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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2001 (January-June) » History of the Language and a Quick Translation « Previous Next »

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Robert Smith (user216-178-71-248.netcarrier.net - 216.178.71.248)
Posted on Saturday, February 17, 2001 - 10:11 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Dear friends,

Recently due to several different things in my life, I have become much more interested in my Irish heritage and wanted to learn more about the Gaelic language. I was wondering if anyone might have recomondations on books that contain something about the history of the language as it pertains to Ireland (i.e. area dialects). Also, if anyone knows of a good book/CD set to learn to speak the language I am open to suggestions.

Also, (on a less serious note) the impetus to learn more about the language started from an idea to get a tattoo with writing in Gaelic. I know nothing and do not trust myself, even if I do learn more, to translate it myself. If anyone might have an opinion for the Gaelic translation of "Choose My Own Path" I would love to read it. Thanks again.

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Dennis (c792392-a.sttln1.wa.home.com - 24.19.205.18)
Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2001 - 05:09 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

The Donegal writer Seosamh Mac Grianna wrote a well-known memoir entitled "Mo Bhealach Féin", which means "My Own Path/Road/Way". That would give you a tattoo with a literary reference, no less! Mac Grianna was definitely into going his own way, no matter what.

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Kevin (adsl-141-150-17-70.nnj.adsl.bellatlantic.net - 141.150.17.70)
Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2001 - 08:52 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Did someone say they were looking for a book/CD set to learn the Irish language?

(prepare for shameless plug)....

http://www.daltai.com/siopa

Caoimhín

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Bob (user216-178-71-149.netcarrier.net - 216.178.71.149)
Posted on Sunday, February 25, 2001 - 06:49 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

If anyone could tell me more about Seosamh Mac Grianna I would appreciate it. Thanks again.

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Seosamh (1cust14.tnt11.nyc3.da.uu.net - 63.23.134.14)
Posted on Monday, February 26, 2001 - 12:58 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

He was born in Rannafast in Co. Donegal in 1900 and died in 1990. He and his brother, Séamus Ó Grianna*, were both trained as schoolteachers and both took to writing. Séamus kept his teaching job, started a family, advanced to other kinds of work and had a reasonably comfortable life in Dublin: He wrote many novels and short pieces which were written in a somewhat folksy, sentimental manner but have beautiful language nonetheless and were very popular among native speakers from Donegal.

Seosamh took the greater risk by quiting his job (by then he was employed translating novelists like Joseph Conrad and Walter Scott into Irish as part of a government translation and publication scheme). He also was more ambitious from a literary point of view. Seosamh wrote one well written book after another during the 1930s, culminating with Mo Bhealach Féin in 1940. Then he announced that the well had run dry: 'Tá an tobar tráite' he said.

Actually he had reached some sort of emotional exhaustion. He spent the second half of his life in a mental hospital in Letterkenny and did no more writing. 'An Druma Mór', a novel and probably his best work, was only published in 1969 (?). It had been held back all those years by the government publishing arm that had acquired his manuscript. I assume that was because the novel dealt with political and social divisions (Seosamh himself spent time in prison for Republican activities when he was young.)

If you want to find out more, there is a book in English called 'A Flight from Shadow: The Life and Work of Seosamh Mac Grianna' by Pól Ó Muirí (Lagan Press, Belfast, 1999; ISBN 1 873687 57 5). You should be able to get it through an Irish-interest business like Litriocht.com or Irish Books and Media in Minneapolis (irishbooks.com?).

* 'MacGrianna' is the original form of the surname, as I recall. Séamus changed it to 'Ó'.

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