When Irish Eyes Are Crying – about the Irish Language Nonsense

10 February, 2011

More from the Vanity Fair article by Michael Lewis  (“When Irish Eyes Are Crying”), skewering our hypocrisy on the “First (sic) National Language”.

…… The first thing you notice when you watch the Irish Parliament at work is that the politicians say everything twice, once in English and once in Gaelic. As there is no one in Ireland who does not speak English and a vast majority who do not speak Gaelic, this comes across as a forced gesture that wastes a great deal of time. I ask several Irish politicians if they speak Gaelic, and all offer the same uneasy look and hedgy reply: “Enough to get by.” The politicians in Ireland speak Gaelic the way the Real Housewives of Orange County speak French. To ask “Why bother to speak it at all?” is of course to miss the point. Everywhere you turn you see both emulation of the English and a desire, sometimes desperate, for distinction. The Irish insistence on their Irishness—their conceit that they’re more devoted to their homeland than the typical citizen of the world is—has an element of bluster about it, from top to bottom…..

I am reminded of the conceit referred to above several times  day, but no reminder is more annoying than the regular receipt of a gas bill or an electricity bill, accompanied by a bulky brochure which is 100% larger than it needs to be because it’s printed in both English and Irish.  This is nonsensical and is a shameful waste of paper, ink, fuel etc etc. I am not given the option of receiving no brochure at all (a link to an online version would do nicely), nor am I given the right to opt out of the dual language version and get a slimline, monolingual version instead.

This is but a small reminder that the price of our having submitted to the vanity of the extreme wing of the Irish language lobby is high, both socially and ecologically.

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7 Responses to “When Irish Eyes Are Crying – about the Irish Language Nonsense”

  1. newbegon Says:

    I speak and read Irish quite well, thanks….and love getting bilingual brochures, hearing the language in the Dail (our ‘parliament’), on the Dart, Luas, Iarnrod Eireann etc etc.

    And I’m not right wing anything.

    Dude, you’re a crank!!

  2. newbegon Says:

    anyway, who cares what Vanity Fair think about anything of real value?

    Are we supposed to, or something?

  3. Name withheld on request Says:

    I am not Irish, but have visited your wonderful country on numerous occasions over the past forty years. Despite the fact that one sees Irish written up everywhere, I have never once heard the language spoken in the streets, in shops, in pubs, restaurants, etc. Maybe I haven’t visited the right places, I don’t know.

  4. Seamus Murcada Says:

    A perfect example of how good a job the English did when they colonized Ireland. Not only did they remove our language, they also succeeded in removing any sense of self many of us may have had. Next thing this West Brit will say is why don’t we rejoin the UK.

    Utterly vile but sadly to be expected from the crass gombeens that have nearly destroyed Ireland. If you want to be English, do everyone a favour and wallow in your obsene shoneenism in ol’ blighty.

  5. PuckstownLane Says:

    So your sense of self depends only on your language? Do New Zealanders feel any less patriotic because they speak the same language as Australians?

    I think the Irish language is a marvellous thing. I just don’t want it force-fed to me and my children, regardless of cost.

    It takes an unbiased outsider to point out the sheer stupidity and waste involved in our present approach.

    The shrillness of your contribution eloquently makes my point about the extreme wing of the Irish language lobby.

    • sceachgheal Says:

      One question….Who the f**k do you think you are. and you mentioned Australia and New Zealand which defeats the arguement seeming as they are both englishspeaking countries, and are part of the english commonwealth which baisically makes them english, so yeah. How about I show you an example of a deacent argument…. In northern Norway Norway and finland there are nomadic rehindeer herders, Sami people, they have the same problem as us, keeping a CULTURE alive not a language… You have to be shrill and abrupt on anyone who threatens the principles you believe in and the cause for which you fight, if we don’t make every possible effort to get the language out for the population we are not properly striving to achieve the goal


  6. […] Lewis exposed the folly of our Irish language posturing in his Vanity fair article, referenced here.  Ouch. GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); […]


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