Apr 06

This moving blog tribute tells the interesting story of a woman who worked for many years with a Gaelic typewriter—apparently she typed the entire Bible with it! Interestingly the typewriter is described as an “Imperial”, which I imagine means it was manufactured by the Imperial Typewriter Company of Leicester.

An Imperial Gaelic typewriter
Here is a lovely photograph of it perched a bit precariously, but doubtless with care. And here are some of its keys…

and its keys

Nov 29

More than a decade ago I applied for and was granted Irish citizenship. Some of my friends have heard the story: I applied through the Irish language, had my interview with the gardaí in Irish, and took my oath in Irish, to the evident delight of the barristers in the back of the courtroom, who were waiting for citizenship formalities to finish so the day’s court proceedings could begin.

In Ireland, as in most countries, one makes a verbal declaration using a prescribed formula when one is in court being granted citizenship. According to Acht Náisiúntachta agus Saoránachta Éireann 1986 (Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1986), clause 4.15.e, one makes

dearbhú sa tslí fhorordaithe go mbeidh sé dílis don náisiún agus tairiseach don Stát.

or

a declaration in the prescribed manner, of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State.

And so I did. And so I have tried to act in the decade since: I have been faithful to our nation in representing her in International Standardization meetings, by supporting linguistic minorities of all kinds. I have expressed my loyalty to the State by ensuring that I vote regularly, by encouraging my fellows to do so, by carrying my passport proudly, and recently by joining a political party so I could try to make a difference, in a small way, to bettering life here for everyone fortunate enough to live in this beautiful country.

How gutted I am that “our” Taoiseach (Prime Minister) has expressed nothing but contempt for our nation and for our State. Knowing that 80% of the electorate and half the parliament has called for a General Election so that the people can give a government a mandate to help us out of the economic crisis we are in, he has nevertheless expressed nothing but the highest arrogance and selfishness, a grubby and cynical clinging on to power at all costs. Despite his obvious incompetence and the obvious incompetence of all his cabinet, he has slimpered through financial negotiations with the EU and IMF, gaining nothing for us but a debt that we will doubtless one day be forced to default on, not to save our country, but to bolster and protect German investors who put their money in a bank they doubtless knew was behaving recklessly. I thought that capitalism meant that investors were expected to bear the risk of their investments failing. Not that the populace of a free country should be made to pay for such failures.

“Slimper” is a portmanteau word. It is a little like simpering, and a little like slinking, accompanied with a bit of a pathetic whine.

We have been made like unto serfs to a handful of German investor-lords.

By slimpering Brian Cowan and Brian Lenihan and their “Republican” comrades. People who were born here. People who did not have to make a promise or take an oath to be worthy to live here. People who ran our republic into the ground and then kept on digging. To save their faces. To save their friends at Anglo. To save their arses from whatever secrets their friends at Anglo knew.

These people have committed what can only be called treason. Even if it was inevitable that we take some sort of help (it is a high-interest LOAN, not a BAIL-OUT), these spineless cretinous cowards could not even allow the Irish people a general election to give a mandate to a government to lead them through these dark times. Their reckless and craven egotism beggars belief. Their ministerial pensions should be stripped from them and they should be tried and offered exile or prison.

It is difficult to think of adjectives sufficient to describe their villainy. All we can hope for is for every single one of them to lose their seats in the election, and for this to be a sea-change in Irish politics, and that we look back on this time as the time when we learned to put parochial, tribal, civil-war cronyism behind us.

So very many people will emigrate now. They will have no choice. Young people in their twenties and thirties have already begun doing it. I’ve made some comments on Facebook about how I’m considering Iceland. And I do like Iceland. And Icelandic. A lot. But I have chosen to be dílis don náisiún and tairiseach don Stát, and I hope that I can find the strength and honour to stay here and try still to make Ireland a better place for myself and my fellow citizens.

And hope that one day Fianna Fáil will be nothing more a bogeyman name to frighten children with.

Nov 01

Tá an leabhar Sciorrfhocail: Scéalta agus úrscéal le Panu Petteri Höglund le fáil ó Evertype anois. Otso Höglund, deartháir an údair, a mhaisigh an leabhar.

From the back cover:

Trí ghearrscéal agus úrscéal amháin le scríbhneoir Fionlannach a d’fhoghlaim a chuid Gaeilge ó scéalaithe agus ó scríbhneoirí móra na Gaeltachta sular tháinig sé go hÉirinn den chéad uair. Seo iad na scéalta Gaeilge a chum sé ina fhear óg dó, agus iad ar fáil faoi chlúdach leabhair anois. Scéalta iad faoi dhaoine uaigneacha a chaitheann slabhraí an uaignis díobh agus iad ag tóraíocht an ghrá.

“Ainmhian na Máistreása Óige”: Cailín cráifeach í Pia nár thuig bealaí an ghrá riamh. Ach anois, chuaigh an grá féin i luíochán roimpi.

“Craiceann”: Tháinig mac léinn óg ar cuairt chuig a thuismitheoirí le súil a chaitheamh ar na seanbhólaí. Céard a chasfar air cois an locha i gcroí na coille, meas tú? Céard eile ach an grá féin!

“Béarlóir Deireanach an Domhain”: Chuaigh an Ghaeilge ar fud an domhain. Níl ach Gaeilge Uladh ag na Meiriceánaigh, agus fágadh an Béarla in áit na leathphingine i Sasana féin. Cén cineál saoil atá ag an mBéarlóir deireanach ar an saol seo?

Tachtaimis an Grá Sin: Fear óg cúthail é Somhairle nach bhfuil de chairde aige ach ógánach uaigneach eile agus nach bhfuil de chaitheamh aimsire aige ach a bheith ag amharc ar na físghránnáin. Ach lá amháin, castar cailín air nach bhfacthas a leithéid riamh roimhe sin i Narkkaus, baile beag in Oirthear na Fionlainne.

Oct 07

Evertype is pleased to announce the publication of a translation by Nicholas Williams of Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There in Irish.


From the back cover:

Scéal samhraidh atá in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland a d’fhoilsigh Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) den chéad uair i mí Iúil 1865. D’fhoilsigh Nicholas Williams leagan Gaeilge de sin sa bhliain 2003 faoin teideal Eachtraí Eilíse i dTír na nIontas. Is le paca cártaí a bhaineann roinnt mhaith de charachtair agus d’eachtraí an leabhair. Scéal geimhridh is ea an scéal seo Lastall den Scáthán agus a bhFuair Eilís Ann Roimpi agus is aistriúchán Gaeilge é ar Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There a d’fhoilsigh Carroll den chéad uair i mí na Nollag 1871. Ar chluiche fichille a bunaíodh formhór dá bhfuil sa dara scéal seo.

Is í banlaoch an dá leabhar Alice Liddell, iníon le Déan Christ Church, Oxford, áit a raibh Dodgson ina oide matamaitice. Cé gur sa bhliain 1852 a rugadh Alice Liddell, fiche bliain níos déanaí ná Dodgson, samhlaítear sa dá leabhar í mar chailín beag seacht mbliana d’aois, an aois a bhí aici nuair a casadh Dodgson den chéad uair uirthi. Is léir ó na píosaí filíochta ag tús agus ag deireadh an leabhair seo go raibh an-chion ag Carroll ar Alice Liddell. Ní mór cuimhneamh, áfach, gur éirigh idir tuismitheoirí Alice agus Carroll sa bhliain 1864 agus nach bhfaca sé ach go fíorannamh i ndiaidh an dáta sin í.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a tale of summer which Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) published for the first time in July 1865. Nicholas Williams published an Irish version of it in 2003 under the title Eachtraí Eilíse i dTír na nIontas. Many of the characters in the book belong to a pack of cards. This story, Lastall den Scáthán agus a bhFuair Eilís Ann Roimpi, is a winter’s tale, an is a translation of Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There which Carroll first published in December 1871. Much of this second story is based on the game of chess.

The heroine of the two books is Alice Liddell, daughter of the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, where Dodgson taught mathematics. Although Alice Liddell was born in 1852, twenty years later then Dodgson, she is kept in the two books as a little girl of seven years of age, the age she was when she Dodgson met her for the first time. It is clear from the pieces of poetry at the beginning and the end of this book that Carroll was very fond of Alice Liddell. One must remember, however, that Alice’s parents and Carroll fell out in 1864 and that he saw her very rarely after that date.

May 26

My friend John Cowan just asked me “Do you know the history of Gaelic grave vs. Irish acute?”

Of course Irish uses áéíóú. And Scottish Gaelic uses àèìòù. I’ve never thought about this. I’ll have to look into it.

The earliest printed book in Irish uses the acute. To me that seems a natural choice. I don’t know why people setting Scottish Gaelic chose the grave though. I’ll look into it.

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