• Michael McMahon


Updated: Jun 2


One of my earliest memories was a trip to Inis Oirr. I can remember the boat ride and we did a lot of cycling. I went there again when I was 15 for the Gaeltacht. The sheer uniqueness of the landscape makes the Aran Islands very scenic and traditional. I haven’t been to all the other Irish speaking areas yet. Might the Irish language benefit from designating a symbolic capital region? Who’d be the contenders? Or perhaps is it best to promote the culture of each district equally?

I used a seanfhocal against the teachers!


Of course I support efforts to maintain and revive the Irish language. I’ve been to the Aran Islands and Connemara several times and it’s always invigorating to hear it spoken fluently. It’s great that it’s used for functional communication purposes in Gaeltacht areas. But outside of these regions, I think we cannot simply rely on national symbolism alone to promote the language. I don’t have all of the answers but a secondary mixed language in conjunction with the main full language might make it easier to speak recreationally. Moreover I think it’s unnecessary for it to be a general entrance requirement for courses that are unrelated to the arts and languages in the different universities. For example, students in England don’t have to study the English language for their A-levels.

(Irish tape test question:

What is the weather like in Donegal town according to the shopkeeper?

Mischievous thoughts occurring in the back of my mind:

1- What would I ever be doing in Donegal?

2- Why of all things would I ask them about the weather when inevitably it’d be lashing rain outside.

3- Even though I didn’t hear the tape properly, I’ll just write down “Tá sé fliuch go craiceann” to be on the safe side.

Disclaimer: no offence meant to Gaeltachts outside of Donegal!)


I did a science college interview in England a long time ago. I was up against an English professor and a German professor. They were playing good cop bad cop where one was asking tough questions while the other was more relaxed. But they forgot about their accents when they decided that the English guy would be the good cop while the German professor played the bad cop. So whatever help the English teacher offered me sounded extremely sarcastic and the tough questions the German professor asked appeared extra tense. I told them I didn’t know but I think they were just waiting to see if I could spontaneously rediscover the laws of calculus. Needless to say I failed that interview!


I’ve two posts near the top and bottom of page 6.


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