IRISH SPEAKERS

 

A chara, - Kevin Myers wrote of the first official language of this State in his Diary (January 17th) that "virtually nobody speaks the language, nobody does business in it, and when Proinsias de Rossa wanted nobody to understand him, he resorted to the Curragh dialect when addressing Dail Eireann."

While suspecting that Mr. Myers has rarely strayed into any part of Ireland outside that bastion of the second official language, Dublin 4, I cannot believe that he has not met many of these virtual nobodies of whom he speaks. I, for one, keep meeting them in the strangest of places.

I must admit that I blinked several times when I overheard a nobody on the staff of The Book Store of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia doing business with a customer through the medium of Irish. Both, incidentally, were American-born and raised. I blinked only once when I had a similar experience on a commuter train in Brussels, but then realised that the nobodies sitting opposite me probably had alighted from the same Aer Lingus flight as myself. - Mise le meas

Baile Atha Cliath 6.