Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Dublin City Council - Irish only placenames.

Dublin is a city renowned for its writers. The likes of Joyce, Swift, O’Casey, Wilde, Shaw, Beckett, Stoker and Synge have been massively influential in shaping the canon of English literature, and their works are famous the world over.

More recently, and up to the present, Dublin can still boast of Murdoch, Binchy, Doyle, O’Connor, Connelly and more. It is a cultural heritage of which the city can be truly proud.

Now, however, Dublin City Council wants to ban the English language – our proud and unique version of it – from future placenames in the city. Up until now, Dublin’s street names have been bilingual, but if those in the Wood Quay Bunker have their way all new streets will be in Gaelic only. English will be forbidden...

Likewise, the naming of future developments, estates and buildings has been a matter of choice up until now. In Dublin City Council’s brave new world it will be forbidden to refer to them in the vernacular of the city.

I, for one, am sick and tired of being ruled over by a gombeen political “elite” who ride roughshod over us with impunity. They only do it, of course, because they consistently get away with it. Let’s make a start and don’t let them get away with this nonsense.

Please read the relevant section from the notice below and tell them where to go before March 12th. E-mail them at (submissions MUST include your full name and address).

DUBLIN DRAFT DEVELOPMENT PLAN (Section 17.9.2 Names of Residential Estates)
"All new street and development names shall reflect local historical, heritage or cultural associations and the basic generic description (i.e. Court, Quay, Road etc.) must be appropriate.

The Planning Authority will approve the naming of residential developments in order to avoid confusion in regard to similar names in other locations. Street signs must be bilingual, and all house numbers must be visible.

Developers shall agree estate names with the Planning Authority prior to the commencement of development. Such estate names shall be in the Irish language only and shall reflect the history and topography of the area in which they are located. The names of public roads shall be in the Irish language only." DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL

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Bernd said...

At least they did not do an Irish Rail here and insist that every estate had to be named after one of the "patriotic dead". Just imagine the Michael Collins Estate and the Eamon de Valera Estate living up to their names in neighborhoodly relations.

Euston, we have a problem ...

Anonymous said...

On coming from Belfast I was pleasantly surprised to note my native language (English) was spoken by 98.5% of population- whose mother tongue it also is.
English had been the mother tongue of most Irish for centuries.
However I studied Irish constitutional law, & was surprised to see Irish was the official language - English doesn’t get a mention. I am a member of a small party who do not cream off millions of public €.’s. At the spring conference I am going to propose that the constitution should read, “ English and Irish are official languages– Ireland is *bi-lingual”.
The small word *bi implies equal parts, eg, Bi-sect, Bi lateral, and Ireland is mostly English speaking, the language the constitution is written in (there is an Irish translation – and in matters of constitutional uncertainty the Irish language version carries the weight)
But …I will ignore that fact that bi-lingual Ireland has a ratio of 1.5 Irish speakers: 98.5 English speakers,
NO THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS- and as in many matters re the Irish language will end up costing ordinary people a lot of money and trouble down the line. Why have mainline newspapers not picked up this story?
Will Londoners tolerate street names being re- named in Welsh./Scottish Gaelic / Irish ( all minority language of the UK).Parisians tolerate re-naming in Breton? New Yorkers re- naming in Mohawk?
I don’t me to be racist but would Dubliners like all their streets re- named in Polish or Yoruba ( Nigerian language)- there are MORE DAILY Polish and Yoruba speakers in Dublin than Irish speakers. What about Hungarian? I’m living with 3 Hungarians, in our house 98.5% of language spoken is Hungarian, 1.5% is English (mostly by me) and 0% is Irish.What about Belgium which is genuinely bi-lingual (50% Flemish speakers: 50% French speakers).Would either language group tolerate the bilingual signs everywhere suddenly being changed into just 1 of their languages?
Stupid time wasting and no doubt money wasting stunts like this DO NOTHIHG to enhance the view of the Irish language held by those who do not speak it- far from it- more damage is inflicted on ancient , innocent, noble tongue THAT did nothing to deserve many of its idiot champions. Of course I AM SIGNING THIS Petition. Anna

The Gombeen Man said...

You never know, Bernd. "Developers shall agree estate names with the Planning Authority prior to the commencement of development" Maybe the dead martyr theme will be insisted on? ;-) I love the word "agree".

Well said Anna. It seems that bilingual tokenism isn't enough for them anymore. Now it's Gaelic monolingual tokenism. Good luck at the Spring conference.

Anonymous said...

Things council SHOULD spend money on :
1)Gritter lorries + sheds for salt and grit
2) Libraries; I was in Ceathru Rua Galway Sept 09 on a Public service Gaeltacht course . A friend (who worked with Dublin City Council and I BOTH remarked that CR had a beautiful library ( esp kids section- I was 1 hr playing with the large doll’s house, never mind the globe of the world, chess and other games tables, soft toys etc) – while Kevin St library is falling down. The ILAC sent me to K.St t o pick up a book…I’d never been there. I was a little taken aback when the librarian pulled me round to back to see an entire old room had its shelves emptied of old books ( V interesting to archivists - the librarian said history researchers often come in ) had to be packed away, and the readers seats and desks were not in use. Not all the books were packed away (lack of storage) a few shelves still had there Victorian volumes sitting on them- these were the shelves that weren’t being rained on. RAINED ON. Rest assured, DCC were addressing the problem- the floor was full of plastic washing up bowls.
“It’s so old elderly people say their grandparents remembered barefoot urchins coming in in the snow” the librarian said. Barefoot urchins …ah the days of the nasty Brits …days also when the libraries of the capital city Had slates on the roof. Actually get on this site and see the shiny new library opening April in Antrim- they TOO are anticipating trouble with rain water- so the architects have a strategy for rainwater harvesting so the building with get an A in the Green Guide for public buildings.
Belfast has 30 lending libraries. OK, confusingly Dublin is spilt into 4 councils…with libraries being listed under each council area
which must total 1.5 million people. Belfast has ½ million. However central Dublin (the bit under DCC) must have MORE than ½ million…and 21 lending libraries. Actually NI & Belfast would have more services are listed- it is difficult to discern how much is covered by ‘Library vans / outreach’ etc. I don’t begrudge Ceathru Rua their new library- isolated Gaeltacht areas SHOULD have decent public services. So should the capital city
Irish, part of what we are- OF COURSE!
New Library for Kevin St ( and don’t forget vast populated areas such as Artane which have no public library) or let these Council Clowns spend millions on Irish language re-naming?- How about action, not apathy being part of what we are? Anna

David Corrigan said...

Well!, Well!, Well, Nonsense is nonsense in any language, and Brendan Behan got it nearly right when he said "If it was raining soup, the Irish would be out with forks". Can you imagine the linguistic chaos for years to come. Supposing you are dying of thirst and ask for directions to Mulligans Pub in Poole Beg Street, only to be told in incomprehensible utterings that there was no such place. Most of the classic authors and scholars were glad to leave Ireland for good.

Anonymous said...

Right now as I write this message, there are delicate negotiations going on in Belfast that will effect the whole of Ireland. But Dublin City Council wants to change the street names to Gaelic; how subtle is that? In 1885. Charles Stuart Parnell had virtually succeeded in achieving Home Rule for Ireland, but it was scuppered, not by the British, but by a few narrow minded, insensitive pig-ignorant Irishmen. Good God! Will we never learn?

Oliver Stoops

Anonymous said...

Although I was raised in Ireland I never got the hang of speaking Irish. However, I have just made a big discovery, that after drinking a half bottle of Jack Danials, I can speak it perfectly.

Anonymous said...

I have spent time in many different cities of the world in a diplomatic capacity. I spent five years in Dublin, and I have to acknowledge that it was filled with charm mystery and magic. The diplomatic, cultural, academic, artistic and musical characteristics perhaps were the amongst the best I have ever experienced. Therefore it is indeed a big puzzle to know why some of the officers of Dublin City Council have their brains in their balls (if applicable) and their heads up their bums.

Issac Lazerus
New York.

Anonymous said...

Don't see the problem myself. I was in Prague for Christmas. Didn't understand any of the street signs but still found my way around.

Mary T.

Anonymous said...

GM. You're not still on this one are you?

Didn't I tell you last time it is all part of an EU plan.

Bernd: I'm a bit confused by your position. You have a problem with signs in a language we don't understand and yet your blog is in a language we don't understand either. Sauce for the goose I think.

I accept the number of Irish speakers is small, almost as few as have read the works of Joyce, Swift et. al. ;-)

Anon3: Wasn't Parnell scuppered by the lack of a belt - i.e., he had difficulty keeping his trousers on ;-)

Issac: For a supposed diplomat your language is rather undiplomatic. These are elected representitives after all, and if people don't like what they do they can vote them out.

Anyway must dash. I have a train to catch - at Waterloo station - yes, I also live on a backward little island where they name their wars and war heros . What can you do.

The Gombeen Man said...

@ Mary T: Impressive logic there.

@ last Anon: It's nothing whatsoever to do with the EU. It's Dublin City Council, and no-one else. Don't blame the EU for our stupid incompent representatives and the even more stupid idiots who vote them in time and time again, and are grateful for all the shit they get as a result. It's why the place is as it is.

Regarding your "confusion" re Bernd, he's not forcing anyone to read his blog. I can understand it, by the way, and I can tell you it's very good.

I think Isaac has it spot on. Sometimes diplomatic language is wasted.

Hope you caught your train. I've some fond memories of Waterloo Station as it happens.

Ella said...

Dear Anonymous, as an avid fan of Bernd's blog. I would like to confirm that it's in a European Language (German) that I can understand, even though I only studied it for 4 years at school and did Irish for 14 years. Oh and another thing it's extremely well written and Bernd proves himself time and again to be a a walking encylopedia, putting your average punter to shame.

GM, "fond memories of Waterloo Station", fash bashin I'll bet!!

Anonymous said...

I Have been to Prague 3 times, no problem with signs, I speak some Russian, that helps with Slav languages, wouldn’t expect signs to be in any other language- Czech is the language of the nation.
Welsh and Scottish parliaments NEVER made plans for Welsh and Scots Gaelic to be main language - that phase in their histories is past. I don’t know about Scots Gaelic -Welsh is well supported– and not obligatory for College entry , advantageous for civil service jobs etc.If you were a school kid in a welsh speaking areas the school curriculum would be all in Welsh tho, no problem there, as your welsh speaking parents would not be advocating that their language takes precedence over English across the nation. Cardiff city council is NOT goes to change all their signs to Welsh.
I was in Norway several times- very fair place , great public services. Norwegians speak excellent English…only those in their 60s don’t know it. Their excellent education system teaches English from the primary -as well as German. MA course in Universities are often in English.( I was in Denmark , Finland, Iceland , Netherlands- all had high levels of spoken English ) Norway ONCE had an older type of Norwegian- it doesn’t have many living speakers, near extinct- BUT is taught in schools just to keep it from fading away. A Norwegian told me this causes resentment (it’s only of use to a historian ) …but they do learn it for a few yrs…without making it obligatory for College entry etc…Norway has a great system of probably free or well subsided ‘ residential folk schools’ I think you can stay 1 week or a month, take in music, old language etc… a good way for Ireland to go..drop compulsory Irish after Junior cert, real enthusiast could do to leaving cert..and the res t of us could occasionally go to a Norwegian style folk school, to brush up on it.
I could look up some stats for NI- there IS big enthusiasm for Irish - and it’s not compulsory. A very high % of those who do GCSE (equivalent of ordinary level LC) Pass AND get high grades- the opposite is true of ordinary level LC Irish . So why worry it will die out if not compulsory? NI experience shows the opposite. And what can we make of the finding that young people in the Gaeltacht are very likely to converse with each other in English.
I am puzzled by fiendish EU plan to eradicate English names. I did study EU law- never hear of of it- what directive number does it come under? In what year was this directive published- and what is the timetable for final implementation in all states? Find it hard to believe English is despised worldwide- with huge no’s of English language school and TEFL courses. In the 40’s Sweden decided on a plan to be officially bi-lingual in 40 yrs. Their second language is English. In harmony with our EU neighbors and show how outward looking we are, I say we go bi-lingual, I propose the official second language to be English. Surprised? well, 98.5% of us speak it daily and it’s good enough for the Swedes and a great many other bi and tri lingual EU neighbours as .-
• I am puzzled by comment to Bernd,”we have to read street signs in a language we do not understand – would that language be English? How many Dublin people can’t read English street signs? And how does Anon find his way round London if he does not understand the signs? Anna

Anonymous said...

For a "fash basher" its funny how you don't get this "democracy" thing, isn't it.

Ella said...

Hi Anna and Anonymous, well I guess you both know the answer to the query
"I am puzzled by fiendish EU plan to eradicate English names. I did study EU law- never hear of of it- what directive number does it come under? In what year was this directive published- and what is the timetable for final implementation in all states?"

There is no such directive, and try as one might to find it, well as it doesn't exist, (except perhaps in the whacky world of Ms/Mr Anonymous), it's not there to be found. So anonymous stop spouting rubbish, if you have a valid point to make, fine but please be truthful, or else we will all find you out, very easily as it happens. Anna well done with your interesting and most informative, and of course honest comments.

Anonymous said...

It is being muted in some areas that the proposed change in street names is a Fianna Fail scam, because they are likely to be thrashed in the next election. What government is going to spend millions of euros changing road signs when Irelands financial state is calamitous? Of course, I know that Fianna Fail would never steep so low as to use a scam to get elected. No!, Never!!

Anonymous said...

I don't think the proposal is to change street names. Its that all new developments,of which there will be very few,are to be named in Irish. Some will involve the building of new public roads (fewer still). It is part of the chapter on "Development Standards" and is to be read in that context. It will not involve the renaming of streets and putting up new signs.

The Gombeen Man said...

Yes, it's "only" in the naming of all future developments and roads that the majority , and historical, language of Dublin will be banned. Funny democracy.

Bernd said...

I actually liked the anonymous comment re. my German language blog ... that may be a new variety of "de feckin ferreners better shut dere faces". The posting overall shows the inability to debate the issue masked by an attempt to throw a few personal non sequiturs about. Or so ...

Thanks for the kind comments, though!

Anonymous said...

You have to remember that this proposal came from elected representives, not faceless bureaucrats, and in fact the plan prepared by the bureaucrats had nothing of the kind in it and was put in by the councillors. You can't argue with that, except to vote against them at the next election. That's democracy. Does that show sufficient ability to debate the issue.

The Gombeen Man said...

This incompetent government was also elected. But That does not mean I, or anyone who cares, cannot object to what they do once they are in office. It does not mean I have to meekly accept what they do. I will be voting them out in the next general elections, but then again I have never voted for Fianna Fail (or the Shinners) in my life.

You're off about democracy again. Well, if you take the trouble to read the comments, you will see that, in response to another poster, I said "Don't blame the EU for our stupid incompent representatives and the even more stupid idiots who vote them in time and time again".

As for the councillors voting for it, it is not possible to establish who voted in favour (and vote them out, as payback) as it was all done on a show of hands. There is no record.

Anonymous said...

Of course, I do not deny your right to object, but I understood that you or at least some other posters were interested in debating the issue. The purpose of the submissions is to inform the councillors of public opinion on any aspect of the plan and possibly alter how they might vote when the plan is finally ratified. The discussion on has so far not revealed any interest in this issue.

Anonymous said...

Even thought James Joyce was a fluent Irish speaker, he never published anything in Gaelic. In “The Dead”, Gabrial Conway rebukes Molly Ivors for her supercilious attitude to the Irish Language. He liked to speak and hear the language, but he did not like it’s association with anti British sentiment.(it still happens now)

It is very sad that the Irish Government Department Community, Rural and Gaeltacht affairs have “hijacked” the language as part of their United Ireland aspirations and they suggest that the Gaelic language is synonymous with being a Republican and a Roman Catholic.

The ancient Gaelic language of the Celts was pagan. Gaelic is spoken by Scottish Islanders who tend to be non Catholics and by lanugage scholars who are without Republican aspirations.

It sounds ridiculous to hear the Sinn Fein’s assembly members speaking Gaelic. The action is superfluous and supercilious, because no one is particularly interested in superficial melodrama.

Daithi Breandan MacFhionnachta

The Gombeen Man said...

Good point, Daithi - and well put.

I've always believed that the strategy of fostering (or creating) "cultural" differences rather than focusing on our commonality is one sure-fire way of ensuring a united Ireland will never come about.

Anonymous said...

Not Conway, but Conroy spoken in Dublin Dialect Con-er-roy. It is strange, that Ireland hated Joyce when he was alive and they banned Ulysses.
He also hated Ireland when he was alive, and spent only a matter of weeks there from leaving until he died. DeValera even refused to have him buried in Ireland.

But now Dublin City Council make a fortune in his name.The present Leopoldt Bloom as though he was a real person with Bloomsday.(many people think that Bloom was a historical character). They espouse the attributes of the Martello Tower where Joyce was nearly killed and was the chief reason for him leaving Ireland for good.

Since Ireland became a Free State and a Republic it has gone seriously downhill. So what was the freedom about and from whom? All the Anglo-Irish Protestant Classical writers were glad to leave Ireland and many of those writers and poets who stayed in Ireland (stayed drunk).

A friend I know travels from Fermoy to Newry to shop. Even after he has paid the cost of fuel and wear and tear on his truck, he still makes a profit. So who in their right mind wants a United Ireland? I don't!!!

Anonymous said...

It is absurd that the most northerly point of Ireland is ‘in the south’. That is where I was brought up. Thank goodness my parents were open minded, and I was not indoctrinated with anti-British sentiment.

On the 12th. July (Orangeman’s Day) my friends and I used to skip school and travel across the border to the town of Strabane, and we enjoyed a wonderful day out, with emphasis on enjoyment . Some of the parade officials knew that we were Catholics from the South, and it made no difference whatever, they were wonderful to us.

Some people shouted slogans “No Pope Here”. and we shouted “Here!, Here!” in approval. This was a sentiment to which I totally agreed; I would not have wanted the devious Pius XII at a parade, or anywhere else for that matter considering his history and support of Hitler.

I told a school friend that I had been to an orange parade, and she told the nuns. I was given a thrashing with a cane and made to go to confession. The idiotic priest was livid, and gave me a million Hail Mary’ s to say as a penance. I carried out his penance to the letter and said “One Million Hail Mary’s” just once. My parents made an official complaint to the nuns, priest and bishop, but nothing was done about it. It is sad to say that those dark days and dark ages are still alive and well in modern Ireland.

Mary Jane Brady

The point I am trying to make is; what not amalgamate St Patrick’s Day and Orangeman’s Day into one big Jamboree Day for everyone. The 12th July would be a more appropriate day because it is mid summer, whereas St Patrick’s Day is in in the middle of Lent and in the March winds. None of this stuff matters any more considering that more Catholics fought on the side of William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne that for the alcoholic, syphilitic, James II. His friends called him “Seamus a Cacca” (James the Shit-head). This truth is verifiable in the history departments of all university libraries. Ireland did not give a bugger about the “Glorious Revolution”.

The Gombeen Man said...

Anon: I know only too well about shopping in Newry. And the great thing about it is how courteous and civil they are too, in my experience. Don't get tyred in Dublin

Mary: When it comes down to it, we have all ahve far more in common than not, so your idea is a good one. Let's all just move on.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we have a lot in common, but Brian Cowan ' The Great Guru' says "The Catholic Church should regain it's Authority". Fianna Fail was, and still is the political wing of the Catholic Church in Ireland and is planning to make St. Patrick redundant and replace him with the new Saint Pius XII (patent pending).

That will do alot of good for cementing relations with Jews and infidels, like myself. The names of the streets will be changed to Latin (will please me as I am a Latin scholar), but it will not do much for 'The Other Persuasion' as Joyce put it in 'The Dead'.

I heard a 'Dublin Wag' (the best in the world) say "Just turn Ireland upside down and make the north, 'the deep south' where a large numger of the population believe that the earth is less than 5000 years old because of Bible teaching.

So, it seems that Ireland is the land that time forgot, remembered and then forgot again. That is why Ireland is never ever boring. As soon as I arrive in Dublin, my heart becomes so exhilerated at the prospect of having a bloody good time. There is no place more exciting on the face of this 5000 year old earth.

Anonymous said...

Google search this line
'EU plans to change all place names to local language names'
Below is part of what came up

December 7th, 2009
LONDON, December 8 - A new European domain name (
allowing domains to be entered into web browsers using all 23 official
European Union languages Internet users will now be able to enter .eu domain names into their
browser using their local keyboard, dialect and language, opening up Internet
accessibility throughout Europe.
Whether you want to watch the fútbol in español or spend Noël in Méribel,
a brand new web is being created for the half billion population of the
European Union; all now able to enter web addresses in their local language
and scripts.
"This is an entirely new way of thinking on the web," commented Matt
Mansell, CEO," European businesses and consumers,
previously forced to communicate in a limited ASCII character set, can now
advertise, communicate and navigate the Internet as they do every day life,"
he continued.
With no Sunrise (Trademark Holders Only) or Landrush (Premium public)
periods to this new domain, competition will be intense when the doors open
in less than 48 hours. "This is the first launch we've seen that isn't
protecting rights holders with a sunrise period" commented Pete Osmond,
Product Manager, "Brands like Telefónica will be keen to
protect their correctly accented real estate and the astute domain community
will be securing the finest generic domains," Osmond continued. is accepting pre-orders already on a no-win-no-fee
basis at More details about .eu IDN
(International Domain Names) can be found on-line at

Anonymous said...

Only read if you have a V pedantic interest in what names should be in the modern era- when territories have already been thru a number of changes of language & races...
Public authorities and services ( Scotland)
Scots law has no objection to the bona fide use of any name. A few people have legally adopted the original or Gaelic form of their name for all official purposes. It is very rare, but Gaelic first names are now frequently registered at birth. Since 1972 cheques can be written and signed in Gaelic.Most public buildings, street, road and direction signs are in English only, except in Western Isles, Isle of Skye and a few other very limited areas. In Western isles the official policy is to use both languages with equal prominence, except for local road direction signs which are in Gaelic only. In Skye, roads direction signage is bilingual Gaelic/English. Bilingual place names and street name signs elsewhere are generally in English/Gaelic format. There was a Gaelic road sign campaign in Skye and other mainland areas since 1981, and some local pressure for Gaelic street signs in Portree and Inverness. These have been forthcoming within English version dominant in blocks, Gaelic symbolically subordinated in uncials below.- above was from From an EU site inon EU lanaguges- V absorbing page on Scots Gaelic, too long to reproduce the site is
Göteborg changes name back to Gothenburg
Published: 11 Dec 09 06:55 CET
Online:öteborg is officially changing its name to Gothenburg, the city council has decided. Councillors have agreed that the city will be referred to as the City of GothernburgThe decision signals the end of a concerted push to gain international recognition for the city’s Swedish name, since an official decision by the council in 2003 to refer to the City of Göteborg in the international context.
The council cites both historical and pronunciation issues as reasons for reverting to the Anglicized name. “It’s much more natural to say ‘City of Gothenburg’ when you are speaking English,” said Bill Werngren,
The city’s English name has its roots in the earliest stages of the city's history, with Gothenburg even being mentioned in the official documents founding the city in 1621, but it was officially discarded in the council’s 2003 decision.
But the council does not envisage any problems for locals adjusting to their new identity. “To call the city ‘Gothenburg’ is something that the city’s residents have been used to for a long time,” Werngren said.

Anonymous said...

I Love living here the North apart from Belfast is V dull, glad a NY diplomat found much to praise . I met an English man who’s here 11 yrs, 1st it was hard (much hated of the English) but he will stay now. He was shocked main Limerick roads weren’t gritted at start of cold snap...but praised other things like Special Olympics getting 60,000 volunteers , ‘You wouldn’t get that in England’ he said,’ there’ s a better sense of community here’. He also praised social skills of Irish young people. We can be great at friendship/ local community - but where we need to see the big picture/ demand good leadership we are woeful . Re public holidays; I read an Indian man say’ I am here 40 yrs- still people can’t answer me when I ask when the Independence Day is’. Because there isn’t one. Why is the (internationally & legally agreed day) in 1922 when Ireland became independent not recognized? Anyone know when it was? (Dec 1922 I think). Why celebrate ( with a bit of uncertainty) - a symbolic Easter rising in which many ordinary people died. Why celebrate an date that changes every year and was (Unfortunately) soaked with blood sacrifice. There were plenty of bloody conflicts , why not more bloody holidays ?Why should the rest feel left out- 1798 day? – 30,000 people died in 2 months then. Other countries don’t remember their conflicts - only the ending/ armistice.No one wants to remember (let alone commemorate) the troubles- but no-one will forget the NI peace agreement . I agree with Mary Jane and GM- we need a day north and south both have as public holiday. An Independence Ireland/ peace day? Yes summer would be nice. Anna

Bernd said...

As to the Easter Rising Celebrations ... has anybody but me ever wondered why the historical event of the Easter Rising, which happened on a specific day, is celebrated not on the day ... but in conjunction with a moveable religious feast?

By the way ... the Battle of the Boyne is also commemorated on the wrong day.

Anonymous said...

My Rough Guide says Russia was once the only* country on earth with a Black market in maps ( *tho Ireland could soon be 2nd, our nation again taking it’s place among world superpowers). Pre Glasnost was like this: Alex goes to visit Great Uncle Vanya in his far Siberian village. But on reaching the nearest railway station, the old stationmaster, that he remembered from boyhood, solemnly swears the village had never existed. Neither (presumably) had the stationmaster’s old army buddy/ one time drinking pal, Uncle Vanya.
Alex is well puzzled- he’s heard (rumours) the village went from Pop.21 to 80,000 with a new army base/ nuclear plant/ tank & munitions factory/ Radar station.
He demands to see a brand new map. On this the village & environs, is shown as a blank white space, 20 Sq. miles in area. All surrounding roads, railways and even rivers, suddenly end abruptly on the edges of this .The village of NovGorad Malinksy has become Vanished InaBlincski. However Alex can sensibly avoid above scenario: When he visits his black marketer for little luxuries- foreign papers, cigs, jeans, porn, contraceptives, life saving medicines, food staples etc - he can just ask for an old map to be discreetly tucked in. And off he goes.
SERIOUSLY get to Reads before the panic buying starts.
Tip to Rare book sellers/ entrepreneurs/ market traders: Buy 300 O.S. Dublin City Street Atlases ( English ed.) , these are expected to perform better than gold.- Anna

The Gombeen Man said...

Great story Anna. But, that's the way we seem to be going... Backwards.

Anonymous said...

Obviously, despite all your "oul guff" about debate your not prepared to debate, on this bastion of liberalism, except to make invalid comparisons.

The Gombeen Man said...

"Bastion of liberalism". The Gaelgoir elitist slant! Love it.

Anonymous said...

I DO compare us with the old USSR & Eastern Europe. They spoon fed people lies all was fine & they believed it. Just a few officials took decisions with shocking results (not even mass murder, but shambolic 5 yrs plans that left people short of food etc.) ‘Lives of others’ showed that to even criticise the East Germany you were a traitor. BUT YES we can truly compare ourselves with countries with similar population size.
NZ- free health care etc, great public services, has tried in a huge way to make redress to Maoris -more than OZ did (without making Maori language obligatory).
Finland broke away from an empire (USSR) same time as we did- excellent free health & public services. It once was under Sweden- Swedish is taught in some schools, and where it was once most prevalent, schools are all Swedish. Roads signs are Finnish/ Swedish. Swedish is language of many Finns, as the Swedish invaders were there so long, that it’s a historical language of Finland. Bilingualism prevails - without either language being obligatory or given special privileges in ways that Irish is in Ireland. Also even elderly Finns can speak English. Norway supports a Sami parliament for the Northern Lapps, they also have their TV + Radio, their language is not obligatory for the rest of Norway.
I DON’T want Irish extinct. The NI policy- giving money to those who DO want to learn, without wasting it on those who don’t- provides excellent results & value for money. I learn when I get the time (NOT OFTEN) - I’ve been on two 3 day courses from work, & went on a 1 week Gaeltacht* course (* I was on a basic level course- with public servants, who didn’t know their own Dept name in Irish, never mind a list of Irish towns and counties: I worry for these lost souls if all Dublin street signs become Irish only. I’m getting Dictionaries, verb books, some CDs, so I can learn & translate a few words, when they come my way. I am trying to fit in an occasional day class at the public service language centre (pity they no longer let me do Russian). Three yrs of school in NI left me OK with basic Irish- better then many work mates. Could any Anon contributors say how good their fluency is, and what classes they do/ propose to do. I am just curious- Anna.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievers can scoff as much as they want with their false scientific nonsense about evolution. The earth was created by God on at 9am on Sunday, October 23, 4004 BC the earth is 6013 years old. That is the word of God.

The Gombeen Man said...

@ Anna. We await an answer, Anna. Funny that they just don't get it that the compulsion/privilege thing creates hostility.

@ (last) Anon. Thanks for that info. Not sure if it's in the right post, tho.

Anonymous said...

“THE ADAMS FAMILY” ; no jokes please.

Ruth Dudley Edwards wrote a wonderful article in the Sunday Independent. The article was concerned with the jokes about Iris Robinson (mainly because of the association with the film and the song). But she points out that there were no jokes about Gerry Adams or “The Adams Family”.

I wholly accept her account that Gerry Adams knew about the abuse perpetrated by his brother, and yet did nothing about it, and I would like to offer a hypothesis on why I think he did not report the matter, and it takes me back to my religious education upbringing with the Jesuits.

I recall scenes that were almost identical to those depicted in James Joyce’s “Portrait of an Artist” when Father Dolan unjustly thrashes Stephen Dedalus. It is little wonder that James Joyce gladly left Ireland behind, as I did.

In my case the priest also a Jesuit, Father Prendergast loved to inflict pain and humiliation on boys. However, he told us that Catholic priests, brothers and nuns, could not commit sin as they had been anointed by God at their ordination and making of their vows. He said that The Catholic Church was more important that the government, the courts and the police.

He made it clear that if we complained to anybody about the Catholic Church, we would be taken away and locked up in Artane (a place of sexual debauchery and perpetual evil). As we had all heard of Atrane and what went on there, we did not complain.

This does not excuse the silence of Gerry Adams, but it is possible that Gerry Adams identified with Father Prendergast insofar that he thought “we can do whatever we like with impunity, we are Catholics and we are above the law”. Now that the tide had turned against the Catholic church and the truth about their mendacity and depravity can no longer be hidden Mr Adams speaks out in the interests of his political career. There are no jokes about “The Adams Family“, except that they were bizarre monsters without integrity or morality.

Anonymous said...

Even democratically elected leaders can be slow in recognising the people’s wishes .It can take a year or two for those in lofty positions, to see what’s happening at the grass roots. However, if the grassroots aren’t fluent in Irish after 90 years, maybe there are little clues leaders aren’t picking up? Indications the masses really Don’t want compulsory Irish? Some sort of SIGN (S)?
Well, Irish LC students show remarkable maturity in demonstrating concepts of liberalism and democracy in voting with their feet. About 20% of those feet don’t make it to the exam hall to do the Ordinary exam in Irish. A further 20% show up- and exit after 30 mins. (They will be going to work/ College in NI/ England/ Or the increasing no of colleges here who don’t ask for an Irish pass.)
So stats on LC pass rates are not even based on the entire no of students who studied it for years- 40% are missing. And those pass stats, and grade levels are not even that good.
All is not lost- Higher level shows much better pass rates and grade levels. Why? Well if you CHOOSE Higher level, you ARE GENUINELY interested in the lanaguge. So what IS the point in ( un-democratically ) forcing Irish on the rest who don’t want to learn it beyond JC level. Interestingly, even Enda Kenny, a fluent Irish speaker, says compulsory Irish should be dropped after JC . And with ½ empty exam halls who can blame him- Anna
Footnote- Some definitiions –
liberal adjective (SOCIETY) respecting and allowing many different types of beliefs or behaviour
Democracy- belief in freedom & equality between people, or a system of government based on this belief, in which power is either held by elected representatives or directly by the people themselves

David Corrigan said...

The Beauty of Ireland

The James Joyce Bridge is completely superfluous and inappropriate to the city of Dublin. It is clear that the people who conceived this idea had never read one word that James Joyce had ever written. Building the bridge was an EU scam; just to get the money, and the appropriate commission for the contract.

Soon after Ireland joined the EU it became eligible for EU financial grants and that is what the changing the street names is all about. Some friend of a government minister will probably have a tender already signed and sealed to do the job. Financial shenanigans do not just happen, north of the border.

Most people have heard the story about a certain fiasco regarding a ferry. The story is that a the people living in certain part of Ireland applied for a grant to buy a ferry to go to the western Islands to where the people had rowed for centuries. The money was granted and a brand new ferry was bought, and all was well.

Well, not quite, nobody had thought that a jetty or pier would be required on the mainland and on the island. Consequently, the ferry had to be moored offshore and the passengers had to be rowed out to embark and of course to disembark.

David Corrigan

Anonymous said...

Dont be so bloody insulting. Ireland is no worse than anywhere else. The City of Dublin compares well with any other city in the world. Why on earth do the Irish mock and insult their own country. The US, UK and France etc. are always singing their own their own praises. One evening in the Fleet Pub or Davy Byrne's pub in Dublin is better than any pub in Manhatten, Chelsea or Montmartre.
For F**K sake, stop whinging, and drink up !!!

Anonymous said...

Now , just you look here!!, you forgot Mulligans pub, and that will never do !! Even the insults are friendly.

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Laurence said...

They haven't gone away you know....

Particularly one busy poster over at,
who seems intent on spreading this "Irish only" place name malarky throughout the country.

The Gombeen Man said...

I've had this nutjob posting on the blog before, Laurence.

Maybe he should get to the point and say he, FF "Gaeilge agus Failte" niche solicitor Tom Brabazon and various SF nutters, want to ban all placenames that are in the majority language of our country, because it happens to be called English?