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73: #73 | Losing the Plot - Cré na Cille

It is fitting that a book set in a cemetery has come to be known as the graveyard of translators. Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s masterpiece Cré na Cille was described in the New Yorker as “too good to translate” although different individuals have tried. It is widely regarded as the finest novel in the Irish language. In this week’s episode, Peadar (who has read it) tells Darach (who hasn’t read it) all about the wonders of this novel, where the occupants of the graveyard are doomed to gossip amongst...


72: #72 | Falling For A Gaeilgeoir

Irish speakers are referred to in Ireland as a community, a lobby group or even a kind of secret society: a bloc of people with specific and predictable values and objectives, distinct from the mórchultúr of mainstream Irish society. This expresses itself in many forms, from characterisations on radio debates to the sexual othering of Irish speakers (the "hot Gaeilgeoir" stereotype). The truth is, of course, that Irish speakers stand in the same queues as anybody else. You might even be...


71: #71 | A Very Motherfoclóir Nollaig

It has been quite a year for the Motherfoclóir project - there's been online and offline mayhem of many categories in multiple languages. In this week's episode, Darach, Peadar and Gearóidín take a look back at the highlights of Bliain na Gaeilge - the debates, key people who made us laugh and cry, the @motherfocloir account, the way the present shapes the past, a very special tuít as Gaeilge… and the Irish word of the year. This episode contains more swearing than the losing side of Croke...


70: #70 | "Introduction", a Reading from Craic Baby

Darach Ó Séaghdha's first book, "Motherfoclóir: Dispatches From A Not So Dead Language" was the winner of the Popular Non-Fiction award at the 2017 Irish Book Awards. Today's bonus episode is an extract from the sequel, "Craic Baby: Dispatches From A Rising Language". Craic Baby is published by Head of Zeus and available in bookshops in Ireland and the UK.


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...