The sweet sound of Irish
Sir, – For years I had convinced myself that I was unable to understand Irish.Then I discovered Raidió Na Gaeltachta, or rather I heard Áine Hensey presenting a late night radio programme called An Ghealach Ghorm and my ears were opened.
Suddenly, I was transported back over 50 years to a time when I had spent a short spell in a local school in Glencastle, Co. Mayo, before I moved to Dublin. I do not know why this is so, but Ms Hensey’s Irish and enunciation are so exquisite as to make understanding almost unnecessary, yet I suddenly found that all the Irish I had picked up in those few short months came flooding back to me.
She now presents a daily programme – Binnneas Béil – on RnaG. I would recommend anybody with the least interest in hearing simple Irish spoken well to tune in; her choice of music is also eclectic and exceptionally good.
For myself, I park the car at Dún na mBó point, opposite Eagle Island lighthouse and tune in for the two hours; watching nature, hearing Áine speaking Irish and listening to the music is as near to a naturally induced mystical experience one is likely to encounter this side of the grave.
Gazing past the island in the direction of America, I count my blessings that I only had to spend a month working in Manhattan, unlike a lot of Irish people who lived and died there, without ever seeing home again. Yours, etc,
LIAM DE PAOR,