Should you learn a particular dialect?

Should you learn a particular dialect of Irish and stick to it? Many learners make a point of doing so, but I have certain reservations about it. To start with, for some marginal dialects there is very little material available, and all there is is contaminated with unacceptable anglicisms typical of what we call terminal speakers (a terminal speaker, “cainteoir foirceanta” in Irish, is a native speaker who does not speak the language on a regular basis and isn’t sure about the correct language anymore). Thus, dialect enthusiasts run the risk of incorporating what is definitely “bad Irish”. Moreover, there is what I call petty dialect enthusiasm. Petty dialect enthusiasm means that you make a big fuss about using the words and inflectional forms of a particular dialect, while using heavily English-influenced syntax (again, for those not familiar with the slang of my trade, the term”syntax” means “how words depend on each other in a sentence”).

It is my impression that syntax is the key to the difference between “that dreadful school Irish” and that mythologically perfect Gaeltacht Irish which you can only learn sitting at the feet of some distinguished Gamaliel in a druidic-bardic hedge school. The reason why “standard Irish” is so disliked is the fact that it is all too often paired with poor syntax and heavy English influence. The reason why new terms are disliked is the fact that you only meet them in the context of poor syntax and heavy English influence. Myself, I have spoken with Gaeltacht people in an Irish that is very near to standard Irish, with a pronunciation based essentially on the standard one introduced in Focloir Poca and Focloir Scoile. They were quite happy with the kind of Irish I spoke to them, and said that it sounded like Gaeltacht Irish, but not of any particular Gaeltacht.

Thus, it is possible to use standard Irish in a way that is acceptable to the native speakers. And I am afraid it is possible to use faux-dialectal Irish in a way that is as hair-raising as the worst standard Irish. However, focusing on one dialect is not a bad idea – although not as an end in itself, but rather as a way to good Irish in a more inclusive sense. I became known as an enthusiast of Ulster Irish, but before that I studied Connemara and Blasket Irish quite extensively, and this is precisely why I got so fanatical about Ulster: it was a new kind of Irish,which really had a taste and feel of its own. By starting with one dialect and learning it thoroughly, you can develop an appreciation of all dialects, and enrich your Irish by picking up  new words and expressions as you go.

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Some more thoughts about reading and learning

When you learn Irish, the goal is to become perfectly fluent. Not Gaeilge bhriste, but Gaeilge chliste. The very idea of reviving the Irish language is about reviving it as an authentic language. This means that you are supposed to have as good a command of it as an average Irish intellectual would have in an alternative reality where Ireland still was an Irish-speaking nation. For this, you will need to re-enact the personal linguistic development of that alternative-reality person. This might sound scary, but it is actually easier than for many threatened languages, because in Irish there is a wealth of folklore and native autobiographies available. In fact, the reading list I published here can only scratch the surface.

If you were born in an Irish-speaking Ireland, the first things you’d learn in the language would be children’s folklore. There is a lot of this stuff available in the folklore collections. Other folklore is to be recommended too.

There is another reason why I speak so much about folklore as a source of good Irish. In a community where literacy in the native language is unknown, but where there is a thriving oral culture of storytelling, the storyteller and the tradition-bearer is the best equivalent to the writer and author in a literary society. The best native writers of Irish were born to stpryteller familias. Thus, if you want to learn the kind of Irish that was appreciated by the last monolingual native speakers as the best traditional Irish, you mut learn the storytellers’ Irish. This is also why Peig used to be taught to learners. She was the daughter of a storytelling family, and a renowned storyteller and tradition-keeper herself.

Now of course somebody will start kvetching about how Peig, or Gaeltacht literature in general, has nothing in common with modern life. I beg to differ. I have translated Isaac Asimov into Irish, I have written popular science in Irish. The language I needed for writing popular science I learnt reading folklore and native writers. I did need to look up the terms in specialist dictionaries, yes. But the rest, the system of the language, came from the folklore.

That folklore is the literature of the last custodians of the traditional language, the Gaeltacht people. As a student and learner of the language, you are their servant, you are the caretaker of their heritage. Myself, I am but a servant of theirs.

Answer to Oscar Lacken

My reader Oscar Lacken has asked me for recommended readings in Connemara Irish, having finished “Learning Irish”, which is a popular Irish course in Connemara dialect. Well, I am now away from my private library, and haven’t yet found any fadas on my erratically working mobile device, so I guess the detailed answer must wait until after the Easter holidays, but to start with, you should use the recommendations in my recent blog post about good books by native writers. As regards learning methods, I learnt most of my Irish by reading books in three stages. First, I just marked new words, new idioms and – especially – unfamiliar syntactic structures, not trying to follow the plot. Then I reread the book checking new words and sayings in the big dictionary. And then, at the third attempt, I could already follow the story. I know this sounds intimidating, but it takes only a couple of books to lead to significant improvement, if you do as I did.

A quick and very dirty guide to Irish prepositions (part one)

“THE USUAL RULES”:

The “usual rules” of initial mutation after the combination of a simple preposition and a following definite article:

  • To start with, note that a plural noun preceded by a simple preposition and a definite article follows the same rules as when it is preceded just by a definite article: i.e. a consonant changes not, but a vowel takes a h-: ar na fir, ag na mná, leis na héanacha (similarly: na fir, na mná, na héanacha)
  • All the difficulties are, thus, in the singular.
  • The basic rule is, that the noun is eclipsed: ar an bhfear, ag an mbean. A vowel is not affected (but the t- before a masculine noun beginning with a vowel is dropped: an t-éan, but leis an éan).
  • However, initial t- and d- are not eclipsed: ag an doras, ag an tine (such forms as ag an ndoras, ag an dtine are Kerry Irish).
  • As an alternative, the Ulster way of leniting the noun instead is allowed in the caighdeán: ag an fhear, ag an bhean.
  • In standard Irish, the initial lenitable s- (s + vowel, sn-, sl-, sr-) behaves in the same way as if there was no preposition, i.e. if the noun is masculine, it is not affected (ar an saol), but if it is feminine, the s- turns into a t-, written ts- (ar an tsráid). However, in Ulster, no difference between genders is observed here (ar an tsaol, ar an tsráid).

 

AG

Followed by the “dative case” (which is today for the most part equal to the nominative case, i.e. the dictionary form). Before an article + a noun, the usual rules apply.

Aigesna rather than ag na in plural is typically Munster Irish.

Personal forms: agam, agat, aige, aici, againn, agaibh, acu.

Before nouns with no article: ag does not affect the first sound in any way.

Main meanings of ag:

  • at (in the concrete locational sense): tá sé ina sheasamh ag an doras “he is standing at the door”
  • chez, in somebody’s home
  • at an occasion
  • in somebody’s possession: tá gluaisteán agam “I have a car/an automobile”

Note: The widespread habit of using le in the sense of “in somebody’s home” is an Anglicism. Due to the fact that English does not have a preposition corresponding to Irish ag, German bei, or Swedish hoswith is used in English. But in Irish, if you are “staying with” somebody, you should use ag for translating “with”.

 

AR

Followed by the “dative case” (which is today for the most part equal to the nominative case, i.e. the dictionary form). Before an article + a noun, the usual rules apply.

Personal forms: orm, ort, air, uirthi, orainn, oraibh, orthu.

Before nouns with no article: The main rule is, that it lenites. However, when it refers rather to the abstract state than to the concrete position, the lenition is omitted: ar muin chapaill (on horseback) vs. ar mhuin an chapaill áirithe seo (on the back of this particular horse). Note:

ar dhóigh “in a way” vs. ar dóigh “excellent” (But note ar fheabhas “excellent”, which is an exception of the exception). There is, of course (!), even ar ndóigh “of course”. (And speaking of ar + eclipsis, remember also ar gcúl.)

ar shiúl “away, gone” vs. ar siúl “happening, going on”

ar tarraingt “in traction” (when you lie with a broken bone in a hospital)

ar fionraí “suspended”

ar cois “happening, going on”

ar obair “happening, going on, proceeding”

ar dalladh “intensely”

Main meanings of ar:

  • on, upon (in the most concrete sense): ar an urlár “on the floor”
  • for a price: cheannaigh mé ar ocht bpunt é “I bought it for eight pounds”
  • in a relative position: tá sé ar an bhfear is fearr “he is the best man”
  • under the authority of someone: tá Nearó ina Impire ar an Róimh “Nero is the Emperor of Rome”
  • affected by emotion or disease: tá tuirse orm, tá fearg orm, tá slaghdán orm, tá tinneas cinn orm
  • “about” in the sense of “talking about something”. This usage, however, is more connected with particular verbs and phrases than that of faoi. (Compare Irish trácht ar rud and English “to remark upon something”.)
  • “Down upon” referring to aggression and attack is in Irish anuas ar.

AS

Followed by the “dative case” (which is today for the most part equal to the nominative case, i.e. the dictionary form). Before an article + a noun, the usual rules apply.

Personal forms: asam, asat, as, aisti, asainn, asaibh, astu.

Before nouns with no article: they are not affected at all. In Kerry, as does lenite, but this is heavily dialectal, and speakers of other dialects might find it out and out wrong. In Cork Irish, at least in Cape Clear, the historically correct form is used instead (as being only the third person masculine singular form) – it does not affect a consonant, but adds a h- to a vowel.

Main meanings of as:

  • out of; from among; from; away from
  • emanating from (smells, for instance)
  • material, medium: rud a ní as uisce; labhairt as Gaeilge
  • in payment for: d’íoc mé deich bpunt as na hearraí “I paid ten pounds for the goods”

 

CHUIG

Followed by the “dative case” (see above). Before an article + a noun, the usual rules apply.

Personal forms: chugam, chugat, chuige, chuici, chugainn, chugaibh, chucu.

Before nouns without article: they are not affected at all.

Main meanings of chuig: to, towards.

Note: ag is in dialects often used instead of chuig.

CHUN

Followed by the genitive case. The usual genitive rules apply. Note though, that when chun precedes an articleless noun which is followed by a definite genitive, that articleless noun can be declined in genitive too: leas ár dtíre “the interest/greater good of our country”, chun leasa na tíre “to the greater good of our country”.

Personal forms; the same as for chuig.

Main meanings:

  • to, towards
  • to a conclusion, to an effect
  • for a purpose

Note the older forms chum, do-chum, which you might encounter in texts printed in Gaelic type and spelled according to the old orthography.

DE

Followed by the dative case (see above). Before an article + a noun, it lenites where applicable, and turns a lenitable s- into a t- (but written ts-). Lenites nouns without an article.

Personal forms: díom, díot, de, di, dínn, díbh, díobh. The initial d- is often lenited (dh-).

Main meanings:

  • from, off: rud a bhaint de dhuine “to take a thing away from somebody”, stad sé den obair “he stopped working”
  • attached to, sticking to: cheangail mé an rópa den bhád “I bound, attached, the rope to the boat”; cheangail mé an dá bhád dá chéile le rópa “I tied the two boats to each other with a rope”

Note: non-natives often use le to refer to what something is attached or bound to. This is wrong. In Irish you always use de for this. Le refers to whatever you use for tying them together. Thus, you tie the boats de each other le a rope.

Another note: it is quite common as dialects go to conflate de and do into one preposition, or to use do where you’d expect de. Remember this when you read native texts with Ó Donaill’s dictionary.

Desna rather than de na in plural is Munster Irish.

DO

Initial mutations as after de.

Personal forms: dom, duit, dó, di, dúinn, daoibh, dóibh. The initial d- is often lenited (dh-).

Main meanings:

  • To, i.e. when giving something to someone: tabhair dom an bréagán sin “give me that toy”.
  • To a place (although for this I’d mostly prefer go dtí)
  • For (intended for someones use; to the benefit of; etc.)
  • In certain verbal noun constructions, it refers to the agent of the verbal noun: i ndiaidh dom teacht abhaile/ar theacht abhaile dom “when I had come home”

 

Dosna rather than do na is Munster Irish.

FAOI

Lenites a noun that follows it directly. The usual rules apply to the combination of preposition + article.

Personal forms: fúm, fút, faoi, fúithi, fúinn, fúibh, fúthu.

Main meanings:

  • Under, beneath.
  • About, around; also “about” in the sense of talking about something.

An Ulster acquaintance of mine suggested that there was a division of meaning between fá “about” and faoi “under, beneath” in Ulster dialect. This is possible, but my impression is that the choice of faoi, fá, fé, fó in older texts mostly depends of the phonetic environment, i.e. the vowels of the surrounding nouns (this would account for the form fó in the expression an Tír fó Thoinn “the land beneath the wave”, a mythological underwater otherworld; the expression has also, probably facetiously, been used for the Netherlands).

Fé is a common spelling variant in Munster. Fésna instead of faoi na is Munster dialect.

I

Eclipses a noun that follows it directly (i dteach). Becomes in before a vowel. In the standard language, the combination i + an (ins an, now commonly written sa, san) lenites; in Connemara, though, it is assimilated to the “usual rules” (sa mbád rather than sa bhád). In plural, i + na becomes ins na (now commonly written sna).

Sa in plural is Munster dialect.

Personal forms: ionam, ionat, ann, inti, ionainn, ionaibh, iontu.

Main meanings:

  • In, inside: sa teach
  • In a position: i gceannas ar na saighdiúirí
  • Innate capacities: tá comhábhair an cheoltóra mhaith ann 
  • Role: tá mé i mo mhúinteoir
  • Accusation, guilt: tá sé á chúiseamh i ndúnmharú; fuarthas ciontach i ndúnmharú é

LE

According to the standard language, it should affix a h- to a following vowel. Combines with the article to yield leis an in singular, leis na in plural. Leis an follows the usual rules.

Personal forms: liom, leat, leis, léi, linn, libh, leo.

Main meanings:

  • with
  • towards, facing
  • often used with verbs of interaction, transaction: labhair sé liom “he spoke with/to me”; dhíol sé a sheancharr liom “he sold his old car to me”
  • with is it refers to ownership: is liom an carr úd “that car over there is mine”. Note the difference: tá carr agam “I have a car”, but is liom an carr “the car belongs to me”.

Ó

The usual rules apply when followed by an article. When it precedes an articleless noun, it lenites. Ósna in plural is Munster dialect: ó na is standard.

Personal forms: uaim, uait, uaidh, uaithi, uainn, uaibh, uathu.

Main meanings:

  • from (from a place, from a person, from a limit, from a root cause, away from someone)
  • since (a point of time)

 

An Sách is an Seang – a short story by Anton Chekhov in Irish

Anton Chekhov
An Sách is an Seang

This is a translation I made years ago of Anton Chekhov’s short story, Tolstyi i Tonkii, It is a product of my years of promoting Ulster Irish, and it shows. The Irish title of the story is based on the proverb ní thuigeann an sách an seang, the well-fed man does not understand the starving man.

Earlier I tried to transliterate the Russian names by using a system of my own, but these days I usually use the English system. I am not at all happy with the attempts of the terminology committee at providing piecemeal Irish transliterations of names such as Gorbachov, because it is too obvious they don’t have any idea of the Russian language.

 

Casadh beirt seancharad* ar a chéile ar stáisiún an bhóthar iarainn** i dtreo Nikolayevo. Fear acu, bhí sé sách sáite, agus an fear eile, bhí sé seang stiúgtha. Bhí an Sách go díreach i ndiaidh béile a chaitheamh i seomra itheacháin an stáisiúin, agus loinnir an ime ina chuid fiacal. Bhí boladh na seirise is na liomanáide oráiste as***. An Seang, áfach, bhí sé ag tuirlingt ón gcarbad, agus é ag tarraingt a chuid bagáiste ina dhiaidh. An boladh a tháinig as an bhfear seo, bagún agus dríodar caife ba mhó a bhí le haithint tríd. Bhí scrogaire stiúgtha mná ag siúl sna sálaí aige, – ba í sin bean chéile mo dhuine, – chomh maith le scoláire ard meánscoile a bhí ag amharc ar an saol mór le súile leathdhúnta – ba eisean mac na lánúine seinge, gan amhras.

*) This is the genitive plural of seanchara, used after beirt. However, using it might be old-fashioned of me.

**) You’d think it should be stáisiún an bhóthair iarainn, but my gut tells me not to use the genitive ending of bóthar here, as bóthar iarainn is such a close-knit entity.

***) Smells are thought to emanate out of you, thus as.
”A Phorfiri!” a scairt an Sách, ag feiceáil an fhir eile dó*. ”A sheanchara, an tusa atá agam ansin dáiríribh? Nach fada ar shiúl uaim thú!”

*) when he was seeing the other man. The preposition do refers to the notional agent of an action in a verbal noun construction such as this.
”Dia dár réiteach, nach é Mikhail atá ann?” arsa an Seang. ”Mo chara cléibh! Cá has ar tháinig tusa, chomh tobann sin?”
Thug an bheirt fhear trí phóg dá chéile agus iad ag stánadh ar a chéile tríd na deora. Bhí draíocht dheas orthu.
”Anois, ní raibh súil ar bith agam leis seo!” arsa an Seang. ”Bain sásamh do shúl asam* agus feicfidh tú nár tháinig aon athrú ar an seanrógaire idir an dá linn! Agus tú féin, cad é mar a d’éirigh an saol leat féin? An bhfuil tú ag saothrú go maith? Ar sháigh tú do mhéar i sealán cheana?** Chuaigh brat pósta orm féin le fada***, mar a fheiceas tú: seo mo bhean chéile, Wanzenbach ba sloinne di roimh an phósadh****, de phór na Liútaránach í… agus seo Nafanail, mo mhac: tá sé sa tríú leabhar***** ar scoil inniu, an stócach. Féach, a Nafanail, seo mo chara scoile! Chuaigh muid in aon mheánscoil le chéile, tráth den tsaol!”

*) “derive the satisfaction of your eyes out of me”, i.e. look at me as much as you want.

**) “did you put your finger into the hangman’s noose (sealán) already?” is a facetious way of asking “did you get married already?”

***) “I got married a long time ago”.

****) roimh an phósadh in Ulster, roimh an bpósadh in other dialects. Both variants are accepted in the standard language.

*****) this is a somewhat old-fashioned way to say that he was a third-grader at school – I picked it up from my favourite Ulster authors.
D’éirigh Nafanail smaointiúil ina ghnúis agus bhain sé a bhairéad de.
”Chuaigh muid ar scoil in éineacht!” a lean an Seang leis. ”An cuimhin leat an dóigh a mbítí ag spochadh asat? Thugtaí Herostratos ort, ó chuir tú leabhar de chuid na scoile trí thine le bun toitín. Agus mise, ba mise Ephialtes, ó bhí mé i mo spiaire mór. Hó, hó… Inár bpáistí a bhí muid san am sin. Ná bíodh eagla ort, a Nafanailín! Tar ar aghaidh agus sín lámh chuig an uncail deas! Agus seo mo bhean chéile, de mhuintir Wanzenbach – de phór na Liútaránach…”
D’fhan Nafanail ina thost ag smaoineamh leis, ach ansin, chuaigh sé i bhfolach taobh thiar de dhroim a athara*.

*) athara rather than athar is the genitive of athair “father” in Ulster.
”Cogar, a chara, cad é mar atá tú?” a d’fhiafraigh an Sách, agus é ag amharc go maorga ar an bhfear eile. ”An i do státseirbhíseach atá tú? An bhfuil céim ard bainte amach agat?”
”I mo státseirbhíseach, ar ndóigh! Tá mé i mo Mheasúnóir Barra* i Stanislav le conablach dhá bhliain** anuas. Níl mé ag saothrú go rómhaith, ach is cuma, nó tá mo bhean chéile ina múinteoir pianó, agus mé féin ag saoirsiniú boscaí todóg as adhmad. Agus níl aon chaill ar na boscaí sin! Díolaim ar rúbal an bosca iad, ach, ar ndóigh, aon duine a bhfuil níos mó ná deich gcinn de dhíth air, gheobhaidh sé lacáiste. Tá muid ag streachailt linn go measartha. An bhfuil a fhios agat, chaith mé seal i seirbhís na Roinne, ach ansin, hathlonnaíodh anseo mé le dul i gceannas ar an gcraobhoifig a fhreastlós ar an taobh seo den tír. Anseo a bheas mé ag obair feasta. Agus tú féin, caithfidh sé go bhfuil tú i do Chomhairleoir Stáit*** cheana féin!”

*) measúnóir barra is my attempt at translating kollezhskii asessor into Irish. A kollezhskii asessor was the civilian equivalent of a major in the imperial Russian army.

**) conablach dhá bhliain “the most part of two years”, i.e. almost two years.

***) comhairleoir stáit means “state councillor” or statskii sovetnik, the civilian equivalent of a brigadier in the imperial army.
”Ní hea, a chara, ardaigh d’aidhm”, a d’fhreagair an Sách. ”Tá mé i mo Rún-Chomhairleoir* anois, agus dhá réalta óir ar mo bhrollach.

*) rún-chomhairleoir is my attempt to translate tainyi sovetnik, Privy Councillor, which is the civilian equivalent of a lieutenant general.
D’éirigh an Seang mílítheach* ar fad anois, agus rinneadh staic de mar a bheadh cloch ann. Ansin, áfach, leath meangadh ar a cheannaithe, meangadh a sháraigh faoi thrí an aoibh a bhí air roimhe seo. Shílfeá go raibh sé ag splancarnaigh ar fad, idir aghaidh agus shúile; ach san am chéanna, chuach sé agus chúb sé isteach chuige féin, thit na guaillí aige, agus é ag éirí ní ba seinge, ní ba stiúgtha ná mar a bhí roimhe seo… A chuid bagáiste, idir mhála is mhealbhóga, tháinig tuilleadh roicneacha orthu, agus iad ag titim i ngaire dá chéile… Má bhí smig chaol fhada ag a bhean chéile ó thús, chuaigh sé an oiread eile i bhfad agus chun caoladais… Tháinig Nafanail chun tosaigh, agus é ag iamh an chnaipe dheireanaigh ar a éide scoile…

*) pale in a sickly way
”A Fhoruaisleacht Mhórga, le do thoil uasal… Mór an pléisiúr! Seanchara a bhí ionat, tráth dár saol, le do thoil uasal, agus tú i do thiarna mhór anois, le do thoil uasal, hí-hí-hí…”
”Anois”, arsa an Sách, agus roicneacha ag teacht ina éadan, ”cuir uait na geáitsí sin! Chuaigh muid ar scoil in éineacht, b’olc an seanadh dúinn bheith ag buaireamh ár gcloigne fá dtaobh de thábla na gcéimíochtaí*!”

*) ranga na gcéimíochtaí is the official table of ranks in Imperial Russia.
”Más é do thoil uasal… Do thoil uasal…”, arsa an Seang, agus é ag gáirí go neirbhíseach i gcónaí is ag umhlú ní ba doimhne fós. ”Más é toil uasal d’Fhoruaisleachta Mórga… is ionann d’fhabhar uasal agus deoch na híocshláinte… Seo anois, a Fhoruaisleacht, mo mhac Nafanail… agus seo mo bhean chéile, Louise, de phór na Liútaránach, i gciall fhoirmiúil áirithe*…”

*) The Starving One wants to hint that his wife, while being a Lutheran, was as good and loyal a subject as an Orthodox Christian would be, and only “in a certain formal sense” a Lutheran.
Thug an Sách in amhail* cur in aghaidh an lústair seo, ach staon sé, nuair a fuair sé radharc ceart ar ghnúis a sheanchara: chuir an lútáil is an béal bán sin samhnas ar an Rún-Chomhairleoir. Ghread sé leis**, gan ach an lámh a chroitheadh leis an Seang le slán a fhágáil aige.

*) i.e. he almost did it, but didn’t do it

**) he left, “he hit the road”. (You could also say bhuail sé bóthar in Irish.)
D’airdigh an Seang trí mhéar, d’umhlaigh sé leath go talamh agus é ag miongháirí i gcónaí mar a bheadh Síneach ann: hí-hí-hí. Dhrann an bhean aoibh gháire, í féin. Bhain Nafanail tailm as talamh le leathchos, agus thit a hata de. Bhí draíocht dheas ar an tríúr acu.

What to put between tá and the noun

One of the first things you learn is that you can’t put two nouns together by using the verb . Using tá you can tell what something is like, or where it is, but you can’t tell what it is, or who somebody is – that is, instead, told using the copula, which is a part of speech of its own, not a verb. (Grammarians and textbook authors often suggest that the copula, is, is another verb for “to be”. This is misleading, because is has a syntax of its own, very different from how normal verbs are used in a sentence. It is better to see is as a distinct part of speech. , on the other hand, is a verb.)

However, people do sometimes feel pressed to combine two nouns using , and they are not always quite familiar with how this is done correctly. They tend to put mar “as, like” before the second noun. While this is not wrong (well, not always), I myself feel very seldom even tempted to do so, because I use other instruments.

To start with, + possessive pronoun. This should be part of every Irish speaker’s toolbox.

Tá mé i mo mhúinteoir. I am a teacher.

Tá mé i m‘fheirmeoir. I am a farmer.

Tá mé i m‘fhisiceoir. I am a physicist.

Tá mé i m‘eachtránaí spáis. I am a space adventurer.

Tá mé i mo ridire. I am a knight.

Tá mé i mo chaptaen spásloinge. I am a spaceship captain.

Tá mé i mo theangeolaí. I am a linguist.

Tá tú i d‘fheirmeoir. You are a farmer.

Tá tú i d‘fhisiceoir. You are a physicist.

Tá tú i d‘eachtránaí spáis. You are a space adventurer.

Tá tú i do ridire. You are a knight.

Tá tú i do chaptaen spásloinge. You are a spaceship captain.

Tá tú i do theangeolaí. You are a linguist.

Tá sé ina fheirmeoir. He is a farmer.

Tá sé ina fhisiceoir. He is a physicist.

Tá sé ina eachtránaí spáis. He is a space adventurer.

Tá sé ina ridire. He is a knight.

Tá sé ina chaptaen spásloinge. He is a spaceship captain.

Tá sé ina theangeolaí. He is a linguist.

Tá sí ina feirmeoir. She is a farmer.

Tá sí ina fisiceoir. She is a physicist.

Tá sí ina heachtránaí spáis. She is a space adventurer.

Tá sí ina ridire. She is a knight.

Tá sí ina captaen spásloinge. She is a spaceship captain.

Tá sí ina teangeolaí. She is a linguist.

Tá muid inár bhfeirmeoirí. We are farmers.

Tá muid inár bhfisiceoirí. We are physicists.

Tá muid inár n-eachtránaithe spáis. We are space adventurers.

Tá muid inár ridirí. We are knights.

Tá muid inár gcaptaein spásloinge. We are spaceship captains.

Tá muid inár dteangeolaithe. We are linguists.

Tá sibh in bhur bhfeirmeoirí. You (guys) are farmers.

Tá sibh in bhur bhfisiceoirí. You are physicists.

Tá sibh in bhur n-eachtránaithe spáis. You are space adventurers.

Tá sibh in bhur ridirí. You are knights.

Tá sibh in bhur gcaptaein spásloinge. You are spaceship captains.

Tá sibh in bhur dteangeolaithe. You are linguists.

Tá siad ina bhfeirmeoirí. They are farmers.

Tá siad ina bhfisiceoirí. They are physicists.

Tá siad ina n-eachtránaithe spáis. They are space adventurers.

Tá siad ina ridirí. They are knights.

Tá siad ina gcaptaein spásloinge. They are spaceship captains.

Tá siad ina dteangeolaithe. They are linguists.

Tá mé ag obair i mo mhúinteoir. I am working as a teacher.

Bhí sí ag obair ina múinteoir. She was working as a teacher.

Chaith Seán trí bliana sa tSaimbia ina mhúinteoir. Seán spent three years in Zambia as a teacher.

Bhíodh Cathal ina mhúinteoir ó am go ham. Cathal used to work as a teacher occasionally.

Chuir Séimí aithne ar a lán neachanna eachtardhomhanda nuair a bhí sé ina chaptaen spásloinge. Séimí got acquainted with a lot of extraterrestrial beings when he was a spaceship captain.

Nuair a bhí sé ina mhúinteoir bhí dearcadh eile aige ar an gceist seo. When he was a teacher, he had a different view of this question. (= Ina mhúinteoir dó bhí dearcadh eile aige ar an gceist seo.)

The idea behind this construction is being in the role, say, of a teacher. A child could also say: Tá mé i mo Gharda “I am (being) a policeman” (i.e. the child refers to the role of a policeman in a game).

There is one thing to be noted about this construction. The possessive pronoun (or possessive adjective, both terms are used) mo, do, a, a,  ár, bhur, a has the power of the definite article. Thus, when you want to tell us that Nero was an Empire of Rome, you cannot say ?bhí Nearó ina Impire na Róimhe. In the construction Impire na Róimhe we have a noun (Impire) qualified by a definite genitive (na Róimhe), You cannot put a definite article before this, and you cannot put a possessive pronoun/adjective before it either. In this example, it is better to use the preposition ar to refer to the entity Nero was an emperor of: bhí Nearó ina Impire ar an Róimh. It is also possible to say bhí Nearó ina Impire Rómhánach, but it sounds kind of literary.

The preposition i, in usually takes the form (without -n) before mo, m’ and do, d’. If you see the -n there, i.e. in mo, in m’, in do, in d’, this is an indicator of Ulster dialect.

A related construction is Múinteoir atá ann. As you should know, ann is the word for “there” in the existential sense, but it is also the combination of the preposition and the third person singular masculine pronoun, “in it, in him”. These three constructions are more or less interchangeable:

Is múinteoir é Múinteoir is ea éMúinteoir atá ann.

There is a dialect difference: the third one is markedly Ulster dialect.

Similarly: Is múinteoir mé – Múinteoir is ea mé – Múinteoir atá ionam

Is múinteoir thú – Múinteoir is ea thú – Múinteoir atá ionat

Is múinteoir í – Múinteoir is ea í – Múinteoir atá inti

Is múinteoirí sinn – Múinteoirí is ea sinn – Múinteoirí atá ionainn

Is múinteoirí sibh – Múinteoirí is ea sibh – Múinteoirí atá ionaibh

Is múinteoirí iad – Múinteoirí is ea iad – Múinteoirí atá iontu.

In Ulster, where this is a common construction, there is a tendency to use ann for all third persons, so you should not be amazed to see Múinteoir atá ann used to refer to a woman, or Múinteoirí atá ann.

Note that a similar construction is used for referring to the innate qualities of a person. Thus, you could also say: Tá comhábhair an mhúinteora ann “He has all the makings of a teacher” (i.e. he is innately qualified to become one). And, while ar refers to (notionally transient) diseases (tá slaghdán orm), refers to permanent invalidity: tá cam reilige ann “he is club-footed”.

Another preposition used in this way is ar. It is most typically used when we suggest relative position, and it can be used when the noun is definite and qualified by a superlative adjective construction:

Tá sé ar fhir chróga na hÉireann “he is one of Ireland’s [most] courageous men” (the superlative is here notional, but not needed in the construction; word for word it means “he is among the courageous men of Ireland”)

Tá sé ar na fir is cróga in Éirinn “he is among – i.e. one of – the most courageous men in Ireland”. Note that we can’t have the genitive form here, because the definite article is a necessary part of the superlative construction, and a definite genitive cannot follow a definite noun. We work around this problem by using in Éirinn “in Ireland” rather than the genitive form.

Tá sé ar an bhfear is cróga in Éirinn “he is the most courageous man in Ireland”. This is the “relative position” use of ar, which we see even in the following:

Tá sé ar fhear chomh cróga is a rugadh in Éirinn riamh “He is as courageous a man as ever was born in Ireland”.

My old list of recommended readings in Irish – now with added comments and recommendations

I guess my old friends remember this list of recommended readings – books by native speakers, folklore and similar stuff. If you wonder what you should read in Irish to acquire a good command of the traditional language, this should help you. The list is somewhat dated now – there is a lot of good stuff that should be added. I am going to publish reviews of other good and interesting books.

TÍR CHONAILL – ULAIDH (Donegal – Ulster)

‘AC FHIONNLAOICH, Seán: Scéal Ghaoth Dobhair. Foilseacháin Náisiúnta Teoranta, Baile Átha Cliath 1981 (stair áitiúil) Gaoth Dobhair

(This is a history of the Gaoth Dobhair area in Donegal. The language is relatively standardized, although it still shows strong influence from local dialect.)

MAC A’ BHAIRD, Proinsias: Cogar san Fharraige. Scéim na Scol in Árainn Mhóir, 1937-1938. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2002 (béaloideas) Árainn Mhór

(A small book of folklore.)

MAC CIONAOITH, Maeleachlainn: Seanchas Rann na Feirste – Is fann guth an éin a labhras leis féin. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2005 (béaloideas) Rann na Feirste

(Folklore and other stuff, with CD’s to illustrate the dialectal pronunciation in Donegal.)

MAC CUMHAILL, Fionn (= Mánus): Na Rosa go Brách. An Gúm, Baile Átha Cliath 1997 (úrscéal) Na Rosa
Slán Leat, a Mhaicín. Úrscéal do Dhaoine Óga. An Gúm, Baile Átha Cliath 1998 (úrscéal) Na Rosa
Gura Slán le m’Óige. Oifig an tSoláthair, Baile Átha Cliath 1974 (úrscéal) Na Rosa

(Mánus “Fionn” Mac Cumhaill was a sentimental, religious writer of the kind they don’t make anymore. However, his Irish is beautiful Donegal dialect, and his books are warmly recommended as source of good language.)

MAC GABHANN, Micí: Rotha Mór an tSaoil. Seán Ó hEochaidh a scríobh, Proinsias Ó Conluain a chuir in eagar. Cló IarChonnachta, Indreabhán 1996/1997 (dírbheathaisnéis) Ulaidh

(This is a well-known book about an Irish migrant’s quest for the gold fields in Klondike. It is one of the most interesting and thrilling Gaeltacht autobiographies. Also the first ever Irish-language book to mention Finns, as far as I know.)

MAC GIOLLA DOMHNAIGH, Gearóid agus Gearóid STOCKMAN (Eag.): Athchló Uladh. Comhaltas Uladh, Béal Feirste 1991 (béaloideas) Oirthear Uladh: Aontroim, Reachrainn

(This one includes material both in Donegal Irish and in defunct East Ulster dialects. Interesting, but might be more for the scholar than the general learner.)

MAC GRIANNA, Seosamh: An Druma Mór. An Gúm, Baile Átha Cliath 1991 (úrscéal) Na Rosa
Pádraic Ó Conaire agus Aistí Eile. An Gúm, Baile Átha Cliath 1986 (aistí) Na Rosa
Dá mBíodh Ruball ar an Éan. An Gúm, Baile Átha Cliath 1992 (úrscéal gan chríochnú) Na Rosa
Mo Bhealach Féin. An Gúm, Baile Átha Cliath 1997 (dírbheathaisnéis) Na Rosa

(Seosamh Mac Grianna is the greatest modern writer of Ulster Irish, and his books are edited in a more reader-friendly way than his brother’s. Everybody should read him.)

MAC MEANMAN, Seán Bán: An Chéad Mhám. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1990 (gearrscéalta) Lár Thír Chonaill
An Dara Mám. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1991 (gearrscéalta) Lár Thír Chonaill
An Tríú Mám. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1992 (aistí) Lár Thír Chonaill
Cnuasach Céad Conlach. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1989 (béaloideas) Lár Thír Chonaill

(Seán – or Seaghán – Bán Mac Meanman writes mostly folklore-ish stories in a heavily dialectal Irish. I have derived both enjoyment and learning from his books, but he sometimes uses literary archaisms which do not feel natural in modern Ulster Irish, especially noting that some of his Anglicisms are rather unacceptable. This creates a somewhat untidy impression. However, his rich Ulster vocabulary should be duly noted.)

McGLINCHEY, CHARLES: An Fear Deireanach den tSloinneadh. Patrick Kavanagh a bhreac síos. Eag. Desmond Kavanagh agus Nollaig Mac Congáil. Arlen House, Gaillimh 2002 (dírbheathaisnéis) Inis Eoghain

(This is an abortive autobiography in a now-defunct dialect, but perfectly readable if you know Ulster Irish.)

NIC AODHÁIN, Medhbh Fionnuala (Eag.): Báitheadh iadsan agus tháinig mise. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1993 (finscéalta) Tír Chonaill

(This is a nice book of folklore that I used and perused a lot as an intermediate learner. However, the spelling is somewhat untidy and inconsistent.)

NIC GIOLLA BHRÍDE, Cáit: Stairsheanchas Ghaoth Dobhair. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1996/1997 (seanchas, béaloideas, cuimhní cinn) Na Rosa

(A compact collection of folklore stories from and personal memories of the Rosses in Donegal. The language is quite standard-friendly.)

Ó BAOIGHILL, Pádraig: An Coileach Troda agus scéalta eile. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1993 (gearrscéalta) Na Rosa
Óglach na Rosann. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1994 (beathaisnéis) Na Rosa
Cuimhní ar Dhochartaigh Ghleann Fhinne. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1994 (aistí beathaisnéise) Na Rosa
Nally as Maigh Eo. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1998 (beathaisnéis) Na Rosa
Gaeltacht Thír Chonaill – Ó Ghleann go Fánaid. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2000 (seanchas áitiúil) Na Rosa
Srathóg Feamnaí agus Scéalta Eile. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2001 (gearrscéalta) Na Rosa
Ceann Tìre/Earraghàidheal. Ár gComharsanaigh Ghaelacha. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2003 (leabhar taistil)
Amhráin Hiúdaí Fheidhlimí agus Laoithe Fiannaíochta as Rann na Feirste. Pádraig Ó Baoighill a chuir in eagar, Mánus Ó Baoill a chóirigh an ceol. Preas Uladh, Muineachán 2001
Gasúr Beag Bhaile na gCreach. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2004
– (Eag.) Faoi Scáth na Mucaise. Béaloideas Ghaeltachtaí Imeallacha Thír Chonaill. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2005

(Pádraig Ó Baoighill is a contemporary writer from Donegal, who has been a huge influence on me. His Irish isn’t always free from somewhat unacceptable Anglicisms, but it is vintage Gaeltacht Irish and you could do worse than reading him. His books include biographies of nationalist heroes, folklore, travelogues, and short stories.)

Ó BAOILL, Dónall P. (Eag.):Amach as Ucht na Sliabh, Imleabhar 1. Cumann Staire agus Seanchais Ghaoth Dobhair i gcomhar le Comharchumann Forbartha Ghaoth Dobhair. Gaoth Dobhair 1992 (béaloideas) Gaoth Dobhair
…Imleabhar 2. Cumann Staire agus Seanchais Ghaoth Dobhair i gcomhar le Comharchumann Forbartha Gh. D. Gaoth Dobhair 1996 (béaloideas) Gaoth Dobhair

(These two folklore collections are in vintage Donegal Irish, although somewhat marred by misspellings. If you work your way through them, though – especially the first one, which consists mostly of stories – you will acquire a formidable command of the dialect.)

Ó COLM, Eoghan: Toraigh na dTonn. Cló IarChonnachta, Indreabhán 1995 (cuimhní cinn, stair áitiúil) Toraigh/Machaire an Rabhartaigh

(This is a book about Tory Island in Donegal. I kept reading and rereading my own copy until it was completely in tatters. I am still waiting for the publisher to issue a reprint, because the book is interesting, at times memorable and fun. There is some information about the local dialect, but the book is mostly in a rather standardized Irish.)

Ó DONAILL, Eoghan: Scéal Hiúdaí Sheáinín. An Gúm, Baile Átha Cliath 1997 (beathaisnéis agus béaloideas) Na Rosa

(This is – let it be admitted – not a particularly good book: it includes both autobiographical chapters and folklore stories, and you don’t always know which kind of stuff you are reading. In fact, it might feel somewhat surrealistic to think you are reading a Gaeltacht autobiography and then come across obviously supernatural folklore stuff! However, it is good Ulster Irish, so you are advised to read it and take comprehensive notes. But it might feel tedious.)

Ó DONAILL, Niall: Na Glúnta Rosannacha. Oifig an tSoláthair, Baile Átha Cliath 1974 (stair áitiúil) Na Rosa
Seanchas na Féinne. An Gúm, Baile Átha Cliath 1998 (miotaseolaíocht) Na Rosa

(Niall Ó Donaill is well known as lexicographer. Na Glúnta Rosannacha is a book of local history, printed in Gaelic characters but in the modern orthography. Seanchas na Féinne is a retelling of the Fenian tales in modern Irish, but the style is somewhat archaic and peppered with old-fashioned words. It is good for your Irish, but personally I prefer folklore versions of the myths.)

Ó GALLACHÓIR, Pádraig: Seachrán na Mic Uí gCorra. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2008 (úrscéal)

(Pádraig Ó Gallachóir is a contemporary writer of tales with a mysterious atmosphere. I confess I still don’t know what to say about this book. But his Irish is quite good and you are advised to read him.)

Ó GALLCHÓIR, Tomás: Séimidh agus scéalta eile. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1996 Na Rosa

(This is supposed to be a collection of humorous stories. They aren’t as fun as they should be, but they are written in a superb Irish and are good reading for the learner.)

Ó GRIANNA, Séamus (= “Máire”): Caisleáin Óir. Cló Mercier, Baile Átha Cliath 1994 (úrscéal) Na Rosa
Castar na Daoine ar a Chéile. Scríbhinní Mháire 1. Eagarthóir: Nollaig Mac Congáil. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2002 (úrscéal, altanna) Na Rosa
Cith is Dealán. Cló Mercier, Baile Átha Cliath agus Corcaigh 1994 (gearrscéalta) Na Rosa
Cora Cinniúna 1-2. An Gúm, Baile Átha Cliath 1993 (gearrscéalta) Na Rosa
Cúl le Muir agus scéalta eile. Oifig an tSoláthair, Baile Átha Cliath 1961 (gearrscéalta) Na Rosa
Na Blianta Corracha. Scríbhinní Mháire 2. Eagarthóir: Nollaig Mac Congáil. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2003 (altanna) Na Rosa
Nuair a Bhí Mé Óg. Cló Mercier, Baile Átha Cliath agus Corcaigh 1986 (dírbheathaisnéis) Na Rosa
An Sean-Teach. Oifig an tSoláthair, Baile Átha Cliath 1968 (úrscéal) Na Rosa
Tairngreacht Mhiseoige. An Gúm, Baile Átha Cliath 1995 (úrscéal) Na Rosa

(Séamus “Máire” Ó Grianna is the quintessential Gaeltacht writer, whose Irish is perfect. I’d recommend especially his book of childhood memories, Nuair a Bhí Mé Óg.)

Ó LAIGHIN, Donnchadh C.: An Bealach go Dún Ulún. Scéalta Seanchais agus Amhráin Nuachumtha as Cill Charthaigh. Cló Iar-Chonnachta, Indreabhán, Conamara 2004 Cill Charthaigh

(This is basically a collection of songs in Irish, such as Irish-language translations of well-known ballads, with some folklore stories added. The language is standard-friendly, but with obvious Ulster slant.)

Ó SEARCAIGH, Cathal: Seal i Neipeal. Cló Iar-Chonnachta, Indreabhán, Conamara 2004 (leabhar taistil) Gort an Choirce

(This is Cathal Ó Searcaigh’s beautifully illustrated book about his travels in Nepal. Interesting, and with a subject matter until recently not typical of Irish-language literature.)

Ó SEARCAIGH, Séamus: Beatha Cholm Cille. An Gúm, Baile Átha Cliath 1997 Na Rosa
Laochas – Scéalta as an tSeanlitríocht. An Gúm, Baile Átha Cliath 1945/1984/1996 (miotaseolaíocht) Na Rosa

(Both books – the life of St Colm Cille and the retellings of old myths – are good Irish and should be studied as such. However, they – especially Laochas – are not of very high literary quality.)

ÓN tSEANAM ANALL – Scéalta Mhicí Bháin Uí Bheirn. Mícheál Mac Giolla Easbuic a chuir in eagar. Cló Iar-Chonnachta, Indreabhán, Conamara 2008. Cill Chárthaigh

(This is a collection of folklore stories, in a relatively standard-friendly Ulster Irish.)

SCIAN A CAITHEADH LE TOINN Scéalta agus amhráin as Inis Eoghain agus cuimhne ar Ghaeltacht Iorrais. Cosslett Ó Cuinn a bhailigh, Aodh Ó Canainn agus Seosamh Watson a chóirigh. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1990 (béaloideas) Tír Eoghain

(These stories are in a defunct dialect, and the spelling does become a problem for a learner. However, the language is not particularly complicated – in fact, it is somewhat arid.)

UA CNÁIMHSÍ, Pádraig: Idir an Dá Ghaoth. Sáirséal Ó Marcaigh, Baile Átha Cliath 1997 (stair áitiúil) Na Rosa

(This is a modern-style history of Donegal Gaeltacht, in a relatively easy and standard-friendly Irish.)

CONAMARA, ÁRAINN, MAIGH EO – CONNACHTA (Connemara, Aran, Mayo – Connacht)

ÁR nOILEÁN – TUILE ‘S TRÁ. Bailiúchán Bhéaloideas Árann. Mná Fiontracha, gan dáta. ISBN 0-9546061-1-6

(This is a collection of material about Aran Islands. I found especially the information about Máirtín Ó Direáin, the modern poet, quite interesting.)

BECKER, Heinrich (Eag.): I mBéal na Farraige. I gComhar le hOllscoil Wuppertal (Bergische Universität) sa Ghearmáin agus le hOllscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh. Cló IarChonnachta, Indreabhán 1997 (béaloideas) Conamara/Cois Fhairrge

(This is a collection of seaweed folklore (!). Believe it or not, but some of the stories are even fun.)

BREATHNACH, Pádraic: Buicéad Poitín agus scéalta eile. Clódhanna Teoranta, Baile Átha Cliath 1978/1986 (gearrscéalta) Maigh Cuilinn

Bean Aonair agus scéalta eile. Clódhanna Teoranta, Baile Átha Cliath 1984 (gearrscéalta) Maigh Cuilinn
Ar na Tamhnacha. Clódhanna Teoranta, Baile Átha Cliath 1987 (gearrscéalta) Maigh Cuilinn
Gróga Cloch. Cló IarChonnachta, Indreabhán 1990 (úrscéal) Maigh Cuilinn
An Pincín agus scéalta eile. Cló IarChonnachta, Indreabhán 1996 (gearrscéalta) Maigh Cuilinn
As na Cúlacha. Cló IarChonnachta, Indreabhán 1998 (úrscéal) Maigh Cuilinn
– (Eag.)Maigh Cuilinn – a Táisc is a Tuairisc. Cló Chonamara, Indreabhán 1986 (béaloideas) Maigh Cuilinn

(Pádraic Breathnach is a contemporary writer, whose Irish is mostly simple and easy to read. His own books are quite fine, but you should steer clear of his Irish translation of “Angela’s Ashes”, which is in my opinion a complete failure. I cannot understand that someone whose own books are so good – especially As na Cúlacha – could produce such bad Irish. But then, translating and writing are two different skills. I am better as a translator into Irish than as an original writer, and I guess it’s the other way round for Breathnach.)

DE BHALDRAITHE, Tomás (Eag.): Seanchas Thomáis Laighléis. An Clóchomhar Teoranta, Baile Átha Cliath 1977/1981 (béaloideas) Baile an Chláir

(This is a collection of folklore from Claregalway. Mostly straightforward Connacht Irish, but interestingly, in this dialect the word gúm – you remember An Gúm, the publishing house? – exists as a real word for “plan, scheme”.)

IDIR MNÁ – Scríbhneoirí Ban Ros Muc. Pléaráca Chonamara, Ros Muc 1995 (cuimhní cinn, seanchas, béaloideas) Ros Muc, Conamara

(A collection of various texts in Connacht Irish by and about women. Both memories and folklore.)

MAC AMHLAIGH, Dónall: Beoir Bhaile agus scéalta eile. An Clóchomhar Teoranta, Baile Átha Cliath 1981 Conamara
Dialann Deoraí. Réamhrá le Niall Ó Dónaill. An Clóchomhar Teoranta, 1960/1966/1970. (dírbheathaisnéis) Conamara

(Dónall Mac Amhlaigh was a pioneering journalist, whose style is, well, journalistic – easy to read and natural. He was not a native speaker, something I found out only recently. His Dialann Deoraí was one of the first books ever I could read and finish in Irish.)

MAC AN IOMAIRE, Séamas: Cladaí Chonamara. An Gúm, Baile Átha Cliath 1985 (seanchas) Conamara

(A Connemara fisherman reveals the secrets of his trade, as well as his own knowledge of local nature. I think this book could interest even a biologist. I remember having picked up a lot of fishing terms from it.)

MAC CON IOMAIRE, Liam: Breandán Ó hEithir – Iomramh Aonair. Cló IarChonnachta, Indreabhán 2000 (beathaisnéis) Conamara – Árainn

(A biography of Breandán Ó hEithir the writer.)

MAC LOCHLAINN, Alf: Fiáin na Bocs a Bhí ann an tAm Sin. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1999 (stair áitiúil) Conamara

(An easy read about local history,)

MAG RUAIDHRÍ, Mícheál: Le Linn m’Óige. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2001 (cuimhní cinn) Tuaisceart Mhaigh Eo

(The story of a Mayoman who knew Patrick Pearse, told in Northern Mayo dialect. Somewhat poorly edited – you sometimes come upon incomprehensible words in the old spelling.)

MAG UIDHIR, Séamas: Fánaíocht i gContae Mhaigh Eo. An Gúm, Baile Átha Cliath 1994 Tuaisceart Mhaigh Eo

(Another republished old book in Northern Mayo Irish. Two young men travelling in Mayo in the nineteen twenties and telling about local traditions. Beautiful Mayo dialect.)

NÍ MHAINNÍN, Cáit: Cuimhní Cinn Cháit Ní Mhainnín. Cló IarChonnachta, Indreabhán 2000 (dírbheathaisnéis) Conamara

(A traditional-style Gaeltacht autobiography in beautiful Connacht Irish.)

Ó BAOILL, Pádraig (Eag.): Glórtha ár Sinsear. Béaloideas Oirdheisceart na Gaillimhe. I gcomhar le Loughrea History Project. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2005. (béaloideas) (Oirthear na Gaillimhe)

(This is a collection of folklore stories, which I found interesting and at times even kind of scary.)

Ó CADHAIN, Máirtín: Athnuachan. Coiscéim. Baile Átha Cliath 1995 (úrscéal) Conamara
An Braon Broghach. An Gúm, Baile Átha Cliath 1991 (gearrscéalta) Conamara
Barbed Wire. Arna cur in eagar ag Cathal Ó hÁinle. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2002 (úrscéal) Conamara
Caiscín. Altanna san Irish Times 1953/56. Arna gcur in eagar ag Aindrias Ó Cathasaigh. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1998 (iriseoireacht) Conamara
Cois Caoláire. Sáirséal – Ó Marcaigh, Baile Átha Cliath 2004 (géarrscéalta) Conamara
Cré na Cille. Sáirséal agus Dill, Baile Átha Cliath 1949/1965 (úrscéal) Conamara
Idir Shúgradh agus Dáiríre. Oifig an tSoláthair, Baile Átha Cliath 1975 (gearrscéalta) Conamara
Tone Inné agus Inniu. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1999 (stair, polaitíocht) Conamara
An tSraith dhá Tógáil. Sáirséal agus Dill, Baile Átha Cliath 1970/1981 (gearrscéalta) Conamara
An tSraith Tógtha. Sáirséal agus Dill, Baile Átha Cliath 1977 (gearrscéalta) Conamara
An tSraith ar Lár. Sáirséal Ó Marcaigh, Baile Átha Cliath 1986 (gearrscéalta) Conamara
Ó Cadhain i bhFeasta. Eag. Seán Ó Laighin. Clódhanna Teoranta, Baile Átha Cliath 1990 (aistí, iriseoireacht, stair, polaitíocht, ábhar ilghnéitheach) Conamara
An Ghaeilge Bheo – Destined to Pass. Eagarthóir: Seán Ó Laighin. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2002. (taighde agus tuairimí) Conamara (Partly written in English.)
Caithfear Éisteacht! Aistí Mháirtín Uí Chadhain in Comhar. Eagarthóir: Liam Prút. Comhar Teoranta, Baile Átha Cliath 1999 (aistí) Conamara

(Máirtín Ó Cadhain is the quintessential European intellectual among Irish writers. Linguistically though he was very ambitious and difficult, and it takes some time to get accustomed to his rich language – basically he seems to have attempted to turn his Connemara dialect into a literary medium in itself, jazzing it up with occasional borrowings from other dialects and older literary Irish. He is worth reading, but don’t despair if you find him unreadable to start with.)

Ó CAITHLÍN, Antoine (“Tony Catherine Antoine William”): A Chomhairle Féin do Mhac Anna. Cló IarChonnachta, Indreabhán 1999 (béaloideas) Oileán Acla
Seanfhocail as Acaill. Cló IarChonnachta, Indreabhán 1995 (béaloideas) Oileán Acla

(Small folklore books, easy short texts for the learner, as well as proverbs.)

Ó CATHÁIN, Séamas agus Caitlín Uí Sheighin (Eag): A Mhuintir Dhú Chaocháin, Labhraigí Feasta! Cló Chonamara, Indreabhán 1987 (béaloideas) Tuaisceart Mhaigh Eo
– (Eag): Le Gradam is le Spraoi. Cló IarChonnachta, Indreabhán 1996 (béaloideas) Tuaisceart Mhaigh Eo

(Two important collections of folklore in Northern Mayo Irish, for those who want to learn this interesting and, sadly, almost extinct dialect.)

Ó CEALLAIGH, Colm: Brídín. Cló Iar-Chonnachta, Indreabhán 1995 (úrscéal) Conamara
Meilt Mhuilte Dé. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2002 (úrscéal) Conamara
Clann na Feannóige. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2004 (gearrscéalta) Conamara

(Colm Ó Ceallaigh is a contemporary writer of riveting stories, who should be read because of his, well, readability. Unfortunately, Meilt Mhuilte Dé is poorly edited.)

Ó CEANNABHÁIN, Peadar (Eag.): Éamon a Búrc – Scéalta. Leabhar Thaighde, an dóú himleabhar is dhá scór. An Clóchomhar, Baile Átha Cliath 1983/2000 (béaloideas) Conamara

(This is a comprehensive collection of folklore, not always that easy to read.)

Ó COINCHEANAINN, Peadar: Inis Meáin – seanchas agus scéalta. Bill Doyle a mhaisigh, Pádraig Ó Siadhail a chóirigh an t-eagrán seo. An Gúm, Baile Átha Cliath 1993 (srair áitiúil) Oileáin Árann

(A reissued old book about Inishmaan, in beautiful Irish.)

Ó CONAOLA, Dara: Amuigh Liom Féin. Ceardshiopa Inis Oírr Teoranta, Inis Oírr 1988 (scéal) Oileáin Árann
Cor in Aghaidh an Chaim. Ceardshiopa Inis Oírr Teoranta, Inis Oírr 1983 (scéal) Oileáin Árann

(Small, easy reads for learners.)

Ó CONGHAILE, Mícheál: Mac an tSagairt. Cló Iar-Chonnachta, Béal an Daingin 1986 (gearrscéalta) Conamara
Seachrán Jeaic Sheáin Johnny. Cló Iar-Chonnachta, Indreabhán 2002 (úrscéal) Conamara

(Mícheál Ó Conghaile writes beautiful contemporary Irish, but some of his themes might be disturbing. Seachrán Jeaic Sheáin Johnny is a short novel about an old man’s infatuation with a young girl, told in an unreal, even surrealistic style.)

Ó CONGHAILE, Seán: Cois Fharraige le mo Linnse. Clódhanna Teoranta, Baile Átha Cliath 1974/1984 (seanchas) Conamara

(This is  an eminently readable book about old Connemara life, but it is linguistically quite demanding. I was already an old hand when I read it, but found it sometimes difficult and had to browse old Ó Donaill a lot.)

Ó CORBÁIN, Seán: Daoine Dathúla an Iarthair. Cló Chaisil, Baile Átha Cliath 2005. Oirthear na Gaillimhe

(Another autobiographical Gaeltacht book, somewhat marred by its depressing cultural pessimism.)

Ó CURRAOIN, Seán (Eag.): Iascairín Chloch na Cora – Scéalta agus Seanchas ó Bhearna agus na Forbacha. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2000 Bearna – Na Forbacha

(Another typical collection of folklore. Relatively easy read, on the other hand linguistically interesting, I seem to recall.)

Ó DUINNSHLÉIBHE, Tomás: Taidhgín. Cló IarChonnachta, Indreabhán 1995 (úrscéal) Tuar Mhic Éadaigh

(A novel in Tourmakeady Irish, somewhat old-fashioned in style, but the language is very beautiful.)

Ó FINNEADHA, Cóil Learaí: Tórramh an Bhardail agus Scéalta Eile. An Gúm, Baile Átha Cliath 1995. (gearrscéalta) Conamara

(A collection of funny stories in natural Gaeltacht Irish. Quite delightful!)

Ó FLAITHEARTA, Liam: Dúil. Sáirséal agus Dill, Baile Átha Cliath 1970 (gearrscéalta) Oileáin Árann

(Liam O’Flaherty wrote mostly in English. His Irish short stories are difficult and linguistically demanding.)

Ó GIOLLAGÁIN, Conchúir (Eag.): Stairsheanchas Mhicil Chonraí – Ón Máimín go Ráth Cairn. Cló IarChonnachta, Indreabhán 1999 (béaloideas, cuimhní cinn, dírbheathaisnéis) Ráth Cairn

(An Irish-speaking man’s autobiography in a conversational style showing strong English influence, but nevertheless interesting.)

Ó GRÁINNE, Diarmuid (Eag.): Máire Phatch Mhóir Uí Churraoin – A Scéal Féin. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1995/1997 (dírbheathaisnéis) Conamara

(A small, traditional Gaeltacht autobiography.)

Ó hEITHIR, Breandán: An Chaint sa tSráidbhaile. Eagarthóir: Caoilfhionn Nic Pháidín. Comhar Teoranta, Baile Átha Cliath 1991 (iriseoireacht) Oileáin Árann
Lig Sinn i gCathú. Sáirséal Ó Marcaigh, Baile Átha Cliath 1983 (úrscéal) Oileáin Árann
Sionnach ar mo Dhuán. Sáirséal Ó Marcaigh, Baile Átha Cliath 1988 (úrscéal) Oileáin Árann

(Breandán Ó hEithir was an Aran islander and a journalist with an easy style comparable to Dónall Mac Amhlaidh. His journalism and novels are eminently readable.)

Ó LAIGHIN, Pádraig G.: Bánú Phartraí agus Thuar Mhic Éadaigh. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1997 (stair áitiúil) Deisceart Mhaigh Eo

(This is a small book of local history, written in a very standard Irish.)

Ó MÁILLE, Tomás: An Béal Beo. An Gúm, Baile Átha Cliath 2002 (teanga)
An tIomaire Rua. Cogadh na Saoirse i dTuaisceart Chonamara. Máirtín Ó Cadhain a chóirigh an t-eagrán nua seo. An Gúm, Baile Atha Cliath 2007. (stair)

(An Béal Beo is a guide to Gaeltacht Irish, which should be studied and memorized by every advanced learner. An tIomaire Rua describes the Anglo-Irish war in Connemara, but regrettably the book was never finished. It is superb Irish, but uses some unnecessary and unintelligible archaisms.)

Ó NEACHTAIN, Joe Steve: Clochmhóin. Cló IarChonnachta, Indreabhán 1998 (gearrscéalta) Conamara
Scread Mhaidine. Cló IarChonnachta, Indreabhán 2003 (úrscéal)
Lámh Láidir. Cló IarChonnachta, Indreabhán 2005 (úrscéal)

(Joe Steve’s short stories are somewhat too ambitious, but his novels are Maeve Binchy-esque page-turners.)

Ó RÁIGHNE, Mícheál: Bóithrín na hAille Báine. Cló IarChonnachta, Indreabhán, Conamara 1994 (úrscéal) Conamara
Deoir ón tSúil. Cló IarChonnachta, Indreabhán, Conamara 1993 (úrscéal) Conamara
Nach Iomaí Cor sa Saol. Cló IarChonnachta, Indreabhán, Conamara 2002 (úrscéal) Conamara

(The other two books aren’t very special, but Bóithrín na hAille Báine is unadulterated, hysterical fun in Connemara Irish.)

Ó RUADHÁIN, Seán: Pádhraic Mháire Bhán. An Gúm, Baile Átha Cliath 1994 Tuaisceart Mhaigh Eo

(The description of a Mayo boy growing up. While the book as a whole is too fragmentary, it is packed with interesting, even thrilling scenes. The language is great and should be studied by every advanced learner.)

RIDIRE AN GHÁIRE DHUIBH agus scéalta eile. Mícheál Mac Ruairí a d’inis. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1993 Tuaisceart Mhaigh Eo

(Three folklore stories in a beautiful, but at times quirky and difficult Mayo dialect.)

SCÉALTA MHÁIRTÍN NEILE, bailiúchán scéalta ó Árainn. Holger Pedersen a thóg síos, Ole Munch-Pedersen a chuir in eagar. Comhairle Bhéaloideasa Éireann, An Coláiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath 1994 (béaloideas) Oileáin Árann

(These are folklore stories from Aran Islands. However, there are unacceptable Anglicisms, and for a native speaker’s Irish, the style is not very good.)

CIARRAÍ, CO. CHORCAÍ, CLÉIRE, AN RINN – AN MHUMHAIN (Kerry, Cork, Cape Clear, Ring of Waterford – Munster)

BREATNACH, Nioclás: Ar Bóthar Dom. Coláiste na Rinne, Rinn Ó gCuanach 1998 (béaloideas) Gaeltacht na Rinne

(This is a collection of folklore from Ring of Waterford. The language is dialectal and somewhat difficult. However, there is a good vocabulary list which you will doubtlessly need.)

CEILIÚRADH AN BHLASCAOID 1: BLÁITHÍN – FLOWER. In eagar ag Mícheál de Mórdha. An Sagart, An Daingean 1998 Ciarraí

CEILIÚRADH AN BHLASCAOID 2: TOMÁS Ó CRIOMHTHAIN 1855-1937. In eagar ag Máire Ní Chéilleachair. An Sagart, An Daingean 1998 Ciarraí

CEILIÚRADH AN BHLASCAOID 3: PEIG SAYERS SCÉALAÍ 1873-1958. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1999 Ciarraí

CEILIÚRADH AN BHLASCAOID 4: SEOIRSE MAC THOMÁIS 1903-1987. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2000 Ciarraí

CEILIÚRADH AN BHLASCAOID 5: MUIRIS Ó SÚILLEABHÁIN 1904-1950. In eagar ag Máire Ní Chéilleachair. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2000 Ciarraí

CEILIÚRADH AN BHLASCAOID 6: OIDEACHAS AGUS OILIÚINT AR AN mBLASCAOD MÓR. In eagar ag Máire Ní Chéilleachair. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2001. Ciarraí

CEILIÚRADH AN BHLASCAOID 7: FÓMHAR NA MARA. In eagar ag Máire Ní Chéilleachair. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2004. Ciarraí.

CEILIÚRADH AN BHLASCAOID 8: TRÉIGEAN AN OILEÁIN. In eagar ag Máire Ní Chéilleachair. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2005. Ciarraí

(Ceiliúradh an Bhlascaoid is a collection of articles published annually, which includes material both in English and Irish about the history and culture of the Blasket Island, the home of Peig Sayers and Tomás Ó Criomhthain.)

de RÓISTE, Proinsias: Binsín Luachra. Curtha in eagar ag Dáithí Ó hÓgáin. An Clóchomhar, Baile Átha Cliath 2001 Contae Luimnigh (gearrscéalta agus seanchas)

(This book is fine Irish, but as far as I remember, the stories in it are not authentic Irish-language folklore, but back-translated from English.)

GUNN, Marion (Eag.): Céad Fáilte go Cléire. An Clóchomhar Teoranta, Baile Átha Cliath 1990 (seanchas, béaloideas) Oileán Cléire

(This is a collection of folklore material from Cape Clear Island/Cléire, and should be studied by everybody interested in the dialect, or just in good Irish.)

MAC AN tSÍTHIGH, Domhnall: An Baile i bhFad Siar. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2000 (stair áitiúil, seanchas, dinnseanchas, cuimhní cinn) Corca Dhuibhne

(This is a typical autobiographical book from the Gaeltacht, interesting for linguistic reasons. I seem to recall that there is good concrete language in this one.)

MAC SÍTHIGH, Domhnall: Fan Inti. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliatj 2003/2004 (seanchas bádóireachta) Corca Dhuibhne

(Fan Inti is a useful book about boating and boatmaking in the Gaeltacht, but the writer has one linguistic quirk that is more typical of non-Gaeltacht Irish.)

NÍ CHÉILEACHAIR, Síle, agus Donncha Ó CÉILEACHAIR: Bullaí Mhártain. Sáirséal agus Dill, Baile Átha Cliath 1955/1969 (gearrscéalta) Cúil Aodha

(An uneven collection of short stories. The title story I have always liked, those, because of its strong language and realistic portrayal of Gaeltacht people.)

NÍ FHAOLÁIN, Áine Máire (Eag.): Scéalta agus Seanchas Phádraig Uí Ghrífín. Dán agus Tallann 4. An Sagart, An Daingean 1995 (béaloideas) Ciarraí

(This is a good collection of folklore, but its spelling is so dialect-based that it’ll drive you nuts. It almost did me, too.)

NÍ GHUITHÍN, Máire: Bean an Oileáin. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1986 (seanchas, dírbheathaisnéis) Ciarraí/Na Blascaoidí

(A small collection of memories from Kerry, as a woman saw it. Quite good if Peig is still too heavy for you.)

NÍ SHÚILLEABHÁIN, Eibhlín: Cín Lae Eibhlín Ní Shúilleabháin. Eagarthóir: Máiréad Ní Longsigh. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2000 Ciarraí/Na Blascaoidí

(A young woman’s diary from the Blasket Island. Very different from Peig in atmosphere and content.)

Ó CAOIMH, Séamas: An Sléibhteánach. In eagar ag Éamon Ó Connchúir, cóirithe don chló ag Pádraig Ó Fiannachta. An Sagart, Maigh Nuad 1989. (dírbheathaisnéis) Tiobraid Árann

(A Gaeltacht autobiography by one of the last speakers of Tipperary dialect, which is very similar to Waterford Irish. At times quite interesting.)

Ó CEARNAIGH, Seán Sheáin (= Seán Sheáin Í Chearnaigh): An tOileán a Tréigeadh. Sáirséal agus Dill, Baile Átha Cliath 1974 (dírbheathaisnéis) Ciarraí/Na Blascaoidí

(A requiem to the Blasket Island, full of melancholy. Necessary reading if you are into Blaskets literature.)

Ó CINNÉIDE, Tomás: Ar Seachrán. An Sagart, Maigh Nuad 1996 (dírbheathaisnéis) Ciarraí

(This is a Gaeltacht autobiography that mentions the arrival of the hippies to Haight-Ashbury. Seriously!)

Ó CÍOBHÁIN, Ger: An Giorria san Aer. In eagar ag Tadhg Ó Dúshláine. An Sagart, Maigh Nuad 1992 (béaloideas agus cuimhní cinn) Ciarraí/Corca Dhuibhne

(One of the first ever books I have read in Irish, so I am probably not very good at assessing its literary or other value. The language is easy enough if you are familiar with Kerry Irish.)

Ó CÍOBHÁIN, Pádraig: Le Gealaigh. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1991 (gearrscéalta) Ciarraí/Corca Dhuibhne
An Gealas i Lár na Léithe. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1992 (úrscéal) Ciarraí/Corca Dhuibhne
An Grá faoi Cheilt. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1992 (gearrscéalta)Ciarraí/Corca Dhuibhne
Desiderius a Dó. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1995 (úrscéal)Ciarraí/Corca Dhuibhne
Ar Gach Maoilinn Tá Síocháin. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1998 (úrscéal)Ciarraí/Corca Dhuibhne
Tá Solas ná hÉagann Choíche. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1999 (gearrscéalta)Ciarraí/Corca Dhuibhne

(Pádraig Ó Cíobháin is a man of very high literary ambitions, who writes Kerry Irish. I must admit much of his work is rather highbrow even for me. The book I have really enjoyed is the novel An Gealas i Lár na Léithe.)

Ó CRIOMHTHAIN, Seán: Lá Dár Saol. An Gúm, Baile Átha Cliath 1991 (cuimhní cinn) Ciarraí/Na Blascaoidí
…agus Tomás: Cleití Gé ón mBlascaod Mór. In eagar ag Pádraig Ó Fiannachta. An Sagart, An Daingean 1997. (seanchas) Ciarraí/Na Blascaoidí

(Seán Ó Criomhthain was the son of Tomás; his autobiographical book Lá dár Saol is in atmosphere very different from Tomas’s. I found it a relatively easy read, but that might be just me.)

Ó CRIOMHTHAIN, Tomás: Allagar na hInise. An Gúm, Baile Átha Cliath 1997 (dírbheathaisnéis) Ciarraí/Na Blascaoidí
An tOileánach. Pádraig Ua Maoileoin a chuir in eagar. Helicon Teoranta/An Comhlacht Oideachais, Baile Átha Cliath 1980 (dírbheathaisnéis) Ciarraí/Na Blascaoidí
Bloghanna ón mBlascaod. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1997Ciarraí/Na Blascaoidí

(Tomás the Islandman’s Irish is rich and he writes about tangible things, so reading his books is good for your Irish. Obviously, it is Kerry Irish with all the verb endings.)

Ó CRÓINÍN, Seán agus Donncha: Seanachas ó Chairbre 1. Comhairle Bhéaloideas Éireann, An Coláiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath 1985 (seanchas) Cairbre, Co. na Corcaí

(This is a collection of maritime folklore in Irish, minimally edited. Also the orthography attempts to reproduce the dialectal pronunciation minutely. Nothing for learners, I am afraid. There never was a second volume, as far as I know.)

Ó hEOGHUSA, Tomás: Solas san Fhuinneog. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2001 (cuimhní cinn) Ciarraí

(A collection of some sort of newspaper columns about “good old” Gaeltacht life. Some of them are interesting because of the folklore-esque content.)

Ó LAOGHAIRE, An tAthair Peadar: Eisirt. Leagan Caighdeánaithe. Longmans, Brún agus Ó Nualláin Teoranta, Baile Átha Cliath, gan dáta. (Miotaseolaíocht) Muscraí/Cúl Aodha
An Cleasaí. Leagan Caighdeánaithe. Longmans, Brún agus Ó Nualláin Teoranta, Baile Átha Cliath, gan dáta. (Miotaseolaíocht) Muscraí/Cúl Aodha
Mo Scéal Féin. Sraith na gClasaiceach, Cló Thalbóid, Baile Átha Cliath 1999 (dírbheathaisnéis) Muscraí/Cúl Aodha
(= UA LAOGHAIRE, Peadar): Séadna. Liam Mac Mathúna a chuir in eagar, Brian Ó Cuív a scríobh an brollach. Carbad, Baile Átha Cliath 1987/1995 (úrscéal/béaloideas) Muscraí/Cúil Aodha

(Peadar Ó Laoghaire is obviously a classic and has had a formative influence upon modern Irish. I found his autobiography quite interesting not just for linguistic reasons; as a programmatically nationalistic book, it is markedly different from a run-of-the-mill Gaeltacht autobiography.)

Ó MURCHÚ, Pádraig: Gort Broc. Scéalta agus Seanchas ó Bhéarra. Máirtín Verling a chóirigh is a chuir in eagar. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1996 (béaloideas, seanchas) Uíbh Ráthach

(This is a comprehensive collection of folklore from Béarra. You should be warned, though, that it incorporates some features typical of terminal speakers’ Irish, i.e. native speakers who haven’t used the language for a long time and who are already forgetting it. Thus, the book should preferably be studied only by very advanced learners.)

Ó MURCHÚ, Tadhg (Eag.): Béarrach Mná ag Caint. Seanchas Mhairéad Ní Mhionacháin. Cló IarChonnachta, Indreabhán 1999 Uíbh Ráthach

(More folklore from the same area. This one is a smaller book, and in better Irish.)

Ó SÉ, Maidhc Dainín:
A Thig Ná Tit orm. Eagrán Nua. C.J. Fallon, Baile Átha Cliath 1995 (cuimhní cinn) Ciarraí
Corcán na dTrí gCos. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1988 (gearrscéalta) Ciarraí
Dochtúir na bPiast. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1993/2000 (úrscéal) Ciarraí
Lilí Frainc. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2001 (úrscéal) Ciarraí
Madraí na nOcht gCos. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1998
Mair, a Chapaill. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1999
Mura mBuafam – Suathfam. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2003 (cuimhní cinn) Ciarraí
Tae le Tae. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1990 (úrscéal) Ciarraí
Idir Dhá Lios. Coiscém, Baile Átha Cliath 2005 (úrscéal) Ciarraí

(Maidhc Dainín Ó Sé is a linguistically and otherwise uneven writer. Much of what he has written is too heavily laced with English – not just English loanwords, but sometimes even unacceptable Anglicisms in syntax – to be a good model for learners. Besides, the gratuitous violence of some of his novels might be too much for you. However, Tae le Tae, Idir dhá Lios, and his reminiscences are quite readable.)

Ó SÍOCHÁIN, Conchúr: Seanchas Chléire. Ciarán Ó Síocháin agus Mícheál Ó Síocháin a chuir i scríbhinn. Oifig an tSoláthair, Baile Átha Cliath 1977 (Dírbheathaisnéis) Oileán Cléire

(A traditional Gaeltacht autobiography. The language is beautiful and rich.)

Ó SÚILLEABHÁIN, Muiris: Fiche Bliain ag Fás. An Sagart, An Daingean 1998 (dírbheathaisnéis) Ciarraí/Na Blascaoidí
Ó Oileán go Cuilleán Eagarthóir: Nuala Uí Aimhirgín. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2000(aistí) Ciarraí/Na Blascaoidí

(Muiris Ó Súilleabháin is a Gaeltacht classic. The collection Ó Oileán go Cuilleán is linguistically interesting, showing how Connemara dialect influences the writer’s original Kerry Irish. Consisting of shorter texts, it is probably less intimidating for the learner than his autobiography.)

Ó SÚILLEABHÁIN, Páid: Ag Coimeád na Síochána. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1995 (cuimhní cinn) Ciarraí

(A Garda’s memories in unadulterated Kerry Irish.)

SAYERS, Peig: Machnamh Seanmhná. An Gúm, Baile Átha Cliath 1992 (dírbheathaisnéis) Ciarraí/Na Blascaoidí
Peig. Tuairisc a thug Peig Sayers ar imeachtaí a beatha féin. Comhlacht Oideachais na hÉireann, Baile Átha Cliath, gan dáta (dírbheathaisnéis) Ciarraí/Na Blascaoidí

(Peig needs no introduction. Personally, I find Machnamh Seanmhná easier to read than his autobiography – Machnamh Seanmhná consists of shorter texts, and some of them I found interesting even as a young learner, such as the portrait of an Irish-speaker from Mexico.)

TYERS, Pádraig: Leoithne Aniar. Cló Dhuibhne, Baile an Fhirtéaraigh 1982 (béaloideas) Ciarraí/Na Blascaoidí
Malairt Beatha. Inné Teoranta, Dún Chaoin 1992 Ciarraí
An tAthair Tadhg. An Sagart, an Daingean 2000 (beathaisnéis) Ciarraí
Abair Leat Joe Daly. An Sagart, an Daingean 1999 (seanchas) Ciarraí
Sliabh gCua m’Óige. An Sagart, an Daingean 2003 (dírbheathaisnéis)

(Pádraig Tyers, as I found out only recently, was not a native speaker. This I found surprising, because his Irish is native-like Munster dialect with a literary polish. He was a folklore collector, and Leoithne Aniar and Malairt Beatha are among the results of this occupation; An tAthair Tadhg is the biography of a priest who promoted Irish; Abair Leat Joe Daly is an interview with a folklore collector; Sliabh gCua m’Óige is Tyers’s autobiography.)

UA CIARMHAIC, Mícheál: Iníon Keevack. An Gúm, Baile Átha Cliath 1996 (úrscéal) Ciarraí
Ríocht na dTonn. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1989 (seanchas) Ciarraí
Guth ón Sceilg. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2000 (gearrscéalta) Ciarraí
An Gabhar sa Teampall. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1986 (creideamh is cráifeacht) Ciarraí

(Mícheál Ua Ciarmhaic was a Gaeltacht writer of a philosophical bent. Iníon Keevack is a Wild West adventure and quite delighful.)

UA MAOILEOIN, Pádraig: Ár Leithéidí Arís. Cnuasach de Shaothar Ilchineálach. Clódhanna Teoranta, Baile Átha Cliath 1978 Ciarraí/Corca Dhuibhne
Bríd Bhán. Sairséal agus Dill, Baile Átha Cliath 1968/1972 (úrscéal)Ciarraí/Corca Dhuibhne
De Réir Uimhreacha. Muintir an Dúna, Baile Átha Cliath 1969 (dírbheathaisnéis)Ciarraí/Corca Dhuibhne
Na hAird ó Thuaidh. Sáirséal agus Dill, Baile Átha Cliath 1960 (stair áitiúil) Ciarraí/Corca Dhuibhne
Ó Thuaidh! Sáirséal Ó Marcaigh, Baile Átha Cliath 1983 (úrscéal)Ciarraí/Corca Dhuibhne
An Stát versus Dugdale. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 2001 (tuairisc) Ciarraí/Corca Dhuibhne

(Pádraig Ua Maoileoin was a Garda and a Gaeltacht man. His novel about the life of the Garda, De Réir Uimhreacha, is both fun and good Irish – not “good Irish” in the traditional seanchas style, but the good Irish of a Gaeltacht man who knows when it is better not to use the traditional seanchas style. Bríd Bhán is a partly funny, partly haunting Gaeltacht novel. Ua Maoileoin’s books about the Gaeltacht are both insightful and subversive, and should be read as an antidote to Peig.)

VERLING, Máirtín (eag.): Leabhar Mhadhc Dháith. Scéalta agus Seanchas ón Rinn. Seosamh Ó Dálaigh, Nioclás Breatnach, Úna Parks agus daoine eile a bhailigh. An Sagart, an Daingean 2007. An Rinn, Co. Phort Láirge

(If you ever wanted to be able to speak about God, the universe and everything in Waterford Irish, this book is for you. It is quite an impressive piece of work. Basically, it is a very comprehensive collection of linguistic and folkloristic material in that particular dialect.)

ILCHANÚNACH – IN SEVERAL DIALECTS

Ó TUATHAIGH, Gearóid, Liam Lillis Ó LAOIRE agus Seán UA SÚILLEABHÁIN a chuir in eagar: Pobal na Gaeltachta – a Scéal agus a Dhán. Raidió na Gaeltachta i gcomhar le Cló IarChonnachta, Indreabhán 2000

(This is a book about all the Gaeltacht districts, with articles written by natives or longtime residents of those districts. Thus, you can observe how the language changes when you move along the west coast.)

PÓIRTÉIR, Cathal (Eag.): Glórtha ón Ghorta. Béaloideas agus an Gorta Mór. Coiscéim, Baile Átha Cliath 1996

(This is a collection of folklore about the Great Hunger: short fragments in the different dialects, which you can compare and draw your own conclusions.)