aisling a visionary poem, a popular literary genre with the poets of the Penal times. An aisling is typically about the meeting of the poet with a spéirbhean, a beautiful but sorrowful woman, who often is the allegorical representation of Ireland. The majority of the aislings were Jacobite propaganda poems, in which the spéirbhean is waiting for a Stuart king to liberate her, but of the two most famous ones, Art Mac Cumhthaigh's Úirchill an Chreagáin has nothing to do with the Jacobites, and Brian Merriman's Cúirt an Mheon-Oíche was written as a parody on the Jacobite aislings.
Cath Fionntrá, the Battle of Ventry: the equivalent of the Götterdämmerung or Ragnarök in the Fianna mythological cycle. The Fianna include two groupings inclined to rivality, Clann Bhaoiscne and Clann Mórna, the latter led by the exceptionally big and strong warrior Goll Mac Mórna; finally the rivalry surfaces and leads to this apocalyptic battle.
Conamara Connemara, the large and still very Irish-speaking area west of Galway. The dialect has been extensively used in literature by writers from Máirtín Ó Cadhain to Mícheál Ó Conghaile.
Conradh na Gaeilge the Gaelic League, established by Douglas Hyde in 1893. The organisation lives on, publishing a monthly called Feasta ("Henceforth"); however, it would indeed be faulty to assume that all Irish-language activities are dependent on it.
Cú Chulainn the main hero of the old Irish mythology of the Ulster cycle. Apparently son of a sí man, he grows up the greatest warrior of Ulster; he perishes (or survives, according to the oldest version of the mythology) defending Ulster alone against the onslaught of Connachtmen.
Denvir, Gearóid schoolteacher in the Connemara Gaeltacht, and at the same time lecturer at the University College Galway. A gifted pro-Irish language propagandist and orator, he has written extensively in Irish-language magazines about literature in Irish as well as social life in the Gaeltacht. His writings are available in the collection Litríocht agus Pobal, and some of them could very much interest a sociolinguist.
Fiannaíocht the Fianna mythological cycle, which describes the exploits of the roving Fianna warriors led by their king, Fionn Mac Cumhaill. Very popular with the folklore story tellers, this cycle has survived in many variations to the present day. In modern Irish, the most important literary version of this cycle is probably Niall Ó Donaill's collection Seanchas na Féinne, essentially a retelling of the old manuscripts.
Gaeltacht the Irish-speaking Ireland, including Connemara, Aran Islands, Ráth Cairn in Meath, Dingle Peninsula, parts of Iveragh, Cape Clear Island, Ring of Waterford, the coast of Donegal, Tourmakeady and Carrowteague in Mayo, as well as parts of Achill Island and Belmullet.
Gaoluinn the name given to the Gaeilge of Kerry, due to the way the name of the language is pronounced here. The writing ao for ae suggests that ao is habitually pronounced as a long [e:] in this dialect.
IarChonnacht, the most lively Irish-speaking area, comprising Connemara (Conamara) and the Aran Islands (Oileáin Árann.)
IRA, the. A guerrilla, or terrorist, organisation without an accepted name in Irish, having no ties whatsoever with the Irish language, except the fact that some IRA members are Irish speakers by conviction (pun not originally intended).
Mac Congáil, Nollaig: originally from Derry, he now lectures at the University College Galway. He has written extensively about the literature in Ulster Irish, and tried to revive the interest in such writers as Séamus Ó Grianna. He has edited two important monographs on the Grianna brothers, Jonneen Khorduroy answers critics about Séamus, and Rí-Éigeas na nGael about Seosamh.
Mac Cumhthaigh, Art - a.k.a. Art Ó Cumhthaigh, Art O'Cooey, Art O'Coffey, from South Armagh/Ard Mhacha Theas was one of the outstanding poets of Ulster in the Penal times. His aisling poem, Úirchill an Chréagáin, has been called the national anthem of South Armagh.
Mac Giolla Ghunna, Cathal Buí was a priest who gave in to the sins of the flesh and started to lead a life of a drunkard and a sexual athlete. Accordingly, he wrote a lot of beautiful songs about love and drinking. His poems are still sung by Irish language singers: the tune of Boolavogue is also that of Mailí Mhodhmhar by Cathal Buí.
Mac Grianna, Seosamh Irish writer, modern classic. Hard life drove him crazy as a thirty-five-year-old, but before that he wrote some of the most interesting works ever written in Irish: the travel book Mo Bhealach Féin, the novel An Druma Mór and essays as well as short stories. His great novel about the native Irish-speaker's alienation in Dublin was, alas, never completed, and the hundred pages he was able to write before his mental illness have appeared as Dá mBíodh Ruball ar an Éan. Interestingly enough, the fragment is both funny, satirical and sane: Mo Bhealach Féin feels much more written by a madman.
Merriman, Brian of Co. Clare wrote the satirical aisling poem Cúirt an Mheán Oíche at the end of the eighteenth century.
Muscraí Muskerry, the Irish-speaking area in County Cork, comprising Cúil Aodha. Literature in this dialect: Aindrias Ó Muimhneacháin: Seanchas an Táilliúra. The tailor interviewed in this folklore collection is the same person as the protagonist of The Tailor and Ansty by Eric Cross.
Ó Cadhain, Máirtín Irish writer, modern classic. He was renowned both for his literary productivity and versatility and for his social commitment. He participated both in campaigns to improve the social conditions in the Gaeltacht and in the activities of the IRA, which earned him internment during the Second World War. In literature, he was the modernist par excellence using Irish in a rich and versatile way and sometimes experimenting with it in a way reminiscent of James Joyce. His works include two novels - Cré na Cille and the posthumous Athnuachan - and a host of short stories, political pamphlets, and other shorter texts.
Ó Canann, Aodh one of the best non-native speakers who write in Irish. He has authored two quite readable historical novels (Léine Ghorm and Tearmann na gColúr) dealing with the Northern issue from various perspectives; he has also translated Juan Ramón Jiménez's classical Platero y Yo into Irish as Mise agus Platero, edited two important folklore collections and written an interesting travel book about Romania, which, though quite worth reading, does not quite reach his usual high linguistic standards. This might be due to poor editing, however.
In principle, Ó Canann's name stands for quality in language, style, and message.
Ó Conaire, Pádraic the first modern writer in Irish, author of realistic, even naturalistic stories and one novel, Deoraíocht ("Exile") about the life of Irish migrant workers in London in the beginning of the twentieth century. His language is a mixture of Connemara and Clare dialects - the latter one being extinct nowadays.
Ó Conghaile, Mícheál youngish writer from Connemara, editor at the Irish-language publishing house Cló IarChonnachta. His most interesting books: the social history of IarChonnacht - Conamara agus Árainn 1880-1980 - Gnéithe den Stair Shóisialta - and a collection of short stories An Fear a Phléasc. He is a gifted prose writer, but his poems are definitely to be shunned.
Ó Cuinn, Cosslett died only recently, at a very advanced age: he was a Protestant clergyman interested in Irish, especially the moribund dialects of today's Northern Ireland. He translated quite a lot of literature into a delightfully Ulster-coloured Irish, from New Testament to Spanish adventure stories. His Irish translation of Amazing Grace is a piece of vigorous, concrete Ulster Irish - religious poetry really in tune with what Protestantism is all about.
Ó Floinn, Tomás mediocre linguist, who wrote the all-too-familiar non-native book Irish, but also an interesting essayist: his literary writings in the collection Cion Fir should not be ignored by anyone.
Ó Glaisne, Risteard, a Methodist, has written a biography about everybody involved in the Irish language scene. His Irish is rather good for a learner, and his book about Cosslett Ó Cuinn is very much to be recommended.
Ó Grianna, Séamus or "Máire", a productive writer of soppy, tragic novels and short stories. A must for anyone who wants to learn good Ulster Irish, but his storylines are much worse than his Irish. However, it is very possible that there is some devilish satire hiding behind his soppiness which we, the non-native speakers, can never quite catch. His brother called himself Seosamh Mac Grianna, and was a better, but less fortunate writer.
Ó Siadhail, Pádraig contemporary writer; his most important novel is Éagnairc ("Requiem"). Stylistically, the novel shows some quite serious flaws and disturbing mannerisms, not to mention shaky syntax and unnecessary use of dead literary words; however, it also makes innovative use of colloquial and dialect expressions to describe modern city life, not to mention the psychologically realistic depiction of life in Derry and its reflections in the mind of an ex-Derryman living in Dublin.
Ó Súilleabháin, Diarmuid. Experimental writer who was accused of bad Irish; his style has its flaws, but as a linguist he is as underrated as Eoghan Ó Tuairisc is overrated. At least, many of the typical learners' mistakes are absent in his writings, though there are, regrettably, others.
Ó Tuairisc, Eoghan wrote the historical novel L'Attaque about the Year of the French, bliain na bhFrancach, in Mayo. As literature, it has been justly compared to Tolstoy's War and Peace; as Irish, however, it shows many of the typical solecisms of the non-native speakers. This is very unhappy, because it is a great story told engagingly, and worth reading despite occasional bad syntax.
Peigí Rose is not related to Peig Sayers; his(!) real name is Seán Ó Gallchóir, and he is a contemporary writer. He has written some interesting essays on Séamus Ó Grianna's work in the collection Peigí ar 'Mháire', as well as a miscellany called An Chéad Chnuasach, including many stories in which he realistically reproduces the mixed Irish-English jargon of the contemporary Gaeltacht people.
Sayers, Peig a storyteller and fisherman's wife from Great Blasket Island (An Blascaod Mór); her folklore and autobiographical accounts are a classic of Irish literature, but reputedly shunned by Irish schoolchildren. The most important publications are Peig, autobiographical, and Machnamh Seanmhná, which is more folklore.
Seabhac, An or actually Pádraig Ó Siochfhradha (Ó Siochrú): one of the early Irish writers in this century, native speaker of some marginal Munster dialect since extinct. The one of his writings which has survived all literary fashions is the happily anarchistic children's novel Jimín Mháire Thaidhg, at its best quite reminiscent of Astrid Lindgren's Emil i Lönneberga.
sí the Otherworld in the midst of this world, inhabited by elves and fairies.
Táin Bó Cuailgne the most important part of the Rúraíocht or Ulster cycle in Irish mythology, meaning "The Cattle Raid of Cuailgne". The war between Ulster and Connacht in which Cú Chulainn fights as the sole defender of Ulster is kindled by the attempt of Queen Maeve (Méadhbh, Medb) of Connacht to steal a valuable piece of cattle.
Tír na nÓg, "The Land of the [Eternally] Young": the Otherworld beyond the sea as depicted in the Fenian or Fianna mythological cycle. As a motif, it is known in folklore in many parts of the world. It seems to have influenced J.R.R. Tolkien to include the "Undying Lands" or "Valinor" in his cosmology; the retreat of the Elves to these lands certainly shows a marked similarity to the retreat of Oisín (or Caoilte) to Tír na nÓg after the death of the Fianna.
Tuar Mhic Éadaigh Tourmakeady, an Irish-speaking area at the Mayo-Galway county boundary. The dialect belongs rather to the Connemara than the Mayo dialects. Literature in this dialect: Tomás Ó Duinnshléibhe's novel Taidhgín.
Ua Laoghaire, Peadar a classical writer of the end of the 19th century, the founder of modern Irish literature. Due to his colloquial, but pure and undefiled Munster Irish, a must for the learner, but rather outdated as literature. His most well-known work is the collection-of-folklore-trying-to-be-a-novel, Séadna, about a kind of Doctor Faust in the Irish countryside.
Ulaidh, the province of Ulster, is not the same as the Northern state, but comprises also three counties belonging to the Republic. In one of them, Donegal, there is a sizable Irish-speaking population with a peculaiar dialect similar in some respects to Scots Gaelic.