On an Irish Island

Monday, July 02, 2012

Robert Kanigel tells the story of Great Blasket, an island off the west coast of Ireland renowned during the early 20th century for the rich communal life of its residents and the unadulterated Irish they spoke. With the Irish language vanishing all through the rest of Ireland, the Great Blasket became a magnet for scholars and writers drawn there during the Gaelic renaissance. On an Irish Island is a love letter to a vanished way of life.


Robert Kanigel

Comments [8]


Please sign for a Gaelscoil in New York :}

Jul. 09 2012 12:40 AM
Michael P. Gaughan from Brooklyn

I am an American of Irish decent who is conversational in Irish, indeed I have been publish in Irish in the Letters to the Editor section of the Irish Times. In reference to the Irish/Hebrew comparison, I feel the Irish government did not implement a program to make Irish the daily language of Ireland like the Israeli's did. This is in part due to the legacy of language suppression by the English. This is sad because as an Irish speaking nation Ireland would have no choose but to build an economy that would support the population but as english speakers the society could export people in hard times and not goods.

Regarding the Irish language in Ireland it is not in the best of health but there are Irish medium schools through high school Irish language radio; Radio Na Gaeltactha and Irish Language TV since 1994 Telefise Na Gaelige (TG4) both available on the Internet.

Jul. 02 2012 01:14 PM
brooklyn_mom from brooklyn

An bhfuil Gaeilge agat? A good friend in Dublin has translated SpongeBob to Irish! The language is slowing being resurrected, but sadly it was pretty well squashed over the last few centuries. Even HRH spoke a bit during last week's visit (her ancestors must be turning in their graves!) And the unimaginable handshake...

Jul. 02 2012 01:01 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Who came up w/the spellings for Irish in the Roman alphabet? Was it the English or the Irish? Some of them seem very strange. Some Irish-American friends used to tell me about a legendary character whose name sounded like "Cuhullen of Moorhevneh," & when I went to buy a book about it, I was surprised to see it was spelled "Cuchulain of Muirthemne."

Jul. 02 2012 12:56 PM
Elle from Brooklyn

All Irish schoolchildren learn Irish (at least, they used to).

Jul. 02 2012 12:49 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

The Irish should resurrect Gaelic (Irish) the way Hebrew was resurrected in Israel. I'm surprised that the Irish government hasn't done more to do so.

Jul. 02 2012 12:46 PM
Elle from Brooklyn

I visited a friend on Inisheer, the smallest of the Aran Islands, in 1993. We visited a pub, where everyone was speaking Irish. He had to translate for me. He had a three-year-old niece, and everyone in the family spoke to her in both Irish and English. I wonder if she grew up speaking Irish and if the other residents still speak it as well.

Jul. 02 2012 12:04 PM
Ed from Larchmont

That famous book from the Blaskets - 'The Islandman' by O'Crochan. And 'Peig: the autobiography of Peig Sayers of the Great Blasket Island' also.

Jul. 02 2012 08:08 AM

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