Dé Sathairn 29 Nollaig 2007


Tá dubhspéis agam in Interlingua, seo roinnt sampla, is fearr liom Interlingua ná Esperanto de bhrí nach saoilim gur féidir canán iomlán a chumadh – caithfidh sé a bheith nadúrtha. Is féidir Interlingua a úsáid chun comársáid a bheith agat le cainteoir teanga románsúla ar bith – tá taithí agam ar seo. Cinnte, cha chludaíonn Interlingua ach Béarla agus na teangacha románsúla ach sin moll mór daoine!

B'fhéidir leagan úr de Sean-Slaivis na hEaglaise a úsáid chun na teangacha Slaivise a aontú?

Seo roinnt samplaí d’Interlingua …

Il es nihil = tá fáilte romhat, Salute! = Dia duit, Como sta vos? = Caidé mar atá tú?, Adeo = slán, A revider = tífidh mé thú, Gratias = go raibh maith agat, Multe Gratias = go raibh mile maith agat, Per favor = le do thoil, Pardona me = gabh mo leithscéal, Ben = maith, Mal = dona, Amico (m.), Amica (f.) = cara, Qual es vostre nomine? = caidé an t-ainm atá ort?
Il es un placer facer vostre cognoscentia = ba deas bualadh leat

Sinn Féin agus an Ghaeilg …

Sa chéad dul síos creidim go bhfuil Sinn Féin ina bpáirtí is gaelaí in Éirinn, is iad an t-aon dream a bhfuil sé de pholasaí acu iad féin a ghaelú, chomh maith leis sin, tá roinn cultúir acu.

Sin ráite, níl siad maith go leor ar chór ar bith dar liom. Cad chuige? Níl Gaeilge ag mórán acu! Is beag Gaeilge a labhraítear ar chóir ar bith ach shílfeá go ndéanfadh siad iarracht níos fearr.

"You need not praise the Irish language, simply speak it."
Pádraig Mac Piaras, Uachtarán, Oide, Gael.

Ó thuaidh, tá an scéal truacanta amach, ní dóigh liom go dtiocfadh liom a rá go bhfuil Gaeilg mhaith ag MLA ar bith acu, cinnte tá Gaeilg ag Barra Mac Giolla Duibh agus ag Caitríona Ruane ach tá sé de dhualgas orthu a gcuid Gaeilg a fheabhsú. Is bocht an Ghaeilg atá ag Gerry Adams cé go bhfuil sé sásta í a labhairt, caithfidh sé dul i mbun foghlamtha – tá teach aige i nGort a’ Choirce, níl leithscéal a bith aige.

Ná daoine eile, is léir nach dtuigeann siad cad is náisiúnachas ar chór ar bith.

Déardaoin 27 Nollaig 2007

Na Ceithearna Coille

Tugaim lán mo chuid tacaíochta do na Ceithearna Coille. Tá siad ag déanamh sár oibre dar liom, fiú más beag go fóill é.

Cuireann said isteach go mór mór ar shean-ghluaiseacht na Gaeilge go cinnte, iontach a deirim! Chlis air na dreamanna seo le ceithre scór bliain – fág an bealach a deir na CC leo. Feiceann siadsan ‘loitimeireacht’, ach tchím féin fonn troda is dóchas, tchím daoine óga atá sásta dul i mbun ghímh, agus is é an ghníomh ar an talamh an rud is mó atá de dhíth ar an Ghaeilge mar a bhíodh i gcónaí agus tá sé de cheart ag Gaeil an tuaiscirt na leagain cearta denár logainmneacha a fheiceáil, agus feicfidh, dóigh amháin nó dóigh eile.

Dé Luain 24 Nollaig 2007

PSNI, chan fheil siad maith go leor … ná baol air.

Fuair mise agus companero de mo chuid droch-am ón PSNI roimh an Nollaig ansin, chuir siad masla orainn as Gaeilg a labhairt. Títear domsa gur eagraíocht frithghaelach is seicteach iad an dream seo go fóill faraor.

Seans gur féidir iad a fheabhsú ó thaobh biogóideachais creidimh de ach tá mé in amhrás más féidir an frithghaelachas seo a mhaolú.

Dé Luain 17 Nollaig 2007

The Necessity for De-Anglicising Ireland

The Necessity for De-Anglicising Ireland
by Douglas Hyde

Delivered before the Irish National Literary Society in Dublin, 25 November 1892.

When we speak of 'The Necessity for De-Anglicising the Irish Nation', we mean it, not as a protest against imitating what is best in the English people, for that would be absurd, but rather to show the folly of neglecting what is Irish, and hastening to adopt, pell-mell, and indiscriminately, everything that is English, simply because it is English.

This is a question which most Irishmen will naturally look at from a National point of view, but it is one which ought also to claim the sympathies of every intelligent Unionist, and which, as I know, does claim the sympathy of many.

If we take a bird's eye view of our island today, and compare it with what it used to be, we must be struck by the extraordinary fact that the nation which was once, as every one admits, one of the most classically learned and cultured nations in Europe, is now one of the least so; how one of the most reading and literary peoples has become one of the least studious and most un-literary, and how the present art products of one of the quickest, most sensitive, and most artistic races on earth are now only distinguished for their hideousness.

I shall endeavour to show that this failure of the Irish people in recent times has been largely brought about by the race diverging during this century from the right path, and ceasing to be Irish without becoming English. I shall attempt to show that with the bulk of the people this change took place quite recently, much more recently than most people imagine, and is, in fact, still going on. I should also like to call attention to the illogical position of men who drop their own language to speak English, of men who translate their euphonious Irish names into English monosyllables, of men who read English books, and know nothing about Gaelic literature, nevertheless protesting as a matter of sentiment that they hate the country which at every hand's turn they rush to imitate.

I wish to show you that in Anglicising ourselves wholesale we have thrown away with a light heart the best claim which we have upon the world's recognition of us as a separate nationality. What did Mazzini say? What is Goldwin Smith never tired of declaiming? What do the Spectator and Saturday Review harp on? That we ought to be content as an integral part of the United Kingdom because we have lost the notes of nationality, our language and customs.

It has always been very curious to me how Irish sentiment sticks in this half-way house -- how it continues to apparently hate the English, and at the same time continues to imitate them; how it continues to clamour for recognition as a distinct nationality, and at the same time throws away with both hands what would make it so. If Irishmen only went a little farther they would become good Englishmen in sentiment also. But -- illogical as it appears -- there seems not the slightest sign or probability of their taking that step. It is the curious certainty that come what may Irishmen will continue to resist English rule, even though it should be for their good, which prevents many of our nation from becoming Unionists upon the spot. It is a fact, and we must face it as a fact, that although they adopt English habits and copy England in every way, the great bulk of Irishmen and Irishwomen over the whole world are known to be filled with a dull, ever-abiding animosity against her, and right or wrong -- to grieve when she prospers, and joy when she is hurt. Such movements as Young Irelandism, Fenianism, Land Leagueism, and Parliamentary obstruction seem always to gain their sympathy and support. It is just because there appears no earthly chance of their becoming good members of the Empire that I urge that they should not remain in the anomalous position they are in, but since they absolutely refuse to become the one thing, that they become the other; cultivate what they have rejected, and build up an Irish nation on Irish lines.

But you ask, why should we wish to make Ireland more Celtic than it is -- why should we de-Anglicise it at all?

I answer because the Irish race is at present in a most anomalous position, imitating England and yet apparently hating it. How can it produce anything good in literature, art, or institutions as long as it is actuated by motives so contradictory? Besides, I believe it is our Gaelic past which, though the Irish race does not recognise it just at present, is really at the bottom of the Irish heart, and prevents us becoming citizens of the Empire, as, I think, can be easily proved.

To say that Ireland has not prospered under English rule is simply a truism; all the world admits it, England does not deny it. But the English retort is ready. You have not prospered, they say, because you would not settle down contentedly, like the Scotch, and form part of the Empire. 'Twenty years of good, resolute, grandfatherly government', said a well-known Englishman, will solve the Irish question. He possibly made the period too short, but let us suppose this. Let us suppose for a moment -- which is impossible -- that there were to arise a series of Cromwells in England for the space of one hundred years, able administrators of the Empire, careful rulers of Ireland, developing to the utmost our national resources, whilst they unremittingly stamped out every spark of national feeling, making Ireland a land of wealth and factories, whilst they extinguished every thought and every idea that was Irish, and left us, at last, after a hundred years of good government, fat, wealthy, and populous, but with all our characteristics gone, with every external that at present differentiates us from the English lost or dropped; all our Irish names of places and people turned into English names; the Irish language completely extinct; the O's and the Macs dropped; our Irish intonation changed, as far as possible by English schoolmasters into something English; our history no longer remembered or taught; the names of our rebels and martyrs blotted out; our battlefields and traditions forgotten; the fact that we were not of Saxon origin dropped out of sight and memory, and let me now put the question -- How many Irishmen are there who would purchase material prosperity at such a price? It is exactly such a question as this and the answer to it that shows the difference between the English and Irish race. Nine Englishmen out of ten would jump to make the exchange, and I as firmly believe that nine Irishmen out of ten would indignantly refuse it.

And yet this awful idea of complete Anglicisation, which I have here put before you in all its crudity is, and has been, making silent inroads upon us for nearly a century.

Its inroads have been silent, because, had the Gaelic race perceived what was being done, or had they been once warned of what was taking place in their own midst, they would, I think, never have allowed it. When the picture of complete Anglicisation is drawn for them in all its nakedness Irish sentimentality becomes suddenly a power and refuses to surrender its birthright...

So much for the greatest stroke of all in our Anglicisation, the loss of our language. I have often heard people thank God that if the English gave us nothing else they gave us at least their language. In this way they put a bold face upon the matter, and pretend that the Irish language is not worth knowing, and has no literature. But the Irish language is worth knowing, or why would the greatest philologists of Germany, France, and Italy be emulously studying it, and it does possess a literature, or why would a German savant have made the calculation that the books written in Irish between the eleventh and seventeenth centuries, and still extant, would fill a thousand octavo volumes.

I have no hesitation at all in saying that every Irish-feeling Irishman, who hates the reproach of West-Britonism, should set himself to encourage the efforts, which are being made to keep alive our once great national tongue. The losing of it is our greatest blow, and the sorest stroke that the rapid Anglicisation of Ireland has inflicted upon us. In order to de-Anglicise ourselves we must at once arrest the decay of the language. We must bring pressure upon our politicians not to snuff it out by their tacit discouragement merely because they do not happen themselves to understand it. We must arouse some spark of patriotic inspiration among the peasantry who still use the language, and put an end to the shameful state of feeling -- a thousand-tongued reproach to our leaders and statesmen -- which makes young men and women blush and hang their heads when overheard speaking their own language. Maynooth has at last come splendidly to the front, and it is now incumbent upon every clerical student to attend lectures in the Irish language and history during the first three years of his course. But in order to keep the Irish language alive where it is still spoken -- which is the utmost we can at present aspire to -- nothing less than a house-to-house visitation and exhortation of the people themselves will do, something -- though with a very different purpose -- analogous to the procedure that James Stephens adopted throughout Ireland when he found her like a corpse on the dissecting table. This and some system of giving medals or badges of honour to every family who will guarantee that they have always spoken Irish amongst themselves during the year. But unfortunately, distracted as we are and torn by contending factions, it is impossible to find either men or money to carry out this simple remedy, although to a dispassionate foreigner -- to a Zeuss, Jubainville, Zimmer, Kuno Meyer, Windisch, or Ascoli, and the rest -- this is of greater importance than whether Mr. Redmond or Mr. MacCarthy lead the largest wing of the Irish party for the moment, or Mr. So-and-So succeed with his election petition. To a person taking a bird's eye view of the situation a hundred or five hundred years hence, believe me, it will also appear of greater importance than any mere temporary wrangle, but, unhappily, our countrymen cannot be brought to see this.

We can, however, insist, and we shall insist if Home Rule be carried, that the Irish language, which so many foreign scholars of the first calibre find so worthy of study, shall be placed on a par with -- or even above -- Greek, Latin, and modern languages, in all examinations held under the Irish Government. We can also insist, and we shall insist, that in those baronies where the children speak Irish, Irish shall be taught, and that Irish-speaking schoolmasters, petty sessions clerks, and even magistrates be appointed in Irish-speaking districts. If all this were done, it should not be very difficult, with the aid of the foremost foreign scholars, to bring about a tone of thought which would make it disgraceful for an educated Irishman especially of the old Celtic race, MacDermotts, O'Conors, O'Sullivans, MacCarthys, O'Neills -- to be ignorant of his own language -- would make it at least as disgraceful as for an educated Jew to be quite ignorant of Hebrew...

I have now mentioned a few of the principal points on which it would be desirable for us to move, with a view to de-Anglicising ourselves; but perhaps the principal point of all I have taken for granted. That is the necessity for encouraging the use of Anglo-Irish literature instead of English books, especially instead of English periodicals. We must set our face sternly against penny dreadfuls, shilling shockers, and still more, the garbage of vulgar English weeklies like Bow Bells and the Police Intelligence. Every house should have a copy of Moore and Davis. In a word, we must strive to cultivate everything that is most racial, most smacking of the soil, most Gaelic, most Irish, because in spite of the little admixture of Saxon blood in the north-east corner, this island is and will ever remain Celtic at the core, far more Celtic than most people imagine, because, as I have shown you, the names of our people are no criterion of their race. On racial lines, then, we shall best develop, following the bent of our own natures; and, in order to do this, we must create a strong feeling against West-Britonism, for it -- if we give it the least chance, or show it the smallest quarter -- will overwhelm us like a flood, and we shall find ourselves toiling painfully behind the English at each step following the same fashions, only six months behind the English ones; reading the same books, only months behind them; taking up the same fads, after they have become stale there, following them in our dress, literature, music, games, and ideas, only a long time after them and a vast way behind. We will become, what, I fear, we are largely at present, a nation of imitators, the Japanese of Western Europe, lost to the power of native initiative and alive only to second-hand assimilation. I do not think I am overrating this danger. We are probably at once the most assimilative and the most sensitive nation in Europe. A lady in Boston said to me that the Irish immigrants had become Americanised on the journey out before ever they landed at Castle Gardens. And when I ventured to regret it, she said, shrewdly, 'If they did not at once become Americanised they would not be Irish.' I knew fifteen Irish workmen who were working in a haggard in England give up talking Irish amongst themselves because the English farmer laughed at them. And yet O'Connell used to call us the 'finest peasantry in Europe'. Unfortunately, he took little care that we should remain so. We must teach ourselves to be less sensitive, we must teach ourselves not to be ashamed of ourselves, because the Gaelic people can never produce its best before the world as long as it remains tied to the apron-strings of another race and another island, waiting for it to move before it will venture to take any step itself.

In conclusion, I would earnestly appeal to every one, whether Unionist or Nationalist, who wishes to see the Irish nation produce its best -- surely whatever our politics are we all wish that -- to set his face against this constant running to England for our books, literature, music, games, fashions, and ideas. I appeal to every one whatever his politics -- for this is no political matter -- to do his best to help the Irish race to develop in future upon Irish lines, even at the risk of encouraging national aspirations, because upon Irish lines alone can the Irish race once more become what it was of yore -- one of the most original, artistic, literary, and charming peoples of Europe.

The Murder Machine

The Murder Machine (Author: Pádraic H. Pearse)

A French writer has paid the English a very well-deserved compliment. He says that they never commit a useless crime. When they hire a man to assassinate an Irish patriot, when they blow a Sepoy from the mouth of a cannon, when they produce a famine in one of their dependencies, they have always an ulterior motive. They do not do it for fun. Humorous as these crimes are, it is not the humour of them, but their utility, that appeals to the English. Unlike Gilbert's Mikado, they would see nothing humorous in boiling oil. If they retained boiling oil in their penal code, they would retain it, as they retain flogging before execution in Egypt, strictly because it has been found useful.

This observation will help one to an understanding of some portions of the English administration of Ireland. The English administration of Ireland has not been marked by any unnecessary cruelty. Every crime that the English have planned and carried out in Ireland has had a definite end. Every absurdity that they have set up has had a grave purpose. The Famine was not enacted merely from a love of horror. The Boards that rule Ireland were not contrived in order to add to the gaiety of nations. The Famine and the Boards are alike parts of a profound polity.

I have spent the greater part of my life in immediate contemplation of the most grotesque and horrible of the English inventions for the debasement of Ireland. I mean their education system. The English once proposed in their Dublin Parliament a measure for the castration of all Irish priests who refused to quit Ireland. The proposal was so filthy that, although it duly passed the House and was transmitted to England with the warm recommendation of the Viceroy, it was not eventually adopted. But the English have actually carried out an even filthier thing. They have planned and established an education system which more wickedly does violence to the elementary human rights of Irish children than would an edict for the general castration of Irish males. The system has aimed at the substitution for men and women of mere Things. It has not been an entire success. There are still a great many thousand men and women in Ireland. But a great many thousand of what, by way, of courtesy, we call men and women, are simply Things. Men and women, however depraved, have kindly human allegiances. But these Things have no allegiance. Like other Things, they are for sale.
When one uses the term education system as the name of the system of schools, colleges, universities, and what not which the English have established in Ireland, one uses it as a convenient label, just as one uses the term government as a convenient label for the system of administration by police which obtains in Ireland instead of a government. There is no education system in Ireland. The English have established the simulacrum of an education system. but its object is the
precise contrary of the object of an education system. Education should foster; this education is meant to repress. Education should inspire; this education is meant to tame. Education should harden; this education is meant to enervate. The English are too wise a people to attempt to educate the Irish, in any worthy sense. As well expect them to arm us.

Professor Eoin MacNeill has compared the English education system in Ireland to the system of slave education which existed in the ancient pagan republics side by side with the systems intended for the education of freemen. To the children of the free were taught all noble and goodly things which would tend to make them strong and proud and valiant; from the children of the slaves all such dangerous knowledge was hidden. They were taught not to be strong and proud and valiant, but to be sleek, to be obsequious, to be dexterous: the object was not to make them good men, but to make them good slaves. And so in Ireland. The education system here was designed by our masters in order to make us willing or at least manageable slaves. It has made of some Irishmen not slaves merely, but very eunuchs, with the indifference and cruelty of eunuchs; kinless beings, who serve for pay a master that they neither love nor hate.

Ireland is not merely in servitude, but in a kind of penal servitude. Certain of the slaves among us are appointed jailors over the common herd of slaves. And they are trained from their youth for this degrading office. The ordinary slaves are trained for their lowly tasks in dingy places called schools; the buildings in which the higher slaves are trained are called colleges and universities. If one may regard Ireland as a nation in penal servitude, the schools and colleges and universities may be looked upon as the symbol of her penal servitude. They are, so to speak, the broad-arrow upon the back of Ireland.

A few years ago, when people still believed the imminence of Home Rule, there were
numerous discussions as to the tasks awaiting a Home Rule Parliament and the order in which they should be taken up. Mr. John Dillon declared that one of the first of those tasks was the recasting of the Irish education system, by which he meant the English education system in Ireland. The declaration alarmed the Bishop of Limerick, always suspicious of Mr. Dillon, and he told that statesman in effect that the Irish education system did not need recasting---that all was well there.
The positions seemed irreconcilable. Yet in the Irish Review I quixotically attempted to find common ground between the disputants, and to state in such a way as to command the assent of both the duty of a hypothetical Irish Parliament with regard to education. I put it that what education in Ireland needed was less a reconstruction of its machinery than a regeneration in spirit. The machinery, I said, has doubtless its defects, but what is chiefly wrong with it is that it is mere machinery, a lifeless thing without a soul. Dr. O'Dwyer was probably concerned for the maintenance of a portion of the machinery, valued by him as a Catholic
Bishop, and not without reason; and I for one was (and am) willing to leave that particular portion untouched, or practically so. But the machine as a whole is no more capable of fulfilling the function for which it is needed than would an automaton be capable of fulfilling the function of a living teacher in a school. A soulless thing cannot teach; but it can destroy. A machine cannot make men; but it can break men.
One of the most terrible things about the English education system in Ireland is its ruthlessness. I know no image for that ruthlessness in the natural order. The ruthlessness of a wild beast has in it a certain mercy---it slays. It has in it a certain grandeur of animal force. But this ruthlessness is literally without pity and without passion. It is cold and mechanical, like the ruthlessness of an immensely powerful engine. A machine vast, complicated, with a multitude of far-reaching arms, with many ponderous presses, carrying out mysterious and long-drawn processes of shaping and moulding, is the true image of the Irish education system. It grinds night and day; it obeys immutable and predetermined laws; it is as devoid of
understanding, of sympathy, of imagination, as is any other piece of machinery that performs an appointed task. Into it is fed all the raw human material in Ireland; it seizes upon it inexorably and rends and compresses and re-moulds; and what it cannot refashion after the regulation pattern it ejects with all likeness of its former self crushed from it, a bruised and shapeless thing, thereafter accounted waste.
Our common parlance has become impressed with the conception of education as some sort of manufacturing process. Our children are the `raw material'; we desiderate for their education `modern methods' which must be efficient but cheap; we send them to Clongowes to be `finished'; when finished they are `turned out'; specialists `grind' them for the English Civil Service and the so-called liberal professions; in each of our great colleges there is a department known as the `scrap-heap', though officially called the Fourth Preparatory---the limbo to which the debris ejected by the machine is relegated. The stuff there is either too hard or too soft to be moulded to the pattern required by the Civil Service
Commissioners or the Incorporated Law Society.
In our adoption of the standpoint here indicated there is involved a primary blunder as to the nature and functions of education. For education has not to do with the manufacture of things, but with fostering the growth of things. And the conditions we should strive to bring about in our education system are not the conditions favourable to the rapid and cheap manufacture of ready-mades, but the conditions favourable to the growth of living organisms---the liberty and the light and the gladness of a ploughed field under the spring sunshine.
In particular I would urge that the Irish school system of the future should give freedom---freedom to the individual school, freedom to the individual teacher, freedom as far as may be to the individual pupil. Without freedom there can be no right growth; and education is properly the fostering of the right growth of a personality. Our school system must bring, too, some gallant inspiration. And with the inspiration it must bring a certain hardening. One scarcely knows whether modern sentimentalism
or modern utilitarianism is the more sure sign of modern decadence. I would boldly preach the antique faith that fighting is the only noble thing, and that he only is at peace with God who is at war with the powers of evil.
In a true education system, religion, patriotism, literature, art and science would be brought in such a way into the daily lives of boys and girls as to affect their character and conduct. We may assume that religion is a vital thing in Irish schools, but I know that the other things, speaking broadly, do not exist. There are no ideas there, no love of beauty, no love of books, no love of knowledge, no heroic inspiration. And there is no room for such things either on the earth or in the heavens, for the earth is cumbered and the heavens are darkened by the monstrous bulk of the programme. Most of the educators detest the programme. They are like the adherents of a dead creed who continue to mumble formulas and to make obeisance before an idol which they have found out to be a spurious divinity.
Mr. Dillon was to be sympathised with, even though pathetically premature, in
looking to the then anticipated advent of Home Rule for a chance to make education what it should be. But I doubt if he and the others who would have had power in a Home Rule Parliament realised that what is needed here is not reform, not even a revolution, but a vastly bigger thing---a creation. It is not a question of pulling machinery asunder and piecing it together again; it is a question of breathing into a dead thing a living soul.
" I DENY "
I postulate that there is no education in Ireland apart from the voluntary efforts of a few people, mostly mad. Let us therefore not talk of reform, or of reconstruction. You cannot reform that which is not; you cannot by any process of reconstruction give organic life to a negation. In a literal sense the work of the first Minister of Education in a free Ireland will be a work of creation; for out of chaos he will have to evolve order
and into a dead mass he will have to breathe the breath of life.
The English thing that is called education in Ireland is founded on a denial of the Irish nation. No education can start with a Nego, any more than a religion can. Everything that even pretends to be true begins with its Credo. It is obvious that the savage who says `I believe in Mumbo Jumbo' is nearer to true religion than the philosopher who says `I deny God and the spiritual in man.' Now, to teach a child to deny is the greatest crime a man or a State can commit. Certain schools in Ireland teach children to deny their religion; nearly all the schools in Ireland teach children to deny their nation. `I deny the spirituality of my nation; I deny the lineage of my blood; I deny my rights and responsibilities.' This Nego is their Credo, this evil their good.
To invent such a system of teaching and to persuade us that it is an education system, an Irish education system to be defended by Irishmen against attack, is the most wonderful thing the English have accomplished in Ireland; and the most wicked.
All the speculations one saw a few years ago as to the probable effect of Home Rule on education in Ireland showed one how inadequately the problem was grasped. To some the expected advent of Home Rule seemed to promise as its main fruition in the field of education the raising of their salaries; to others the supreme thing it was to bring in its train was the abolition of Dr. Starkie; to some again it held out the delightful prospect of Orange boys and Orange girls being forced to learn Irish; to others it meant the dawn of an era of common sense, the ushering in of the reign of a sound modern education, suitable to the needs of a progressive modern people.
I scandalised many people at the time by saying that the last was the view that irritated me most. The first view was not so selfish as it might appear, for between the salary offered to teachers and the excellence of a
country's education system there is a vital connection. And the second and third forecasts at any rate opened up picturesque vistas. The passing of Dr. Starkie would have had something of the pageantry of the banishment of Napoleon to St. Helena (an effect which would have been heightened had he been accompanied into exile by Mr. Bonaparte Wyse), and the prospect of the children of Sandy Row being taught to curse the Pope in Irish was rich and soul-satisfying. These things we might or might not have seen had Home Rule come. But I expressed the hope that even Home Rule would not commit Ireland to an ideal so low as the ideal underlying the phrase `a sound modern education.'
It is a vile phrase, one of the vilest I know. Yet we find it in nearly every school prospectus, and it comes pat to the lips of nearly everyone that writes or talks about schools
Now, there can be no such thing as `a sound modern education'---as well talk about a `lively modern faith' or a `serviceable modern religion.' It should be obvious that the more `modern' an education is the less `sound', for in education `modernism' is
as much a heresy as in religion. In both mediaevalism were a truer standard. We are too fond of clapping ourselves upon the back because we live in modern times, and we preen ourselves quite ridiculously (and unnecessarily) on our modern progress. There is, of course, such a thing as modern progress, but it has been won at how great a cost! How many precious things have we flung from us to lighten ourselves for that race!
And in some directions we have progressed not at all, or we have progressed in a circle; perhaps, indeed, all progress on this planet, and on every planet, is a circle, just as every line you draw on a globe is a circle or part of one. Modern speculation is often a mere groping where ancient men saw clearly. All the problems with which we strive (I mean all the really important problems) were long ago solved by our ancestors, only their solutions have been forgotten. There have been States in which the rich did not grind the poor, although there are no such States now; there have been free self-governing democracies, although there are few such democracies now; there have been rich and beautiful social organisations, with an art and
a culture and a religion in every man's house, though for such a thing to-day we have to search out some sequestered people living by a desolate sea-shore or in a high forgotten valley among lonely hills---a hamlet of Iar-Connacht or a village in the Austrian Alps. Mankind, I repeat, or some section of mankind, has solved all its main problems somewhere and at some time. I suppose no universal and permanent solution is possible as long as the old Adam remains in us, the Adam that makes each one of us, and each tribe of us, something of the rebel, of the freethinker, of the adventurer, of the egoist. But the solutions are there, and it is because we fail in clearness of vision or in boldness of heart or in singleness of purpose that we cannot find them.
The words and phrases of a language are always to some extent revelations of the mind of the race that has moulded the language.
How often does an Irish vocable light up as with a lantern some immemorial Irish attitude, some whole phase of Irish thought! Thus the words which the old Irish employed when they spoke of education show that they had gripped the very heart of that problem. To the old Irish the teacher was aite, `fosterer', the pupil was dalta, `foster-child', the system was aiteachas, `fosterage'; words which we still retain as oide, dalta, oideachas.
And is it not the precise aim of education to `foster'? Not to inform, to indoctrinate, to conduct through a course of studies (though these be the dictionary meanings of the word), but first and last to `foster' the elements of character native to a soul, to help to bring these to their full perfection rather than to implant exotic excellences.
Fosterage implies a foster-father or foster-mother---a person--- as its centre and inspiration rather than a code of rules. Modern education systems are elaborate pieces of machinery devised by highly-salaried officials for the purpose of turning out citizens according to certain approved patterns. The modern school is a State-controlled institution
designed to produce workers for the State, and is in the same category with a dockyard or any other State-controlled institution which produces articles necessary to the progress, well-being, and defence of the State. We speak of the `efficiency', the `cheapness', and the `up-to-dateness' of an education system just as we speak of the `efficiency', the `cheapness', and the `up-to-dateness' of a system of manufacturing coal-gas. We shall soon reach a stage when we shall speak of the `efficiency', the `cheapness', and the `up-to-dateness' of our systems of soul-saving. We shall hear it said `Salvation is very cheap in England', or `The Germans are wonderfully efficient in prayer', or `Gee, it takes a New York parson to hustle ginks into heaven.'
Now, education is as much concerned with souls as religion is. Religion is a Way of Life, and education is a preparation of the soul to live its life here and hereafter; to live it nobly and fully. And as we cannot think of religion without a Person as its centre, as we cannot think of a church without its Teacher, so we cannot think of a school without its Master. A school in fact,
according to the conception of our wise ancestors, was less a place than a little group of persons, a teacher and his pupils. Its place might be poor, nay, it might have no local habitation at all, it might be peripatetic: where the master went the disciples followed. One may think of Our Lord and His friends as a sort of school: was He not the Master, and were not they His disciples? That gracious conception was not only the conception of the old Gael, pagan and Christian, but it was the conception of Europe all through the Middle Ages. Philosophy was not crammed out of text-books, but was learned at the knee of some great philosopher: art was learned in the studio of some master- artist, a craft in the workshop of some master-craftsman. Always it was the personality of the master that made the school, never the State that built it of brick and mortar, drew up a code of rules to govern it, and sent hirelings into it to carry out its decrees.
I do not know how far it is possible to revive the old ideal of fosterer and foster-child. I know it were very desirable. One sees too clearly that the modern system, under
which the teacher tends more and more to become a mere civil servant, is making for the degradation of education, and will end in irreligion and anarchy. The modern child is coming to regard his teacher as an official paid by the State to render him certain services; services which it is in his interest to avail of, since by doing so he will increase his earning capacity later on; but services the rendering and acceptance of which no more imply a sacred relationship than do the rendering and acceptance of the services of a dentist or a chiropodist. There is thus coming about a complete reversal of the relative positions of master and disciple, a tendency which is increased by every statute that is placed on the statute book, by every rule that is added to the education code of modern countries.
Against this trend I would oppose the ideal of those who shaped the Gaelic polity nearly two thousand years ago. It is not merely that the old Irish had a good education system; they had the best and noblest that has ever been known among men. There has never been any human institution more adequate to its purpose than
that which, in pagan times, produced Cuchulainn and the Boy-Corps of Eamhain Macha and, in Christian times, produced Enda and the companions of his solitude in Aran. The old Irish system, pagan and Christian, possessed in pre-eminent degree the thing most needful in education: an adequate inspiration. Colmcille suggested what that inspiration was when he said, `If I die it shall be from the excess of the love that I bear the Gael'. A love and a service so excessive as to annihilate all thought of self, a recognition that one must give all, must be willing always to make the ultimate sacrifice; this is the inspiration alike of the story of Cuchulainn and of the story of Colmcille, the inspiration that made the one a hero and the other a saint.
In the Middle Ages there were everywhere little groups of persons clustering round some beloved teacher, and thus it was that men
learned not only the humanities but all gracious and useful crafts. There were no State art schools, no State technical schools: as I have said, men became artists in the studio of some master-artist, men learned crafts in the workshop of some master craftsman. It was always the individual inspiring, guiding, fostering other individuals; never the State usurping the place of father or fosterer, dispensing education like a universal provider of readymades, aiming at turning out all men and women according to regulation patterns.
In Ireland the older and truer conception was never lost sight of. It persisted into Christian times when a Kieran or an Enda or a Colmcille gathered his little group of foster-children (the old word was still used) around him; they were collectively his family, his household, his clann; many sweet and endearing words were used to mark the intimacy of that relationship. It seems to me that there has been nothing nobler in the history of education than this development of the old Irish plan of fosterage under a Christian rule, when to the pagan ideals of strength and truth there were added the
Christian ideals of love and humility. And this, remember, was not the education system of an aristocracy, but the education system of a people. It was more democratic than any education system in the world to-day. Our very divisions into primary, secondary, and university crystallise a snobbishness partly intellectual and partly social. At Clonard Kieran, the son of a carpenter, sat in the same class as Colmcille, the son of a king. To Clonard or to Aran or to Clonmacnois went every man, rich or poor, prince or peasant, who wanted to sit at Finnian's or at Enda's or at Kieran's feet and to learn of his wisdom.
Always it was the personality of the teacher that drew them there. And so it was all through Irish history. A great poet or a great scholar had his foster-children who lived at his house or fared with him through the country. Even long after Kinsale the Munster poets had their little groups of pupils; and the hedge schoolmasters of the nineteenth century were the last repositories of a high tradition.
I dwell on the importance of the personal element in education. I would have every
child not merely a unit in a school attendance, but in some intimate personal way the pupil of a teacher, or, to use more expressive words, the disciple of a master. And here I nowise contradict another position of mine, that the main object in education is to help the child to be his own true and best self. What the teacher should bring to his pupil is not a set of ready made opinions, or a stock of cut-and-dry information, but an inspiration and an example; and his main qualification should be, not such an overmastering will as shall impose itself at all hazards upon all weaker wills that come under its influence, but rather so infectious an enthusiasm as shall kindle new enthusiasm. The Montessori system, so admirable in many ways, would seem at first sight to attach insufficient importance to the function of the teacher in the schoolroom. But this is not really so. True, it would make the spontaneous efforts of the children the main motive power, as against the dominating will of the teacher which is the main motive power in the ordinary schoolroom. But the teacher must be there always to inspire, to foster. If you would realise how true this is, how important
the personality of the teacher, even in a Montessori school, try to imagine a Montessori school conducted by the average teacher of your acquaintance, or try to imagine a Montessori school conducted by yourself!
I have claimed elsewhere that the native Irish education system possessed pre-eminently two characteristics: first, freedom for the individual, and, secondly, an adequate inspiration. Without these two things you cannot have education, no matter how you may elaborate educational machinery, no matter how you may multiply educational programmes. And because those two things are pre-eminently lacking in what passes for education in Ireland, we have in Ireland strictly no education system at all; nothing that by any extension of the meaning of words can be called an education system. We have an elaborate machinery for teaching
persons certain subjects, and the teaching is done more or less efficiently; more efficiently, I imagine, than such teaching is done in England or in America. We have three universities and four boards of education. We have some thousands of buildings, large and small. We have an army of inspectors, mostly overpaid. We have a host of teachers, mostly underpaid. We have a Compulsory Education Act. We have the grave and bulky code of the Commissioners of National Education, and the slim impertinent pamphlet which enshrines the wisdom of the Commissioners of Intermediate Education. We have a vast deal more in the shape of educational machinery and stage properties. But we have, I repeat, no education system; and only in isolated places have we any education. The essentials are lacking.
And first of freedom. The word freedom is no longer understood in Ireland. We have no experience of the thing, and we have almost lost our conception of the idea. So completely is this true that the very organisations which exist in Ireland to champion freedom show no disposition themselves to accord freedom; they challenge a great
tyranny, but they erect their little tyrannies. `Thou shalt not' is half the law of Ireland, and the other half is `Thou must.'
Now, nowhere has the law of `Thou shalt not' and `Thou must' been so rigorous as in the schoolroom. Surely the first essential of healthy life there was freedom. But there has been and there is no freedom in Irish education; no freedom for the child, no freedom for the teacher, no freedom for the school. Where young souls, young minds, young bodies, demanded the largest measure of individual freedom consistent with the common good, freedom to move and grow on their natural lines, freedom to live their own lives---for what is natural life but natural growth?---freedom to bring themselves, as I have put it elsewhere, to their own perfection, there was a sheer denial of the right of the individual to grow in his own natural way, that is, in God's way. He had to develop not in God's way, but in the Board's way. The Board, National or Intermediate as the case might be, bound him hand and foot, chained him mind and soul, constricted him morally, mentally, and physically with the involuted folds of its rules and regulations,
its programmes, its minutes, its reports and special reports, its pains and penalties. I have often thought that the type of English education in Ireland was the Laocoon: that agonising father and his sons seem to me like the teacher and the pupils of an Irish school, the strong limbs of the man and the slender limbs of the boys caught together and crushed together in the grip of an awful fate. And English education in Ireland has seemed: to some like the bed of Procustes, the bed on which all men that passed that way must lie, be it never so big for them, be it never so small for them: the traveller for whom it was too large had his limbs stretched until he filled it; the traveller for whom it was too small had his limbs chopped off until he fitted into it---comfortably. It was a grim jest to play upon travellers. The English have done it to Irish children not by way of jest, but with a purpose. Our English-Irish systems took, and take, absolutely no cognisance of the differences between individuals, of the differences between localities, of the: differences between urban and rural communities, of the differences springing from a different ancestry, Gaelic or Anglo-Saxon.
Every school must conform to a type---and what a type! Every individual must conform to a type---and what a type! The teacher has not been at liberty, and in practice is not yet at liberty, to seek to discover the individual bents of his pupils, the hidden talent that is in every normal soul, to discover which and to cherish which, that it may in the fullness of time be put to some precious use, is the primary duty of the teacher. I knew one boy who passed through several schools a dunce and a laughing-stock; the National Board and the Intermediate Board had sat in judgment upon him and had damned him as a failure before men and angels. Yet a friend and fellow-worker of mine discovered that he was gifted with a wondrous sympathy for nature, that he loved and understood the ways of plants, that he had a strange minuteness and subtlety of observation---that, in short, he was the sort of boy likely to become an accomplished botanist. I knew another boy of whom his father said to me: `He is no good at books, he is no good at work; he is good at nothing but playing a tin whistle. What am I to do with him '? I shocked the worthy man by
replying (though really it was the obvious thing to reply): `Buy a tin whistle for him'. Once a colleague of mine summed up the whole philosophy of education in a maxim which startled a sober group of visitors: `If a boy shows an aptitude for doing anything better than most people, he should be encouraged to do it as well as possible; I don't care what it is---scotch-hop, if you like.'
The idea of a compulsory programme imposed by an external authority upon every child in every school in a country is the direct contrary of the root idea involved in education. Yet this is what we have in Ireland. In theory the primary schools have a certain amount of freedom; in practice they have none. Neither in theory or practice is such a freedom dreamt of in the gloomy limbo whose presiding demon is the Board of Intermediate education for Ireland. Education, indeed, reaches its nadir in the Irish Intermediate system. At the present moment there are 15,000 boys and girls pounding at a programme drawn up for them by certain persons around a table in Hume street. Precisely the same textbooks
are being read to-night in every secondary school and college in Ireland. Two of Hawthorne's Tanglewood Tales, with a few poems in English, will constitute the whole literary pabulum of three-quarters of the pupils of Irish secondary schools during this twelve months
[Footnote: 1912-13.]
. The teacher who seeks to give his pupils a wider horizon in literature does so at his peril. He will no doubt benefit his pupils, but he will infallibly reduce his results fees. As an intermediate teacher said to me, `Culture is all very well in its way, but if you don't stick to your programme your boys won't pass.' `Stick to your programme' is the strange device on the banner of the Irish intermediate system; and the programme bulks so large that there is no room for education.
The first thing I plead for, therefore, is freedom: freedom for each school to shape its own programme in conformity with the circumstances of the school as to place, size, personnel, and so on; freedom again for the individual teacher to impart something of his own personality to his work, to bring his own
peculiar gifts to the services of his pupils, to be, in short, a teacher, a master, one having an intimate and permanent relationship with his pupils, and not a mere part of the educational machine, a mere cog in the wheel; freedom finally for the individual pupil and scope for his development within the school and within the system. And I would promote this idea of freedom by the very organisation of the school itself, giving a certain autonomy not only to the school, but to the particular parts of the school: to the staff, of course, but also to the pupils, and, in a large school, to the various sub-divisions of the pupils. I do not plead for anarchy. I plead for freedom within the law, for liberty, not licence, for that true freedom which can exist only where there is discipline, which exists in fact because each, valuing his own freedom, respects also the freedom of others.
That freedom may be availed of to the noble ends of education there must be, within the school system and within the school, an adequate inspiration. The school must make such an appeal to the pupil as shall resound throughout his after life, urging him always to be his best self, never his second-best self. Such an inspiration will come most adequately of all from religion. I do not think that there can be any education of which spiritual religion does not form an integral part; as it is the most important part of life, so it should be the most important part of education, which some have defined as a preparation for complete life. And inspiration will come also from the hero-stories of the world, and especially of our own people; from science and art if taught by people who are really scientists and artists, and not merely persons with certificates from Mr. T. W. Russell; from
literature enjoyed as literature and not studied as `texts'; from the associations of the school place; finally and chiefly from the humanity and great-heartedness of the teacher.
A heroic tale is more essentially a factor in education than a proposition in Euclid. The story of Joan of Arc or the story of the young Napoleon means more for boys and girls than all the algebra in all the books. What the modern world wants more than anything else, what Ireland wants beyond all other modern countries, is a new birth of the heroic spirit. If our schools would set themselves that task, the task of fostering once again knightly courage and strength and truth--- that type of efficiency rather than the peculiar type of efficiency demanded by the English Civil Service--- we should have at least the beginning of an educational system. And what an appeal an Irish school system might have! What a rallying cry an Irish Minister of Education might give to young Ireland! When we were starting St. Enda's I said to my boys: `We must re-create and perpetuate in Ireland the knightly tradition of Cuchulainn, `better is short life with honour
than long life with dishonour'; `I care not though I were to live but one day and one night, if only my fame and my deeds live after me'; the noble tradition of the Fianna, `we, the Fianna, never told a lie, falsehood was never imputed to us'; `strength in our hands, truth on our lips, and cleanness in our hearts'; the Christ-like tradition of Colmcille, `if I die it shall be from the excess of the love I bear the Gael'.' And to that antique evangel should be added the evangels of later days: the stories of Red Hugh and Wolfe Tone and Robert Emmet and John Mitchel and O'Donovan Rossa and Eoghan O'Growney. I have seen Irish boys and girls moved inexpressibly by the story of Emmet or the story of Anne Devlin, and I have always felt it to be legitimate to make use for educational purposes of an exaltation so produced.
The value of the national factor in education would appear to rest chiefly in this, that it addresses itself to the most generous side of the child's nature, urging him to live up to his finest self. If the true work of the teacher be, as I have said, to help the child to realise himself at his best and worthiest,
the factor of nationality is of prime importance, apart from any ulterior propagandist views the teacher may cherish. The school system which neglects it commits, even from the purely pedagogic point of view, a primary blunder. It neglects one of the most powerful of educational resources.
It is because the English education system in Ireland has deliberately eliminated the national factor that it has so terrifically succeeded. For it has---succeeded in making slaves of us. And it has succeeded so well that we no longer realise that we are slaves. Some of us even think our chains ornamental, and are a little doubtful as to whether we shall be quite as comfortable and quite as respectable when they are hacked off.

It remains the crowning achievement of the `National' and Intermediate systems that they have wrought such a change in this people that once loved freedom so passionately. Three-quarters of a century ago there still remained in Ireland a stubborn Irish thing which Cromwell had not trampled out, which the Penal Laws had not crushed, which the horrors of '98 had not daunted, which Pitt had not purchased: a national consciousness enshrined mainly in a national language. After three-quarters of a century's education that thing is nearly lost.

A new education system in Ireland has to do more than restore a national culture. It has to restore manhood to a race that has been deprived of it. Along with its inspiration it must, therefore, bring a certain hardening. It must lead Ireland back to her sagas.

Finally, I say inspiration must come from the teacher. If we can no longer send the children to the heroes and seers and scholars to be fostered, we can at least bring some of the heroes and seers and scholars to the schools. We can rise up against the system which tolerates as teachers the rejected of all other professions rather than demanding for so priest-like an office the highest souls and noblest intellects of the race. I remember once going into a schoolroom in Belgium and finding an old man talking quietly and beautifully about literature to a silent class of boys; I was told that he was one of the most distinguished of contemporary Flemish poets. Here was the sort of personality, the sort of influence, one ought to see in a schoolroom. Not, indeed, that every poet would make a good schoolmaster, or every schoolmaster a good poet. But how seldom here has the teacher any interest in literature at all; how seldom has he any horizon above his time-table, any soul larger than his results fees!

The fact is that, with rare exceptions, the men and women who are willing to work under the conditions as to personal dignity, freedom, tenure, and emolument which obtain in Irish schools are not the sort of men and women likely to make good educators. This part of the subject has been so much discussed in public that one need not dwell upon it. We are all alive to the truth that a teacher ought to be paid better than a policeman, and to the scandal of the fact that many an able and cultured man is working in Irish secondary schools at a salary less than that of the Viceroy's chauffeur.

In these chapters I have sufficiently indicated the general spirit in which I would have Irish education re-created. I say little of organisation, of mere machinery. That is the least important part of the subject. We can all foresee that the first task of a free Ireland must be destructive: that the lusty strokes of Gael and Gall, Ulster taking its manful part, will hew away and cast adrift the rotten and worm-eaten boards which support the grotesque fabric of the English education system. We can all see that, when an Irish Government is constituted, there will be an Irish Minister of Education responsible to the Irish Parliament; that under him Irish education will be drawn into a homogeneous whole---an organic unity will replace a composite freak in which the various members are not only not directed by a single intelligence but are often mutually antagonistic, and sometimes engaged in open
warfare one with the other, like the preposterous donkey in the pantomime whose head is in perpetual strife with his heels because they belong to different individuals. The individual entities that compose the English-Irish educational donkey are four: the Commissioners of National Education, the Commissioners of Intermediate Education, the Commissioners of Education for certain Endowed Schools, and last, but not least, the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction---the modern Ioldanach which in this realm protects science, art, fishery, needlework, poultry, foods and drugs, horse-breeding, etc., etc., etc., etc., and whose versatile chiefs can at a moment's notice switch off their attention from archæology in the Nile Valley to the Foot and Mouth Disease in Mullingar. I must admit that the educational work of the Department as far as it affects secondary schools is done efficiently; but one will naturally expect this branch of its activity to be brought into the general education scheme under the Minister of Education. In addition to the four Boards I have enumerated I need hardly say that Dublin Castle has its finger in the pie, as it has in every unsavoury pie in Ireland. And behind Dublin Castle looms the master of Dublin Castle, and the master of all the Boards, and the master of everything in Ireland---the British Treasury---arrogating claims over the veriest details of education in Ireland for which there is no parallel in any other administration in the world and no sanction even in the British Constitution. My scheme, of course, presupposes the getting rid not only of the British Treasury, but of the British connection.

One perceives the need, too, of linking up the whole system and giving it a common impulse. Under the Minister there might well be chiefs of the various sub-divisions, elementary, secondary, higher, and technical; but these should not be independent potentates, each entrenched in a different stronghold in a different part of the city. I do not see why they could not all occupy offices in the same corridor of the same building. The whole government of the free kingdom of Belgium was carried on in one small building. A Council of some sort, with sub-committees, would doubtless be associated with the Minister, but I think its function should be advisory rather than executive: that all acts should be the acts of the Minister. As to the local organisation of elementary schools, there will always be need of a local manager, and personally I see no reason why the local management should be given to a district council rather than left as it is at present to some individual in the locality interested in education, but a thousand reasons why it should not. I would, however, make the teachers, both primary and secondary, a national service, guaranteeing an adequate salary, adequate security of tenure, adequate promotion, and adequate pension: and all this means adequate endowment, and freedom from the control of parsimonious officials.

In the matter of language I would order things bilingually. But I would not apply the Belgian system exactly as I have described it in An Claidheamh Soluis. The status quo in Ireland is different from that in Belgium; the ideal to be aimed at in Ireland is different from that in Belgium. Ireland is six-sevenths English-speaking with an Irish-speaking seventh. Belgium is divided into two nearly equal halves, one Flemish, the other French.

Irish Nationalists would restore Irish as a vernacular to the English-speaking six sevenths, and would establish Irish as the national language of a free Ireland: Belgian Nationalists would simply preserve their `two national languages,' according them equal rights and privileges. What then? Irish should be made the language of instruction in districts where it is the home language, and English the `second language', taught as a school subject: I would not at any stage use English as a medium of instruction in such districts, anything that I have elsewhere said as to Belgian practice notwithstanding. Where English is the home language it must of necessity be the `first language' in the schools, but I would have a compulsory second language, satisfied that this `second language' in five-sixths of the schools would be Irish. And I would see that the `second language' be utilised as a medium of instruction from the earliest stages. In this way, and in no other way that I can imagine, can Irish be restored as a vernacular to English-speaking Ireland.

But in all the details of their programmes the schools should have autonomy. The function of the central authority should be to co-ordinate, to maintain a standard, to advise, to inspire, to keep the teachers in touch with educational thought in other lands. I would transfer the centre of gravity of the system from the education office to the teachers; the teachers in fact would be the system. Teachers, and not clerks, would henceforth conduct the education of the country.

The inspectors, again, would be selected from the teachers, and the chiefs of departments from the inspectors. And promoted teachers would man the staffs of the training colleges, which, for the rest, would work in close touch with the universities.

I need hardly say that the present Intermediate system must be abolished. Good men will curse it in its passing. It is the most evil thing that Ireland has ever known. Dr. Hyde once finely described the National and Intermediate Boards as Death and the nightmare Death-in-Life That thicks men's blood with cold.

Of the two Death-in-Life is the more hideous. It is sleeker than, but equally as obscene as, its fellow-fiend. The thing has damned more souls than the Drink Traffic or the White Slave Traffic. Down with it---down among the dead men! Let it promote competitive examinations in the under-world, if it will.

Well-trained and well-paid teachers, well-equipped and beautiful schools, and a fund at the disposal of each school to enable it to award prizes on its own tests based on its own programme---these would be among the characteristics of a new secondary system. Manual work, both indoor and outdoor, would, I hope, be part of the programme of every school. And the internal organisation might well follow the models of the little child-republics I have elsewhere described, with their own laws and leaders, their fostering of individualities yet never at the expense of the common wealth, their care for the body as well as for the mind, their nobly-ordered games, their spacious outdoor life, their intercourse with the wild things of the woods and wastes, their daily adventure face to face with elemental Life and Force, with its moral discipline, with its physical hardening.

And then, vivifying the whole, we need the divine breath that moves through free peoples, the breath that no man of Ireland has felt in his nostrils for so many centuries, the breath that once blew through the streets of Athens and that kindled, as wine kindles, the hearts of those who taught and learned in Clonmacnois.

Irish Above Politics


IN THIS pamphlet Mairtin Ó Cadhain suggests a plan of action for those interested in saving the Irish language. This work first appeared as a series of three articles in the "GAELIC WEEKLY", March 7, 14 and 21, 1964.

MUCH, perhaps too much, has already been said and written about the Irish Language Revival Commission. Revival bodies have dug into it like a cat discovering a dump of fresh fish on dry land. Plent of fodder for another forty winters ! Still very little worthwhile comment has emerged. I think the Report itself hardly deserved all the talk. With all due respects to
Donall 0 Morain, a member said the Commission was a packed jury. He simply meant they were in agreement before they met : you have looked at the deluge of cliches, the great snowfalls of common-places. The worst of this kind of agreement is that no persistent grappling with any problem is necessary. To tell us that Roinn na Gaeltachta and Gaeltarra should be packstraddled off to Galway !

Give a place of Galway's pretensions C Grade Ministries and Companies ! In case it is not English enough already! Two institutions whose use of Irish is merely to sweat it in dress-suits. Roinn na Gaeltachta has about twenty of a personnel and Gaeltarra not many more ! Surely the Commission did not spend the six years experimenting with new poitin-making methods. There are certain things which one looks for in reports-looks for in vain in this case. One is entitled to know the number of sittings and attendances at them. The Report states it is going to cost money to give effect to its recommendations. In fact one of its great faults, if not its greatest, is that they won't cost money. The Commission seems to have no idea how much. It had for instance a splendid opportunity of having a scientific investigation carried out on the Gaeltacht and its potentiali- ties. If one reads "West Highland Survey". (F. Fraser Darling, Oxford University Press, 1955) or some of the monographs of our own Foras Taluntais, one sees at a, glance what a few dedicated experts, or even one, can produce.

Most significant reference to the Gaeltacht is the "demoralising effect" of the dole. It strongly reminds me of what Palmerston and the Government at the time of the Famine did at the instigation of, Irish landlords. The latter, finding their labourers going over to the government relief schemes where there was more pay and less strenuous work, forced the Government to enact the Gregory clause. This deprived Guardians of the Poor Law of the power to give relief to any person having more than a quarter acre of land. Soup was substituted f or relief work. Not that I think it was the idea of the Commission at any time to open soup kitchens! Likely enough they did not have the imagination to think of it. It reveals-to use a charitable word-the snobbish attitude of inmates of Commissions to poor out of the way, and not so out of the way, places like Ranafast and Rathcarne. Mr. Blythe as an ex-minister for Thrift would give £100,000 for the Gaeltacht. Through some pressure performance he fishes up a quarter of a million for a private institution in Dublin which by any national culture-or should we simply say culture accountancy-Gaoth Dobhair or an Taibhdhearc or An Darner deserves at least as well. Bord na Leabhar Gaeilge get the Hoggers' share, what is left at the bottom of the empty Guinness barrels around the quays.

Mr. Blythe holds a pension for his services to National Thrift. Several high functionaries, including ex-secretaries of Departments and and individual who gave a few short years in his youth to a public institution before it was temporarily abolished, are jigging around with pensions and other lucrative jobs as well. The Commission should have remembered that the dole was duly legislated as well as
pensions. What then makes one demoralising and not the other? Size?

An analysis of recommendations reveals they fall into two principal categories. One is the many-decades, mildewed ideas of Mr. Blythe who I think had a by no means enviable role to play in regard to a former language commission. The other category is that of the Gael- Linn scholarship and industrial suggestions which when not futile are for most part dangerous. To be candid I doubt whether there is any basis for action, worthwhile action, in this Report. It is serving its purpose. Let me revert to the Famine "Nobody knows what to do, everybody hints at some scheme or plan to which his next door neighbour objects. Most people are inclined to consider the case as hopeless, to rest on that conviction, and let the evil work itself out, like a consuming fire which dies away when there is nothing left to destroy. All call on the ' Government for a plan or a remedy, but the Government have no plan and no remedy; there is nothing but disagreement among them, and while they are discussing and disputing the masses are dying" (Greville's MEMOIRS). Substitute 'Irish language' for 'masses' .. . Yet the Report can be and must be made the -point of departure for action, action in this case necessarily meaning political action. As far as I have seen nobody suggested such a thing. Such a suggestion for Irish revivalists will bring on high blood pressure, just as my ghetto suggestion for Irish speakers in towns has done for a long time. They will go on massaging their whiskers with the fish scales and
repeat the ritualistic ma to an Rialtas dhairire ...

It is not cynical to say that a Government never becomes sincere about anything until forced into a position where action becomes imperative. At this point some personal experiences may be relevant. I have seen spontaneously organised groups of Irish speakers in Galltacht areas supporting two election candidates. They did not merit support but, at that moment, it looked as if they could be used to some purpose. However, in both cases, the language was only very indirectly an issue. It may be more to the point to say something about an effort which was made in Dublin some years ago to organise the Gaeltacht people living there. It lasted for some time but petered out in failure.

One thinks it strange that this should be so. In modern times-in nineteenth century England and America as well as in twentieth century Ireland-the Irish have founded what have been probably the most effective mass movements known to any people. Indirectly the Church of the majority may have something to do with this. In any case it is a historical fact. Why have the Irish revivalists failed to establish or maintain any worthwhile movement since 1921? The above effort it is easy enough to account for. There was the stereotyped form of apathy met with everywhere and which we were gradually conquering by making those adjustments which the development of every organised effort renders necessary. But there are certain things which cannot be adjusted. A democratically appointed committee will always contain a number of notorieties sheltering under precautionary umbrellas from fireworks fall-out. Then there are those who will have given `hostages to fortune', people who could be be of tremendous use if they would beforehand measure the risks of office against its responsibility and its allurements. Some continued on committee while openly going against the fundamental principles of the organisation. The group was at length roped in as a Gaeltacht Dramatic Society, usual measures were taken to puff up their egos, they were dropped not with the crash of artistic tons of bricks but rather as Atlantic-smelling driftwood. The Irish language lagoons, are anything but ecumenical.

Candidly the idea was to form a pressure group. Initially it seemed easier to attain this by concentrating on a well-defined section like Gaeltacht people and on a limited if big objective like Gaeltacht consolidation. At that time too an attempt on different lines was being made to organise the Gaeltacht itself. Our intention was not eventually to con fine organisation to Gaeltacht people or Gaeltacht interest. We know that the cause of the language, like the magpie's nest which goes by the name of Irish culture, is indivisible. The Gaeltacht mentality is as crotchety a bag of tricks as that of the Cetharnach Caoilriabhach. Still there seemed to be more hope in it for a start than among the iceberg zones of revivalist Dublin. The latter have been organising themselves since 1893 and have succeeded in forming if not five or six mutilated, at least five or six mutually self-excluding very select vestries. They won't even yield to the ecumenical fall-out which has succeeded in reaching our shores. If they had any sense of responsibility, now is the moment for them to close their ranks. If Mac an 13heatha or anybody else chooses to remain out on a limb, leave him to caterwaul away there.

The idea of a pressure group -was and should be to educate and train an elite who would give precedence to the language issue above
all other issues arising in the political field. Irish revivalists, if the word is to have any meaning, must themselves realise that the cause
of the language is of more importance than the fleeting vagaries of politics which are for the most part irrelevant at any deep level. Dublin did and does offer a splendid opportunity for such a group. Five hundred people compacted into unselfish solidarity could conceivably decide the fate of three or four parliamentary seats and hence of a government. This is axiomatic. Seats have been and are decided by a mere handful of votes. This would all depend of course on the willingness of a determined group to raise the language above all other issues, no matter how personal such issues, or how vital in themselves. I know it is a negative approach. "An té nach bhfuil láidir
ní f oláir dó a bheith glic. '

I am not discussing now what four or five hundred voluntary workers, even a hundred such, of the intellectual calibre and passionate persuasiveness of those contemplated here could otherwise do in maelstrom of an election. Nor am I forgetting the incalculable service that could be rendered by those who could not act openly but who would be with us. Nor am I forgetting the rest of the country. But Dublin gives better manoeuvring ground for an idea like this. Dublin is the Achilles heel for the Revolution. Let us not shirk at the word. Revolution it must be to get anywhere at this stage. And there is no use denying that the wrench which is required to be given to the minds even of the most passionate believers in Irish would be anything less than a revolution. Now an organisation, ACP (An Comhar Poibli) has been formed in Cork and seems to have groups elsewhere. I sincerely hope they

I was present at its first Dublin meeting. Although I was calculatingly somewhat rowdy there in pursuit of other and more immediate ends, I can say with all sincerity that I bore no ill-will to the promoters of the meeting. Sincerity itself must be non-fissionable. I was not impressed by the explanations at the meeting. A Fianna Fail T.D. very properly pointed out that the objects of ACP are self-contradictory. In fairness perhaps the approach at that stage was merely exploratory. Firstly it was stated they would operate through the political parties, taking an active part in the political work- each person of the party of his choice-and thereby influencing the attitude of all the parties towards Irish. Secondly it was stated they might enter election contests themselves as a group. I think in this latter regard local elections and rural areas were particularly mentioned. From the analysis given of the political situation, I gather that matters are likely to move fairly slowly? There is the strait-jacket of time. If we cannot move immediately we are simply wasting our time.
Under the discreetly shrouded whisperings of the boxes the potential Jacobins among the groundlings have remained in a lotus-land of inertia watching the travail of that great mountain of a Commission for the last six years, six critical years which may have decided the fate of the language for ever. I for one cannot see any person having sufficient influence in the work of any party without submitting wholly to the interests of the
party. If these interests clash with the interests of the Irish language or remain neutral to it despite his efforts, what is our man going to
More than likely become their man! As a good party man take the party line and say that his party is the party that really has the interests of the language at heart. In fact has it more at heart than Donncha Ó Suilleabháin on that Arctic expanse of Georgiana in Parnell Square; than Donall Ó Moráin fowlingg through Connemara bogs after scholars and rabbits who refuse to acclimatise; than the land-scape gardener Mac an Bheatha draining the just man's well-earned pint at Mount Vernon, or whatever Mount or Fount it is, in Clontarf.
All this was shown clearly at the meeting referred to above. The Irish speakers of what we may call the p-Party showed that they preferred their genealogical trees to the language. The Irish speakers of the pp-Party showed that to them the Irish language couldn't exist apart from the idols of a life time; they sought to pinpoint language failures as the small scree of the mountain side rather than the
awesome cloud-enshrouded top. We were all in the ruction !

It seems simple enough. If the Irish language becomes an election issue-which already it has actually become-then ACP will split into its component parts and parts-parties-will become more important than the language for the "duration", during which above all times the language should have a prior claim ! After all politics are the raison d'etre of a political party. Just look at pp-Party. For years they have had an Irish-speaking youth organisation. For years even the lads have solid flesh-bound jaws and waists straddled with built-in flesh packs. But can anybody point to them as an Irish influence on the Party?

Besides, the same party had a genius for fishing up front rank revivalists. Or was it the other way around? No matter. Why did the front rank revivalists never succeed in doing anything for the language? At no stage, for the sake of the distressed damsel i gcluid faoi lean, were the front rank revivalists prepared to divorce the party machine which fished them up successfully on to the Dun Emer carpets. Of course they baited their hooks with Irish for what it was worth. I personally think. these particular anglers would have served the cause of Irish better had they been known to oppose it. Their particular version of the Sea*-ritual, their contemptuous toadyism, was an effective opposition as it alienated - sympathy to the language in the very ranks of the party. I am afraid is is as simple as that.

The ACP may, convince a -substantial number to declare for Irish as against party when there is a clash.of loyalties. It would be some-thing unparalleled. The defence of the language against misrepresentation is one of their objects also. I am not convinced by their start. The analysis of examination figures and of the failures in Irish was a good piece of work. It was as effectively done already by INNIU and the results published in Irish and English.** The sample poll on compulsory Irish, taken in Tralee area, although conforming to all the conditions of such polls, would in my view have been better, left undone. Better have taken them on their own challenge of a referendum.

*"Sea" in this context is not the English word, but the contraction of.the
Irish "Is ea", conveying the same meaning as the Americanism "Yes"-man.

**INNIU, prompted by the 1960 Fine Gael plan to remove Irish as an
essential subject in the Leaving Certificate, analysed the 1959 and 1960
Leaving Certificate results in 1961 and 1962, respectively. ACP alone pub-
lished an analysis of the 1961 results.

Let Garret Fitzgerald have his scorched earth, his culture-neutral no-man's land, peopled solely with his figure goddesses. It is evident he rates the I.Q. of the Irish people rather low, so low in fact that he thinks he can easily recruit them to the sole adoration of his figure goddesses. In his goddess island he will be defied by a chain detonation of referendums which will blow his figures, goddesses and all, into stink bubbles, if not something worse, into his face. This is the price he will pay for trying to convince the Irish people that Irish will sieve off as easily as oil off water. Fitzgerald engrossed in his nutshop for figure goddesses has not yet realised that the heart-the humble Irish field turnip as well as any other-has also its reasons. To make Tralee area the sample was wrong, I think. After all the object wasn't to imitate the rawness of Fitzgerald propaganda. If I am not mistaken Tralee has entered the Glor na nGael competition.
That means that there must be a certain amount of language propaganda going on there. At the very least general goodwill towards the language can be expected. What is more important, Tralee is the most nationalist, the most republican town in Ireland.
Republicanism, extreme Republicanism, doesn't mean anything very much in an Irish language context. Sinn Fein candidates in recent elections had all their names in Irish. One doesn't exactly know. whether this was a facile gesture to .,Irish, or simply a strategem to make names unmistakable to voters, a strategem which has been resorted to by people besides Sinn Fein. It may be merely a repetition of a 1918 precedent. One thing is cer-tain, that there is not more Irish spoken in Tralee because it is Republican than in any other town of its size. Paradoxically enough, I would be inclined to think that for that very reason less Irish,may be spoken in it ! But it means that "not merely. free but Gaelic" is a built-in article, a. constant presence in the mind. Declaring against Irish would be the same as declaring against Republicanism, against G.A.A., against Croke Park itself ! And what does the poll mean ! Some of its crucial features were not favourable. Anything but! Even if it were, all the way through, the opponents of Irish have taken no notice of it. Some kind of a sample taken by Irish Marketing something or other, somewhere or other, is the one that serves their purpose. Who are Irish Marketing something or other? Where was the sample taken? Who took it? What check was there that they were neutral? How were the subjects of survey selected? How was processing done? Were there neutral observers or observers with different view-points present? Where can the data, the names and addres-
ses of subjects, be examined? In fact all this looks like poachers procedure. It is on a par with samples taken throughout the year all showing that Fianna Fail would be beaten anywhere !
Yet this was the one Garret Fitzgerald started to chip more of his Great Figure Goddesses out of. It conforms to scientific require- ments IRISH TIMES, February 22, 1964) ! The "Times" articles of Fitzgerald bear out what others have suggested, that he starts off with his preconceived inferences-if that is not a contradiction in terms-and that he then conscripts, chips and processes legions of figures in the Zeus-Fitzgerald head from whence they spring down fully armed Goddesses to force the adherence of us low I.Q. Irish mortals to laws as rigid as Destiny. Perhaps Destiny is the word. For science it is not. Even at the highest level it is doubtful whether emotive colouring can be excluded from the most rigorous reasoning. But how could one call such prejudicial emotionalism science? Defenders of the language cause have referred to him as "a good economist."
One of course can refer to economists-whatever that word may mean now-as reviewers refer to novelists as good, bad or indifferent, the canons of criticism being no' more valid in one case than in the other. Sometimes my personal impression of certain economists is that they would love a Famine just in order to have figures to gorge themselves with, as I am nearly certain they would be among the survivors. Most of what I have to say here is offered rather as an alternative than as serious criticism of ACP undertaking.
Political action of some type is imperative. Now many people passionately attached to Irish have no interest in party politics or party. machines. But for the sake of the language we are prepared to go to hell, jail, into a street riot, jujitsuing with Fitzgerald's Figure Goddesses or, as a last resort, into the iron jaws of the political machine. Al- ready a number of young people and people not so young have be- cq~ne orientated in this way. They can be added to.
To me what is particularly wanted is a number of people not engage in party politics. When I mention "number" I would hope for thousands, but I would be quite satisfied with hundreds. They would not tie themselves to any particular party but, by constant vigorous pressure, work, shifts of support when necessary, would be very active, in fact more active in the critical areas than the party machines between elections. They should not refuse a platform to anybody remotely sympathetic to their objects, but should not themselves ever lose sight of the rigid ideal. Everything would necessarily be elastic and courses embarked on would have to admit of easy change as circumstances would demand. Any political step should not bind anybody beyond the immediate issue and immediate means of dealing with it. I personally could not tie myself to any party machine.
As such, I think this is a course that can be acceptable to the most extreme Republican as well as to most extreme Fine Gael person believing in a Gaelic Ireland. The important thing is the priority of belief, of the definiteness of the consequent action.
A swing from one party to another-according to "the party line" the interest of the language-would be a matter of course for such a group. Even tactical abstention from voting would serve the purpose at stages. I have heard certain clerics say-I forget whether under the pain of mortal sin or not-that it is the duty of everybody to exercise the vote. Intelligent abstention is also exercising the vote ! Even certain politicians have suggested that people should be compelled to vote. The same people would in the next breath speak of the inviolable sanctuary of conscience. We should be legislated into voting for a lot of flapdoodles !
I think of course that an abstentionist should spoil his vote in a place like Dublin where party machines have highly organised personation departments, a fact which I never heard any cleric or sanctimonious politican condemn !
A cleric relieving himself of a statement such as "it is the duty of everybody to vote" reminds me of the famous letter to the IRISH PEOPLE in which it was stated that the Pope was less competent in Irish politics than any shoemaker ! I can envisage times when direct action of a sort is the only answer. I translate the following from a report of a symposium on the Irish Revival Commission in Power's Royal Hotel (IRISH INDEPENDENT, 25'2/'64) "The Uasal Donnchadh 0 Sailleabhain's view was different,. 'If the Gaeltacht came to an end to-morrow the Irish language could continue. Henceforth the task o f propagating the language will devolve on Dublin."'
I have recently said elsewhere that this gentleman had stated on television that Irish was saved and I asked what I think was a very pertinent question : if he believed that why did he not, as a member of this Commission, submit a Minority Report? Now, the venerable society whose secretary he is has no further function apparently, I ask it to close its premises. To enforce this there are two effective legal ways. One is picketing. The other the even more effective method,of the boycott. Which reminds one that the most pressing necessity of the Irish revival is a span new virile language organisation. Even with that I can envisage times . . . For one thing the sand are flopping out.
For another thing resolutions, delegations and goodwill can no longer billhook their way through the rank undergrowth of Government subsidiaries, the impenetrable jungle of semi-Ministries, semi-demi-Ministries, shadow Ministries, state companies, boards, institutes. Even the algae lichen Ministry of the Gaeltacht is threatening to become a spreading village chestnut tree, shading 0 Morain's (not the Gaeltacht Minister, the other fellow) scholarship smithy at one end, with Fr. McDyer, Cathach on breast, advancing with processing hordes of cannabalistic gallowglasses at the other end, threatening to trample down the forge, the chestnut and all.
There arc- already seven junior and three senior paper keepers in the Fail and they are claiming the status of a Bord, the more competently to place on. the Table Of The House the bumper crops of reports' which nobody is expected ever to handle. In fact according to all the talk about education in the papers nobody in the first instance was competent to write these reports, the whole lot of us being illiterate !
Everyday one reads the same monotonous answer : "The Minister has no competence in the matter. He is not responsible for the policy or the day-to-day working of Bord na Sudairi ... " To enable Irish to penetrate in any more substantial form than a three word title into this multi-concentric ringed fort more than kid- glove political methods, even by the most dedicated elite, are necessary.
We must be prepared to let the watch-hound have the ball through the gullet and entrails. That is another way of saying that politics are only a conspiracy. To build up an elite in the first instance is going to be a nonpectsscular, difficult and at times a most disappointing job. You are going to have all the official hnguage organisations against you. All the papers will refuse to pub lish our ideas, with the possible exception of two, one English language paper and one provincial Irish language one.
As for papers like COMNAR and INNIU they are the censorious trumpets of an Establishment and have all the good Pompadour perfume of an Establishment. An independent organ becomes necessary which may also publish about the same proportion of worthwhile matter in English as English language papers publish of Irish trash.
Looking at it none too optimisticall I still see that this is all possible. Further it will take less time to do with more tangible results than the infiltration of party machines. New forces have been liberated and it is possible to do it on a broader front now than some years ago. Even the Masonic institutions in Parnell Square, O'Connell and Grafton St. might lend a hand. You can be sure they will lend a dead hand. Finally this brings up the immediate task, the political situation at the moment. This is not being wise after the bye-elections.***
Some ten days before them I wrote a letter on these lines to the only paper . likely to publish it. It didn't. For the simple reason that being the organ of a political party it knows that neither that party any more than the others wishes to do anything worthwhile for Irish.
Yet one must say that it is more likely that gold will be quarried out of some seams than out of others. One party appears to be on a see-saw. Its leader must be continually putting orthodox glosses on the schismatic sermons of his lieutenants. Can that party be made to abandon the "stray sod" in which it seems to be planted? Browne, MacQuillan, Tully, Norton, Miss Larkin? ... One party had definitely said time and again that they would continue compulsory Irish at least to the same extent as at present.
Without compulsory Irish there is as much chance of getting anywhere as Manx or Bretons or Basques have with their languages. Then there is the party of Fitzgerald's Great Figure Goddesses.
They have very definitely repudiated compulsory Irish which is the same as repudiating Irish and, protest as they will, abolishing it.
Of course we all have heard about that omelette which in its pro- prietary brand is "Love and Sympathy for the Language." This pro-prietary omelette of course is not selling too well. It was this-non- compulsive love and sympathy-which was the second top-item in the programme for the recent bye-elections ! Strangely enough I believe this was not so much dictated by opposition, as by utter political bankruptcy.
The rest of the programme is a bleak corridor of "Biddies"- dolled-up non-rouged Brideogal. This, in its turn, dictates that they accept a reasonable attitude to Irish or be driven from public life for ever. Everything seems to point to Mr. Dillon up-grading his own I.Q. a little too much and that of the Irish people a little too low. The only possible opposition or alternative to Fianna Fail is Labour. This gives also a sane voting choice.

***The bye-elections held in February, 1964, in Cork and Kildare, in both of which Fine Gael were convincingly beaten.

I am reluctant to discuss a matter like this in your paper which I am sure avoids party politics. It is of course a purely personal opinion. But as Irish national identity, the very destiny of our people is involved in the loss of the language, I think you and your readers must see it as something more than the shifting sands of party politics, though the idea might have to incarnate itself opportunistically in party machines.

I may say that those proposed momentary alignments are from my own point of view extremely distasteful, running counter to a life-long attitude. I have never voted for any political party, Labour or Fianna Fail, no more than for Fine Gael, Clann na Poblachta or Sinn Fein. I am also well aware that Fianna Fail have precious little to show in. the language promotion line in thirty years of power, in fact less than Cumann na nGael, the forerunner of Fine Gael, had in ten or twelve.

I know that neither Fianna Fail nor Labour will have anything to show in the future unless constant intelligent pressure and, at times, doses of prudently administered compulsion are brought to bear on them. Their answer to everything will be more and more commissions relegated to dead letter boxes, huge dumps of fish offals for Revival land lubbers, if they do not see that there is sufficient courage and determination to change caterwauling into action.

Action will give the Irish Revival the self-confidence which it badly needs and will inculcate a healthy respect for it, even in John Dillon's sons.