Neamhspleáchas na hAlban

saltireTá dearcadh Éireannach nó Gaelach agam ar Albain; ní fheicim uirthi mar chuid den Ríocht Aontaithe. Mar Ghael, ní aithním an Ríocht Aontaithe. Go maith conspóideach, ach sin m’fhírinn. Nuair a tháinig mé anseo, bhí mé ag fanacht le gaolta, agus bhí orthu míniú domh nach tír ann féin atá in Albain, ach gur é mar chuid den Ríocht Aontaithe atá ann. Ní ghlacaim leis sin go fóill! Ní thuigeann mo mheon sin.

Ó h-aois óg, chuir mé suim in Albain agus i gcultúr na hAlban, cionn is go raibh sé mar doppelganger don chultar s’againne. Ach bhí sé exotic ag an am chéarna. D’aithnigh mé Alban mar tír ann féin, agus go raibh féiniúlacht ar leith ag na hAlbannaigh. Rinneadh suirbhé le gairid ar mhuintir na hAlban, ag fiafraí an sainaithníonn siad iad féin mar Albannaigh nó mar Bhriotanaigh, nó mar Albannaigh agus Briotanaigh, agus dúirt an chuid is mó dóibh go measann siad gur Albannaigh amháin iad. Is ábhar dóchais é sin, ach ní chiallaíonn sin go mbeadh siad ar son neamhspleáchas na hAlban. Cad chuige sin? Más é gur pobal ar leith atá iontu, cad chuige nach bhfuil siad den bharúil go mba chóir go mbeidh cumhacht agus smacht acu féin ar a gcúrsaí féin?

Caithfidh mé a rá, tá an chuid is mó de na daoine sa chiorcal de chairde agus de dhaoine ar m’aithne anseo ar son neamhspleáchas na hAlban. Is cainteoirí Gàidhlige iad uilig nach mór, agus is dócha go bhfuil ciall ann sin. Nuair a d’fhiafraigh mé de dhaoine taobh amuigh mo chiorcal féin faoin ábhar, bhí cuma ar an scéal gur cuma leofa nó go raibh siad i gcoinne neamhspleáchais. Níl muinín acu astú féin mar phobal, is cosúil. Tá Alban “ró-bheag”. Níl an leor d’airgead acu. Tá muintir na hAlban ró-scártha óna chéile; na Gaeil, na Central Belts, muintir Inse Orc, srl. An dtig leofa teacht le chéile agus aontú ar chúrsaí? Sin cuid de na samplaí a chloisim. Samplaí maith d’ iarchoilíneachas, i mo bharúil-sa! Fosta, is minic a bhíonns daoine ag amharc ar chúrsaí in Éirinn is ag rá, “Amharc orthusan, bhuaigh siadsan neamhspleáchas agus amharc ar an drochchás ina bhfuil siad!” Och.

Sílim go gcaithfidh go mbeadh muinín ag pobal ar bith astú féin ionas go mbeadh neamhspleáchas ceart acu. Caidé atá ann i neamhspleáchas cibé ar bith? Smaointigh air. Nuair a fhágann tú teach do tuistí, bíonn amhras ort agus bíonn deacrachtaí agat i dtús báire. Ach cad chuige a fhágann tú an teach? Cionn is gur duine ar leith atá ionat, tá féiniúlacht agat féin. Creideann tú ionat féin. Tá tuairmí agus smaointí agat ar an bhóthar atá romhat. Tá FÍS agat. Caithfidh go mbeidh an rud céarna a bheith ag pobal atá i mbun neamhspleáchas a bhaint amach. Neamhspleáchas. Neamhspleáchas meoin. An bhfuil neamhspleáchas meoin ag muintir na hÉireann? Amhrasach. Thriall a leithid de Phàdraig Mac Piarais, Seamas Ó Conghaile, Dubhghlas de hÍde agus W.B. Yeats le meoin mhuintir na hÉireann a mhuscladh trí litríocht agus cultúr, chun misneacht a spreagadh. Ar éirigh leofa? In Éirinn, tá tionchar iarchoilíneach le feiceáil go fóill. Tá muid fós ag coinneáil greime ar shreanga naprúin na Sasanaigh (agus anois an Aontais Eorpa) ar bhealaí éagsúla. Rinneadh botúin, agus ní réitíonn an Éirinn sa lá atá inniu ann leis an fhís a bhí ag na ceannródaí a luaigh mé ar son na tíre. Ach sin ábhar eile…

Is pobal ar leith atá i muintir na hAlban. Tá an tír saibhir go leor, is iomaí gustal atá ag an tír. Tá stair, cultúr agus traidisiúin láidir ag na hAlbannaigh. Feictear domhsa go bhfuil cliú agus cáil ar Albain ó thaobh nuálaíochta. Tá seans ag muintir na hAlban anois féidearthachtaí a bhaint amach sa todhchaí in ainm a dtíre féin. Ní chreidim go bhfuil daoine amhrasach fós fá shaoirse ag tíortha nó pobail sa lá atá inniu ann, nuair a bhítear ag rá gur sochaí forchéimnitheach agus daonlathach atá againn! Is mithid do mhuintir na hAlban misneach agus bród a bheith acu agus dúshlán a thabhairt don status quo, cionn is go bhfuil sé rí-shoiléir nach n-oibríonn sé mar atá. Mothaím go bhfuil ré corraitheach linn in Albain, bheadh muid as ár gciall dá ligfimis dó dul thart gan páirt a ghlacadh! Tá an t-am istigh nach mór, caithfear feachtas agus díospóireacht ceart a thoiseacht gan mhoill, nó caillfear an seans fá choinne feabhas a chur ar an tír mar atá!

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Furan :: Ionad Ghàidhlig an Óbain

2013-09-06 11.52.36Chaidh mi a’ céilidh air Donnchadh MacNèill anns an Óban Dihaoine sa chaidh airson tuillidh fiosrachaidh fhaodainn air an ionad ùr Ghàidhlig air fosgladh anns an Óban. Cha deach an t-ionad “a chur air bhog” fhathast, ach ‘s cinnteach gum bith sin a’ tachairt sna seachdainean a tha romhainn. Bhon gu bheil mi air Gàidhlig Latharna a thogail agus gu bheil mi a’ dèanadh rannsachaidh air dualchainnt ‘s beul-aithris na sgìre, shaoil mi gum bitheadh e freagarrach an sgeul a fheòrachadh!

‘S e “Furan” a th’ aca air an ionad, a tha a’ ciallachadh “fàilte agus aoigheachd bhlàth”. Thàinig an t-ainm air inntinn Dhonnchaidh dar a bha e a’ leughadh leabhair Ghàidhlig anns a thachair e air an fhacal. Bha e den bheachd gum bitheadh e glé fhreagarrach, leis a’ chiall agus bhon tha furasta an t-ainm fhuaimneachadh do dhaoine gun Ghàidhlig. Gu dearbh, bithidh tu a’ faodainn “fàilte agus furan” aig an ionad gun teagamh sam bith!

Thàinig an smaoin gu bàrr bho chionn dhà bhliadhna a-nis, agus mu dheireadh thall tha a’ ghnothach air toirt gu buil. Fhuair am pròiseact tabhartas de £160,000 bho Riaghaltas na h-Alba; dh’ fhaoidte gum b’ urrainn dhut a ràdhainn gun e fìor bheag an t-suim airgid a tha sin anns an fharsaingeachd, ach dar a sheallas tu air na th’ air tighinn às an airgead sin, bithidh tu ‘g aontachadh rium gun e deagh-thasgadh a th’ ann ‘s gum bith e a’ cur cuid mhór ris a’ choimhearsnachd…

Tha an t-ionad stéidhchte anns na Tallaichean Chorrain, far a bhitheas iomadh tachartasan a’ dol ann. Tha oifis an ionaid suas nan staighrean, agus tha dithist seòmar ann — an oifis far a bheil goireasan ann airson 6 laptops, agus leabharlann beag, agus ‘s e seòmar co-labhairt a th’ anns an seòmar eile, far a bheil “clàr-ghlic”, bùird ‘s cathraichean, agus sealladh brìagha den Óban!

2013-09-06 12.16.37                          2013-09-06 12.16.48

2013-09-06 12.17.00                          2013-09-06 12.17.33

2013-09-06 12.17.43                          2013-09-06 12.17.59

Chan e ionad airson an Óbain a-mhàin a tha seo, mar a dh’ innis Donnchadh chòir dhomh; ‘s e ionad airson Arra-Ghàidheil air fad a th’ ann, agus bithidh e a’ cur cuideam air sin le abairtean, gnàthasan-cainnt ‘s seann-fhaclan bhon sgìre air fad air ballaichean an ionaid, agus tha e airson ‘s gum bith co-cheangal aig na sgìrean eadar-dhealaichte ann an Arra-Gàidheal ris an ionad anns an Óban. ‘S e “hub” a th’ anns an Óban airson na Gàidhealtachd ‘s nan Eileanan air fad, ‘s mar sin ‘s àite nàdarra a th’ ann airson ionad leis an fheallsanachd sin.

Bithidh Donnchadh ‘g obair gu dlùth ri buidhnean mar Bòrd na Gàidhlig agus Clì Ghàidhlig, agus buidhnean ionadail eile, airson clasaichean agus tachartasan a chur air dòigh anns an ionad agus ann an coimhearsnachd an Óbain. Cuirear clasaichean Ghàidhlig, cearcaill chòmhraidh, agus co-fharpaisean cheist (aig a bhitheas ceòl cuideachd) air dòigh, agus céilidhean dùthchasacha uair sa mhìos cuideachd. ‘S e goireas fìor-mhath a th’ anns na Tallaichean, bhon tha àrd-ùrlar aca shìos staighre, seòmar anns a bheil bùird ‘s cathraichean airson faireachdainn “café” a chruthachadh, agus tha bàr beag ann cuideachd. Tha Donnchadh den bheachd gum bitheadh na seòmraichean seo freagarrach airson cearcaill chòmhraidh agus cuirmean-ciùil. Cuirear sreath d’ òraidean a leithid de na h-òraidean aig an Comunn Gàidhlig Ghlaschu air dòigh anns an seòmar co-labhairt air cuspairean eadar-dhealaichte.

Mar chuid den phròiseact, chaidh tabhartas de £120,000 a-staigh airson ionad ioma-mheadhanach a mhaoineachadh ann an Ard Sgoil an Óbain, airson sgoilearan a tha ‘g ionnsachadh na Gàidhlig ann. Tuillidh air sin ged-tà, cuirear bùthan-obrach fiolm agus ioma-mheadhnan air dòigh airson inbhich ann cuideachd. Bithidh ceangal làidir eadar na sgoilearan agus daoine òga na coimhearsnachd ri fileantaich a tha fuireachd anns an Óban, gu sònraichte fileantaich anns na taighean-curam. Bhon tha dualchainntean eadar-dhealaichte a th’ anns an Óban, le daoine de bhuineas nan Eileanan a’ fuireachd ann, ‘s e cothrom fìor-mhath a tha seo aig daoine òga Gàidhlig ghlan ionnsachadh bho na fileantaich, agus bithidh fìor-mhath airson dàimhean eadar-ghinealaiche a chruthachadh.

Tha fiughar agam ri mo chuid fhéi’ a chur ris a’ phròiseact seo, agus tha mi a’ creidsinn gun e comharra a tha seo gu bheil cridhe na Gàidhlig a’ buaileadh gu làidir ann an Arra-Ghàidheal fhathast!

Seumas Heaney, 13 April 1939 – 30 August 2013

Another Irish legend away on the way of truth. I’ve had the privilege of meeting Seumas Heaney on two occasions at the Yeats International Summer School in Sligo, and saw him reading his poetry in the Hawkswell Theatre. He had a warm, comforting voice like a crackling fire, and his demeanour was just as warm and inviting. What struck me about him, and also his fellow Ulster poet Michael Longley, was his poetic delight in and appreciation of the little everyday things in life and nature.

I remember the first poem I studied when I entered secondary school was “Mid-Term Break”, which was heart-wrenching and made me weep a little in class. After that, it was “Digging”, which appealed to me, the wee budding writerling. It was inspirational to have studied a poet who was alive at the time, and gave a sense of personal and national pride. At least his genius was celebrated and enjoyed during his lifetime.

When I went to college, I wrote an essay about the development of Northern Hiberno-English, as reflected in literature. Doing my research for this, reading what Heaney had to say on the subject, gave me my first proper understanding of how complex the situation in the north of Ireland is. I came to the conclusion that the people of the Six Counties have their own identity, and that its diversity should be celebrated, and not be a cause for disharmony.

It seems that I’ve been suffering from homesickness without realising it.  As I’ve suggested, Seumas Heaney was a peaty man in my mind, a man of the earth and hearth. These are things that Irish emigrants long for when they live abroad. To hear of the passing of a cultural hero who embodied these things pinches the nerve of homesickness.

On a more positive note, the reminder of his influence on this sad day will encourage young writers to contribute the written chain, the human chain.

Mo bheannacht lena anam uasal.

The Linguistic Influence of Seumas Heaney

Below is taken from an essay that I wrote for a uni assignment on May 10, 2007. On hearing the news of the passing of Seumas Heaney, I thought it was worth sharing, to give him credit for being a pioneer of linguistic freedom and experimentation in Northern Irish writing.

            The distinction between the Hiberno-English of north and south is apparent in their local literature. As part of the literary revival in southern Ireland in the late 1890s and 1900s, writers wished to express their Irish identity through the use of Hiberno-English dialect writing. They were presenting an Irish identity to the world of literature, and distinguishing that the Irish people had voices in their own right, separate from Britain. Amongst these writers were W.B. Yeats, Lady Gregory, J.M. Synge, and, later, Sean O’Casey and James Joyce. It is interesting to note that all of these writers, except Joyce, are Protestants. Douglas Hyde, who was also a Protestant, was at the same time working on reviving the Irish language, in conjunction withthe Gaelic League. In this time of change, the Irish language was also changing, with the Gaelic League attempting to standardise the language and its grammar. Although Hyde was dedicated to the Irish language, his translations of Irish verses literally into English influenced the Hiberno-English style. Lady Gregory and J.M. Synge, with their knowledge of the Irish language, followed this example of translating literally from the Irish. Synge, as well as projecting the Hiberno-English voice, was also dealing in his own way with the question of both the Irish and English language in Ireland;

 

            By choosing to infuse English with the idioms and syntax of Irish,

            Synge invented a new literary method which allowed him to bypass

            the uncertainties and the squabbling over the standardisation of the

            Irish language, and to avoid the provincialism of an Anglo-Irish

            literature which could only mimic the strategies of an English poetic

            tradition. (Mathews 137)

 

Synge, Lady Gregory and Hyde were not striving to be realistic in this use of language; it was “a heightened form of peasant speech”, allowing them to “suggest the Irish national character by use of dialect vocabulary, idiom, syntax and rhythm.” (Barry 93) In contrast, O’Casey and Joyce wished to use realistic expression in their work by giving the language of the everyday people around them a voice; O’Casey “Tended to mix Dublin and rural forms of speech”, while Joyce “carefully collected dialect phrases in a notebook and used them and other aspects of Hiberno-English in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake.” (Barry 93)

           

Modern poets of the northern counties include Seamus Heaney and Michael Longley; though the latter also makes use of the Ulster dialects, he refuses to be categorised as a “Northern poet”, and “shifted his focus to the west of Ireland and his own emotional innerscape.” (Healy 143) Heaney wishes to reflect Northern Ireland in his poetry with its different dialects, in order to bring each represented facet of Northern Irish culture into unity; he would address Ulster’s political disunity with poetry “that exposes the diversity of language and speaks with many dialects and in many voices.” (Molino 187) He employs “Irish (as well as English and Scots) words and dialect forms as cultural depth charges to explode in a traditional English line of verse and create a form of poetry that circumvents political monologism by celebrating linguistic pluralism.” (Molino 184) Heaney defends his use of dialect in his work, which is especially fitting in the case of his translation of Beowulf from the Anglo-Saxon into his own dialect;

To belong to Ireland and to speak its dialect is not necessarily to be

cut off from the world’s banquet because that banquet is eaten at the

table of one’s own life, savoured by the tongue one speaks. . . . I do

not yield to the notion that my identity is disabled and falsified and

somehow slightly traitorous if I conduct my casual and

imaginative transactions in the speech I was born to. (Heaney 20)

 

The use of the dialects of Ulster, the style of speech the poet was born with, creates a sense of freedom, politically and creatively; until recently, the Hiberno-English words were undefined in dictionaries. As a result, readers outside of Ireland would find it difficult to understand certain expressions. As Tom Paulin observes,

The language therefore lives freely and spontaneously as speech,

but it lacks any institutional existence and so is impoverished as

a literary medium. It is a language without a lexicon, a language without

form. Like some strange creature of the open air, it exists simply as

Geist or spirit. (Paulin 11)

Heaney, through his use of the Ulster voice, has presented to the world of literature the modern Irish identity, and has also defined the Northern Irish identity in its own right.

 

References

Barry, Michael V. “The English Language in Ireland”. English as a World Language.

Ed. Richard W. Bailey and Manfred Gorlach. Michigan: The University of

Michigan, 1986. pp 84-133

 

Barry, Michael V. “Historical Introduction to the Dialects of Ulster”. A Concise

Ulster Dictionary. Ed. C.I. McAfee. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.

pp ix-xii

 

Heaney, S.  “Forked Tongues, Ceilis and Incubators”. Fortnight 197. 1983. p 20

 

Healy, Elizabeth. Literary Tour of Ireland. Dublin: Wolfhound Press, 1995. p 143

Mathews, P.J. Revival: The Abbey Theatre, Sinn Féin, The Gaelic League and the

Co-operative Movement. Cork: Cork University Press/Field Day, 2003. p 137

Molino, Michael R. “Flying by the Nets of Language and Nationality: Seamus

Heaney, the “English” Language, and Ulster’s Troubles.” Modern Philology,

Vol. 91, No. 2. (Nov., 1993), pp 180-201. May 8 2007.

<http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=00268232%28199311%2991%3A2%3C180%3AFBTNOL%3E2.0.CO%3B2-4>

Paulin, Tom. A New Look at the Language Question. Ed. Seamus Deane et al.

Derry: Field Day Theate, 1983. p 11

 

Toiseach na Rèabhlaide Ghàidhlig ann an Taigh an Uillt

****I last worked on this blog on April 9, 2012. I had saved this blog post as a draft, and meant to return to it. Of course, I have since been taken away by the current of life, and have had many experiences that I hope to write about. Now that I’ve found harbour for a while, I’ll get back to writing and this website. This post describes my first experience of working on Scottish Gaelic when I came to live in Scotland in February 2012. Looking back on it makes me feel like I’ve travelled miles and miles, and years too. Enjoy the prelude to what continues to be a whirlwind of an adventure!****

Iain MacPhàrlain agus mise, Taigh an Uillt, Feb 2012
Iain MacPhàrlain agus mise, Taigh an Uillt, Feb 2012

Here I am in Scotland, realising and living the (Gaelic) dream. I do have to pinch myself to prove that it’s not a dream — there’s been a two year build-up to this adventure. As you can see from my previous posts, Gàidhlig has been a preoccupation of mine since beginning to study the language, literature and culture during my Masters in 2010. I’ve gone on wee Gàidhlig expeditions over the two years, and it seems that I’m finally here to stay to learn and to promote, specifically, Argyllshire Gaelic (Gàidhlig Earra-Ghàidheil).

The moment when the happy reality of having started this quest hit me was when Àdhamh Ó Broin and myself drove through the majestic Argyll landscape, with Griogair Labhruidh playing on the CD player, as we discussed our plans for the weekend. We were on our way to Taigh an Uillt to meet up with native Gaelic speaker John MacFarlane, who we have affectionally nicknamed “Am Brigadier” (or “Am Brig” for short). John is the last native speaker of Gàidhlig in his area; as a linguist himself, he understands fully the hard facts that not only is Gàidhlig as a minoritised language under a great threat,  his dialect in particular is on the verge of extinction. Only a week or two previous to our expedition, John had been talking on BBC Radio about the unfortunate reality facing mainland Gaelic dialects, in lieu of the release of linguistic research findings at the University of Edinburgh reporting that the dialects on the Hebridean islands of Lewis and Uist are expected to be the only two dialects of Gàidhlig to survive in the not-so-distant future. Àdhamh had been in contact with me once he had discovered my keen interest in learning an Argyll dialect, and had discussed the possibility of me embarking on a project to work with John to learn, adopt and preserve his dialect; it was the confirmation of this possible collaboration that was the object of our visit.

I won’t reveal too much at this early stage, but we have set the ball rolling and there is no doubt that we will set to work as soon as possible.

— April 9, 2012

Happy Yule!

<— My Yule log 🙂
I had a conversation recently with someone about my paganism, and they asked me if I practiced, i.e. did magic. It turns out they were like myself — we both read about our faith and its pratices, but didn’t get around to being active about it. I’ve decided it’s time for me to become a pagan of action!
I thought I had read somewhere about the wee ritual that I’ve undertaken tonight, but it actually must have come from my own devices. None of my sources have this simple gesture amongst their ‘spells’ or rituals. I must have tapped into the symbolism that we all share instinctively (whether folk listen to it these days or not…), and drew upon this reflection on the dark coming back into the light. All you need is a black candle, a white candle, a bit of peace, and yourself. You light the black candle, watch it burn, and reflect on whichever of these that suits (or all if you want!): a) qualities that have been dormant and hidden in you for too long; b) personal concerns or worries that you try to bury; c) events of the past year, good and bad (I know that the new year technically starts at Samhain, but you know what I mean…). You can do this all on one night, or on each night from the 20th-22nd. Then you light your white candle from the flame of the black, to signify the transition from the reign of darkness to light. Leave both lighting for a while as you visualise in your mind the transition, and figure out what it means for you. Then blow out the black candle, as the god of darkness has been defeated, and focus on the white, the victory/rebirth of the god of light. Reflect on the following in correspondence to your reflection(s) on the black candle: a) visualise the possibilities of your dormant qualities and talents, and putting them into practice; b) look forward to the days of light and imagine yourself overcoming current difficulties; c) think on what you want to achieve in the coming year. You can light your white candle for the following nights as a physical reminder of the positive outcome from your reflections.
What I love about paganism is that everyone has the power; I smiled to myself as I lit my candles on their brass candlesticks, thinking about how people feel the need to turn to priests and ministers in order to contact the divine. Nonsense — organised religion removed people from the power that they already had, herding them into churches and removing from the real divinity of Nature.
Look at the solstice at Newgrange nowadays — we used to be able to watch it on telly, then it went online with presenters that were also hooked up to the radio. Now it’s merely a live video online with no commentary or pomp whatsoever. I suppose we should be grateful that we get to see it at all! Why have we become increasingly alienated from our heritage and our humanity? People need to realise that they have to take back their traditions and their spirituality for themselves, and not let people manipulate them and make a fortune out of their souls.

Cabaret Craiceáilte

Nuachtlitir déanta ag Tomaí Ó Conghaile – an-fhont!
So bhí mé thuas (nó thíos — dar le Nicholas Williams…) i nGaoth Dobhair ag an deireadh seachtaine — den chéad uair ariamh! Yep, chuala tú i gceart mé. Ní raibh mé i dTír Chonaill (ceart) ariamh. N’fheadar cén fáth… Ceapaim anois gur chóir dom bheith ann fada fada ó shin! Táim cairdiúil le roinnt Conallaigh, agus bíonn muid ag caint is ag comhrá ar Twitter agus araile. Bím ag éisteacht le Rónán Beo, agus bhí mé ag caint ar an gclár féin faoi bhlagadóireacht na Gaeilge ar ais i mí Dheireadh Fómhair. Cloisim an-chuid tráchtanna ar Thigh Hiúdaí már lár-ionad na nGael, agus bíonn roinnt plotáil á dhéanamh ag daoine ann ar son na cúise — Réabhlóid na Gaeilge! (Tá muid i mbun na Ruabhlóide anois freisin, ach ní féidir mórán a rá faoi sin nó beidh orainn tú a mharú — t’ fhios agat a’ bharraíocht cheana!) Chuir cara liom ón gciorcal comhrá i Sligeach scairt orm chun mé a chur ar an eolas go mbeadh an Cabaret ar siúl, agus bhraith mé gur mithid dom freastal air. Ní raibh mé go maith le gairid, bhí croí trom agus spiorad lag a’m, agus bhí spraoi ag teastáil uaim. Agus bhfuil fhios a’d, b’ é an Cabaret díreach an rud a bhí de dhíth orm! 
Cé gur newbie Craiceáilte mise, bhraith mé díreach “sa mbaile” i measc an chomhluadair bhreá a bhí ann — cuireadh fáilte mhór Chonallach romham, agus táim an-bhuíoch as. 🙂 Bhí mé ag caint leis na carachtair áitiúla, agus thug siad aire dhom agus ba mhinic i rith na hoíche go ndúirt fear acu liom “‘Bhfuil tú alright?” Aww. Ní raibh aire ag teastáil, óir b’ oíche ar dóigh faoi stiúir Rónáin a bhí ann, leis an gceol agus daoine ag casadh amhrán; Na Bonny Men, An Crann Óg, Bríd Ní hIcí agus Doimnic Mac Giolla Bhríde ina measc. Cheannaigh mé an ceirnín nua ag Doimnic ag an gCabaret actually — déanann sé cóiriú spéisiúil ar na hamhráin, lena ghuth traidisiúnta féin, na píobaí agus téaduirlisí. Cheapfá gur meascán aisteach é, ach oibríonn sé! Ar nós rud eicínt as an 19ú haois. Tá sé deacair dhom é a mhíniú… Feicim íomhánna i m’intinn agus mé ag éisteacht le ceol, agus samhlaím áit lom, gruaimeach dorcha, ach tá tinte á lasadh ann… Oícheanta Geimhrí. Boladh na móna. Corrdhuine amuigh, ach daoine eile i bhfolach i dtithe. Ha, rud eicínt cosúil leis “The Darkling Thrush” ag Thomas Hardy. Fánach, t’ fhios a’m. Táim ag éisteacht leis an gceirnín anois agus mé ag clóscríobh. T’ fhios a’d go bhfuil grá, scéalta agus amhráin le fáil sna tithe sin i mo shamhlaíocht… An saol ag leanacht ar aghaidh faoin dorchadas. In ainneoin an dorchadais. Grianstad an Gheimhridh inniu, tá an stuif sin ar m’intinn. Pééééé scéal é…
Bhí orm mo chluas a chur i dtiúin leis an mblas Ultach, agus cuireadh iontas orm nuair a chuala mé “Caidé mar atá thu” — gheallfainn dhuit go raibh mé ag cloisteáil “Ciamar a tha thu” sa nGàidhlig! Dúradh liom go bhfuil an chanúint i nGaoth Dobhair go mór faoi thionchar na Gàidhlige, ach wow, ní raibh fhios a’m go raibh sé chomh láidir sin! Tá nascanna láidre idir an ceantar agus Alban, le daoine ag aistriú idir an dá háit thar na glúine. Bhí an áit feiliúnach dhomsa mar sin, agus bhí Alban le brath. [Osna] Neamh. Actually, bhí an deis a’m labhairt as Gàidhlig le cailín eile ann; bha sinn air ar dòigh ghlan, ach bhí daoine eile ag breathnú orainn sa mhéid is le rá “Céard the fuck a bhfuil sibhs on about?” Ha! Táim ag gáirí anois agus mé ag smaoineamh ar an iar-chóisir a bhí ‘ainn! Bhí cúpla duine ‘ainn i dtosach, agus ansin, shíl gang mór isteach, randomers agus píobaí uilleann ina measc! Lean leis an gceol, amhráin agus an chaint go maidin. 
An chuimhin leat an blag a scríobh mé i rith an tsamhraidh, agus bhí mé ag gearán faoin scoilt idir Gaeilgeoirí na gcathracha agus muintir na Gaeltachta? Ní raibh taithí iontach mhaith a’m sa nGaeltacht roimhe seo, agus caithfidh mé a admháil anois go raibh cuid de sin mar gheall air m’ easpa muiníne fhéin. Bhí taithí i bhfad níos difriúla a’m i nGaoth Dobhair ná mar a bhí a’m sna Gaeltachtaí eile. Nílim ag iarraidh bheith maslach in aghaidh mhuintir na nGaeltachtaí eile, ar ndóigh! Ach… Bhraith mé go raibh muintir Thír Chonaill oscailte agus bhí atmaisféar breá neamhfhoirmiúil lán de spraoi ag an gCabaret. Ní raibh éinne ró-dháiríre agus ní raibh brú ann — bhí daoine ann chun bualadh le chéile agus ceoltóirí nua a spreagadh, trí mheán na Gaeilge. Sin an aidhm a bhí ag Rónán agus an criú leis an gCabaret nuair a chuir siad tús leis sa mbliain 2008 — sult a bhaint as an gcultúr atá againn, idir stuif sean-bhunaithe agus stuif nua, agus daoine óga a mhealladh chun na teanga gan an bagáiste a bhíonns ag baint le heagraíochtaí mar Chonradh na Gaeilge. Tá ag éirí leo, dar liom, agus molaim go croíúil do dhaoine óga dul chuig an gCabaret agus gheobhaidh siad misneach iontu féin agus sa teanga (aríst). 
D’fhéadfá a rá go raibh mé ag troid leis an teanga ar feadh píosa, agus bhraith mé chomh… N’fheadar. As áit, ar an imeall? Ó thaobh na Gaeilge dhe. Ach tá Rónán agus an criú th’éis misneach agus dóchas a thabhairt dom aríst.
Dála an scéil, ag tagairt don bhlag sin aríst; thug an méid a scríobh mé le tuiscint gur chóir cainteoirí na gcathracha leanacht lena gcaint fhéin, gan bheith buartha faoi chanúintí áirithe toisc nach as na ceantair sin iad agus go bhfuil canúintí nua á gcruthú sna cathracha. Cac iomlán. IS GÁ dúinn uilig aird a thabhairt ar na canúintí a mhaireann, nó beidh siad caillte go deo. Tá an-ghaois le fáil iontu. Admhaím anois (bhuel, bím i gcónaí á admháil seo, ach pé scéal é) go bhfuil an-chuid le foghlaim den teanga a’m fós, agus níl an meon iomlán Gaelach a’m go fóill mar gheall air sin. Tuigim an scéal anois mar gheall ar mo thaithí leis a’ Ghàidhlig — táim chun canúint Earra-Ghàidheil a fhoghlaim, toisc go bhfuil sí i mbaol agus tá sí fíor-álainn. Yum yum i mo bhéal, na fuaimeanna! D’fhoghlaim mé cúpla nathanna nó frásaí agus mé ag caint le Conallaigh, agus is seodra iad! B’fhéidir go dtarraingeoidh mé cúpla tréithe Ultacha isteach. An féidir leis sin a dhéanamh? Sin plé le haghaidh blaga eile! Bhí mé ag smaoineamh go mbeidh sé go maith aistriú go Gaeilge Thír Chonaill mar gheall ar an nGàidhlig… Ach bheadh an t-idirdhealú idir an dá theanga deacair a dhéanamh i m’intinn, agus tá sé deacair go leor mar atá! Nílim chun mo bhlas a athrú, agus braithim go bhfuilim ró-chompórtach anois le Gaeilge Connachtach chun mo rogha de chanúint a athrú. An bhfuil baol ann go mbeidh mé i mo turncoat Ultach? Beidh le feiceáil…