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69: #69 | Seo Ciara, Seo Ciara

As "Bliain na Gaeilge" draws to a close and we look back, one of the moments of Irish language activism that casts a long shadow is **#NílSéCGL - it's not okay**. The hashtag struck a chord with Irish speakers who were fed up of lazy criticisms and stereotyping in mainstream media, and recognised each other's frustration all too well. #NílSéCGL is the brainchild of Ciara Ní É (@MiseCiara), who joins Darach in the studio this week. She's a poet, teacher and activist who's been very busy...


68: #68 | Decades of the Rosary: Ní Ghráda's "An Triail"

The golden age of Irish censorship ended in 1967 when Brian Lenihan Sr introduced a time limit on certain banning orders, leading to thousands of forbidden texts becoming available. Since 1929, a wealth of modern literature and medical writing had been denied to the public by a censorship board which was not required to explain its decisions - Edna O'Brien, Brendan Behan, Aldous Huxley and many others ran afoul of its high hand. However, during this period a wealth of Irish language...


67: #67 | Another World Altogether: Donegal Irish

The partition of Ireland in 1922 only included six of Ulster's nine counties in Northern Ireland. This led to the beautiful county of Donegal being cut off- politically and economically distant from its near neighbours, geographically distant from Leinster House. This remoteness - and the fact that Ulster Irish was under-represented in the formative years of the Republic's Irish language policies - have led to Donegal seeming to be a wee bit different to others in the Republic. But is it...


66: #66 | Twelve Angry Gaeilgeoirí - Juries & Irish

Somewhere in the Gaeltacht, a local man (whose first language is Irish) is accused of assaulting another Irish speaker with a broken bottle. What language should the trial be held in? If it is to be in Irish, is the jury a random sample of the defendant's peers? In today's episode, Gearóidín tells Darach and Clodagh all about the remarkable case of Ó Maicín vs Ireland, where a defendant took his fight to be heard by an Irish-speaking jury all the way to the Supreme Court. It's a case that...


65: #65 | Manannach (dú dú dí dú dú)

As any Caoimhe, Siobhán or Medb living abroad will tell you, Gaeilge uses different spelling conventions to Béarla. Students who struggle with this might be interested to hear more about Manx, the Gaelic language of the Isle of Man, which uses English language phonetics. Manx also has the distinction of being declared dead and interrupting its own funeral. In this week's episode, Darach, Gearóidín and Clodagh chat with Katie Kermode, an Ohio native who started studying Manx and got hooked....


64: #64 | It's Always Sunny In Leavingcertia: Motherfoclóir Ardteist Special

Every summer, the Irish people sacrifice thousands of teenagers to Lú, the sun god, so that he will offer them good weather. This sacrifice is called "The Leaving". There's more to Irish than the Leaving Cert and the points race; this is what we've been trying to show in the topics we cover on this podcast. However, it would be pig-headed of us not to mention the Leaving Cert course at all. In this week's episode, Ola and Darach chat with Noirín Ní Mhurchú, who is currently shepherding...


63: #63 | All The President's Dogs

**Gadhrach (adj): dog-living, full of dogs.** Despite her massive popularity over here, Saoirse Ronan's hosting slot on Saturday Night Live earned her a slew of criticism. The very idea that Irish people were unusually keen on dogs, an assumption which one of the sketches was based on, was nonsense… wasn't it? As the Irish language shows, there's always been an affinity for our canine cairde here- nine native breeds, a plethora of dog-based animal words and a seanfhocal or two to boot. In...


62: #62 | The Vampirish For

**"Is doiligh drochrud a mharú" - it's hard to kill a bad thing. (Irish proverb)** It's Hallowe'en again and the time is right for a Motherfoclóir Samhain Special! Is Annual Sweetgiving Day a capitalist ploy or is it I inherently socialist? Is the pagan or Christian, American or Gaelic? The spookiest time of the year is arguably more Irish than Saint Patrick's Day; it's certainly a recent arrival to our British neighbours, who were traditionally more invested in Guy Fawkes Day. Darach and...


61: #61 | The Light In The Window: Irish Presidents and the World

**Diaspora: from the Greek word diaspeirein "to scatter about, disperse," from dia "about, across" + speirein "to scatter".** The word "diaspora" was not used in the Irish context until Mary Robinson did so, powerfully sending a message about the global Irish community and the pain felt at both ends of the split of emigration. But 28 years later, is the term still apt? In the final part of our Uachtarán Trilogy, Darach talks to Peadar and Gearóidín about how presidents have presented Ireland...


60: #60 | Map of Ballybeg: Friel's "Translations"

Few writers ever managed to achieve the triple crown of critical acclaim, popular success and sustained relevance that Brian Friel managed in his five-decade long career. In this week's episode, Darach, Peadar and Siún discuss his masterpiece "Translations", which tells its story of doomed love and dark politics against the backdrop of the Ordnance Survey of Ireland in 1830 - a critical moment in the colonial project when Irish placenames were carelessly and significantly rewritten. What was...


59: #59 | Motherfoclóir Live: All The Presidents Meáin

On Wednesday 10th of October, Darach, Gearóidín, Peadar and Éimear swooped upon the Sugar Club on Lesson Street to discuss the importance of the Irish language to the role of president. Three presidents in particular are directly associated with watershed moments in the history of the language - Douglas Hyde, Éamon De Valera and Michael D. Higgins. The gang discuss the implications of their support for an interest in Gaeilge, which inevitably includes a discussion of the 1996 movie Michael...


58: #58 | The Tribe of Dé Danann

"Hamlet has been performed in Klingon" Aisling Carolan. For a poet, the fact that the Irish word tír (country) and the English word tear (a sad drop of water) sound the same is profoundly significant. For a linguist, however, this is a coincidence and a cursed one at that. How much weight should we attribute to similar sounding words with similar meanings in different languages? In this week's episode, we consider the theory, popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, that Hebrew and Gaelic...


57: #57 | Mailbag 3: Tiocfaidh Ár Drift

It's Mailbag time again, when the Motherfoclóir team review correspondence that has been submitted to the show by email to In this week's visit to the postroom, Darach, Ola and Peadar read and discuss exciting epistles which deal with topics ranging from Greek and Latin, less vs fewer, the widow's memory, an aimsir ghnáthchaite agus an aimsir ghnáthláithreach, the differences between ye, yous, youse, yis and yisser... and the great coddle debate continues. Happy...


56: #56 | Áras Report 1: The Top Job

Irish presidential elections are rare and brutal, but voters have chosen some truly remarkable and inspiring people for the role. Perhaps more than the role of Taoiseach, the presidency has reflected the hopes and values of Irish people and successive presidencies have marked distinct eras in the evolution of the Republic. The Motherfoclóir Team are going to bring you a short series of episodes about the presidency in advance of this year's election - in today's episode, Gearóidín and Darach...


55: #55 | Yeah, Gnó, Maybe

For nearly two centuries, we have been told that English is the language of commerce and industry and that the Irish language sits outside this world, peeping in. Could a company from Ireland ever use Gaeilge in its product branding the way Ikea uses Swedish? Osgur Ó Ciardha is one half of the team behind Pop Up Gaeltacht (the other half being Motherfoclóir regular Peadar Ó Caomhanaigh). In today's episode, he chats to Darach about whether PUG has identified a market for an Irish language...


54: #54 | Midlands Mayhem: Motherfoclóir at Electric Picnic

The Irish for Stradbally is an tSráidbhaile, which means village (or street-town if you want to be very literal about it). For a weekend at the end of summer every year, Stradbally hosts the Electric Picnic festival and this year the Motherfoclóir Podcast was invited to perform a live show for the revellers. This was a double honour for the show as it allowed local gal Gearóidín McEvoy return from Finland to Strad in triumph, basking in the jealousy of all the townsfolk who ever doubted her...


53: #53 | Polar Béarla

The breakthrough star of Irish twitter in 2018 must surely be @ruthiefizz – while other tweeters have hurled poorly-cogitated stock arguments at each other, her “Other Ireland” account has used the possibilities of the format to explore important ideas like consent, misogyny and mental health while also sharing informative and fancy facts about (and pictures of) wildlife. What her thousands of followers may not know, however, is that Ruth Fitzpatrick has a solid academic background in Celtic...


52: #52 | Passing The Collection Plate: Papal Taxes in Medieval Ireland

The Irish for tax is cáin… not to be confused with caoin, which is crying. In life the two great certainties are death and taxes, which is fitting given that many forms of taxation were first introduced to pay for wars. Today’s Vatican City is a fragment of the Papal States, a temporal political entity that governed a portion of Italy larger than Ireland for a thousand years – from the era of Brehon Law until the age of the Home Rule movement. Records of taxes levied by the Papal States...


51: #51 | Pumpaí/Dancing at the Crossroads

Michael Flatley has been in the news again with his new film “Blackbird” (possibly named for an Irish set dance) and his questionable choice of followed Twitter accounts. No matter how successful his foray into action movies is, it is certain that he will be mostly remembered for and associated with Irish dancing. Irish dance, with its distinctive costumes, moves and tunes, is this island’s most recognisable unique cultural export and the point of greatest overlap in the experience of people...


50: #50 | Unconditional Love: The Modh Coinníollach

**"If I were a boy /Even just for a day /I’d roll outta bed in the morning /And throw on what I wanted and go"** **Beyoncé Knowles, If I Were A Boy, 2007** Welcome to our 50th episode! If you're a regular listener you may have heard us mention the Modh Coinníollach before... but what is it? As with Peig who we chatted about last week, the Modh Coinníollach has become a kind of mascot for those who have bad memories of Irish from school. This has become a tired cliche in need of a good shake....