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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....


49: #49 | Tara Flynn

"Peig passes the Bechdel Test". Sparklingly witty, unfailingly honest, sometimes misunderstood and with a grá for the Gaeilge, Tara Flynn and Peig Sayers are two women who have been unfairly criticised a lot in recent years. Although Peig is sadly unavailable, Tara was kind enough to visit Darach this week for a chat. Tara tells Darach about her iconic work on the Morbegs (and the attention to detail put into the Irish language content), reevaluating Peig as an adult and the simple joys of...


48: #48 | Mèredictionnaire

*The Irish word for a rat, francach, can also mean a French person (when capitalised).* In their most recent media campaign, Vodafone have paid tribute to a long-standing tradition in Irish advertising; the French crush. Prior to this Ireland has had a history of taking cues from our Gallic pals - most famously the tricolour. French is the most-widely taught foreign language in Ireland and comparisons between it and Irish are inevitable. But how apt and how valuable are such comparisons?...


47: #47 | Ceo, Craiceann agus Cumhracht: An Introduction to Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill

Famously, much is lost in translation. However, writing is a lonely calling, and the act of literary translation by one's peers presents an opportunity for literary intimacy. Two versions of a poem, presented side by side, can be more than the sum of the parts. Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill is one of Ireland's most brilliant and resonant poetic voices, and "Pharoah's Daughter" - a collection from almost thirty years ago - is still urgently relevant and accessible. Ní Dhomhnaill's dánta are...


46: #46 | The Waka and the Curach: Te Reo and Irish

2018 has been a landmark year for women’s rights in both Ireland and New Zealand. At home, we have voted to repeal the 8th Amendment. Our Antipodean mates have acknowledged a different aspect of reproductive rights (specifically, working mothers not having their careers scuppered) when their Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, gave birth to a daughter – and the country didn’t grind to a halt. That little girl’s name- Neve* Te Aroha Ardern Gayford – is a nod to two traditions, Irish and Maori,...


45: #45 | 2 Mailbag 2 Furious

Welcome to the second Motherfoclóir Mailbag show! Listener feedback allows us to see how we’re doing, bring any clarifications to light and gives us ideas for new shows. You can email us at if you want to get in touch, or even leave a review on iTunes. Correspondence has been flooding in from near and far in relation to recent episodes. Regular offenders Darach and Gearóidín are joined by neutral observers Antoin Beag and Aifric who consider topics ranging from...


44: #44 | Duolingo – New Rules

Your ex – the one who doesn’t like you as much as you like them and knows it – sends a “you up?” text at 11.32pm. Should you not pick up the phone… or, instead of replying, why not practice your Irish on Duolingo instead? The popularity of Duolingo’s Irish course flies in the face of critics of the language and has been a huge encouragement to those involved in the promotion of Irish. How can we capitalise on this interest? In this week’s episode, Darach and Peadar are joined by Alan...


43: #43 | Pride/Bród

This week's episode is about Bród - no, not Miggledy Higgins's best dog (sorry Shadow!) but LGBTQ+ Pride, which is celebrated in Dublin from the 21st to the 30th of June. Ever since the 2015 marriage equality referendum and the ascension of Leo Varadkar to Taoiseach, LGBTQ+ inclusion has been central to how Ireland has presented itself to the world. However, this is an all-too-recent development and until 2018's publication of An Foclóir Aiteach (the Queer Dictionary) the vocabulary for...


Motherfoclóir #20 | Gettin’ Schooled

Although it is regularly cited as the reason some people dislike Irish, Peig has been off the school curriculum for so long that we have adult Irish speakers wandering the streets and hills who were born after its removal. One such adult is the effortlessly cool catóg Clodagh McGinley, who you’ll remember from recent episodes. She […] La entrada Motherfoclóir #20 | Gettin’ Schooled se publicó primero en Headstuff.


Best of The HeadStuff Podcast Network 2017

So here we are, at the end of another year, the 2017th year… can you believe there have already be 2017 years on this planet? Amazing really. Anyway, what we have compiled here is the best of The HeadStuff Podcast Network 2017, short clips from a range of our shows. If something piques your fancy, […] La entrada Best of The HeadStuff Podcast Network 2017 se publicó primero en Headstuff.


Motherfoclóir #19 | Nollaig/Yule/Christmas Special

Nollaig shona to all our listeners! In today’s very special yuletide special, Gearóidín tells the gang about Christmas in Finland, Peadar gets excited about wrens, Darach dwells on the practicalities of decorating with a toddler and Clodagh reminisces over Sylvanian Families. Please consider supporting one of the charities listed in today’s podcast who are addressing […] La entrada Motherfoclóir #19 | Nollaig/Yule/Christmas Special se publicó primero en Headstuff.


Motherfoclóir #18 | An Irish Pronunciation Special: B, M, W

“Chomh ramhar le rón – as chubby as a seal” In Germany, BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke) is pronounced BMV. In Latin, Vs are pronounced as Ws. Humans have been switching these sounds with each other for some time. While neither V nor W are in the traditional 18 letter alphabet, W is so verboten that […] La entrada Motherfoclóir #18 | An Irish Pronunciation Special: B, M, W se publicó primero en Headstuff.


Motherfoclóir #17 | The Secret Diary of a Cinnire, Age 16 1/2

“Going to the Gaeltacht is like Hogwarts, except instead of magic, you have the magic of Irish” As the author of five YA novels and the presenter of HeadStuff’s Sweet Valley High podcast “Double Love”, Anna Carey knows a thing or two about teen drama. In this week’s episode, she joins Darach and Éimear to […] La entrada Motherfoclóir #17 | The Secret Diary of a Cinnire, Age 16 1/2 se publicó primero en Headstuff.


Motherfoclóir #13 | She’s A Shoo-In

After a ten episode absence, Louth Legend Siún Ní Dhuinn is back at her Motherfoclóir desk in HeadStuff studios. She tells Darach and Clodagh all about As An Nua (her bilingual feminist fashion blog) and Beo Ar Éigean – BAE for short – her fab RTÉ Irish language podcast. There’s laughs, chats, poetry and the […] La entrada Motherfoclóir #13 | She’s A Shoo-In se publicó primero en Headstuff.


Motherfoclóir #12 | Is Éireannach Mé

Motherfoclóir #12 | Is Éireannach Mé As former British colonies with lots of green on their flags, where St. Patrick is the patron saint and where Guinness is hugely popular, Nigeria and Ireland are countries with plenty in common. In this week’s episode, Ola Majekodunmi talks to Darach and Gearóidín about being a Gaeilgeoir of Nigerian heritage, […] La entrada Motherfoclóir #12 | Is Éireannach Mé se publicó primero en Headstuff.


Motherfoclóir #11 | The Motherfoclóir Spooky Halloween Special

It’s the spookiest night of the year, so what better time to share some eerie Irish words? Darach, Ola, Gearóidín and Peadar discuss the ancient roots of Samhain, the mysteries of brack and monkey nuts… and discuss regional traditions on this, the Motherfoclóir Spooky Halloween Special! If you’re listening with the smallies, be aware that […] La entrada Motherfoclóir #11 | The Motherfoclóir Spooky Halloween Special se publicó primero en Headstuff.


Motherfoclóir #10 | A Song For Ireland: Amhrán na bhFiann

National anthems – and the manner in which people observe them – are controversial (linguistically and politically) most of the time, but especially so in 2017. Amhrán na bhFiann is the Irish National Anthem and the world’s best-known Irish language text, even though it was originally written in English. In this week’s episode, Darach chats […] La entrada Motherfoclóir #10 | A Song For Ireland: Amhrán na bhFiann se publicó primero en Headstuff.


Motherfoclóir #9 | The Orthographic Depths

Regular listeners will be acquainted with team Motherfoclóir member Gearóidín McEvoy by now – ex-translator, constitution buff, Lawyers for Choice volunteer, minority language rights champion, Scandi-phile, Laois woman. What you may not know is that Gearóidín is one of thousands of Irish people with dyslexia. In this episode, she tells Darach all about dyslexia and […] La entrada Motherfoclóir #9 | The Orthographic Depths se publicó primero en Headstuff.


Motherfoclóir #8 | The Gaeilgeoir’s Code: Aireamhan

Neal Ó Riain is the boy across the road who your Mam compares you to. He literally has a PhD in Astrophysics, a fine job in London and – of course – fluent Irish. However, Neal is sweeter than his native Carlow’s sugar refineries, and gave the world @antainbot (The best bot on Twitter) and […] La entrada Motherfoclóir #8 | The Gaeilgeoir’s Code: Aireamhan se publicó primero en Headstuff.