The Bible in Irish

 

Sir, – A correspondent’s thoughts on the possible cultural effects of an Irish-language Bible are interesting (October 12th). Of course, there was William Bedell’s Irish-language Bible, published in 1685. However, this was a limited run of around 500 copies, many of which were distributed outside Ireland.

From an evangelical standpoint, widespread distribution of the Bible in the Irish language should have made obvious sense. However, fortunately for Catholicism, and less fortunately for the Irish language, pragmatic proselytising considerations largely were overridden by the nationalistic and class-based hostility of the English establishment to the Irish language (an hostility echoed to this day in parts of Irish society).

Bedell himself was imprisoned for his work. – Yours, etc,

SEÁN MacCANN,

Trillick, Co Tyrone.