
agreed to publish it. As it was much longer than
expected, and would require a response from the
paper, we told the party in writing that it would
appear within a matter of days. The party then
changed its mind, withdrew the original article
from Mr Adams and said it would submit a revised version shortly.

An Phoblacht made no attempt to check any of this
with the Irish News, and instead proceeded with
its false allegations against our paper. We have
since received a series of private apologies from
Sinn Fein representatives, and we are expecting
an on-the-record statement from the party
shortly. We have also, today, finally received
the revised opinion article from Mr Adams, which
we intend to publish tomorrow. We further expect
that An Phoblacht will issue an apology to the Irish News in its next edition.

Noel Doran,

Timothy Dougherty said...

Was just reading about Writs to be issued seeking damages payouts from Adams and McGuinness. Sometimes you just can not so smoothly be understood in any words or in any spoken context in Court actions. Lets hope that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will have some real words to undertake official engagements, and not a pure drain of taxpayer money, as that court action will be.

John said...

Is this the Brother Beausang who ended up teaching in the Christian Brothers School in Newry? I couldn't imagine there being too many around with that name...