I remember watching a football match in the Bar-a-Cuda a few years ago.

It was Celtic v Barcelona.

I hadn’t realised it was going to be but the match was only on TV4 – so the commentary was all in Irish.

I could see the pictures but didn’t know what the commentators were saying.

Question Asked

After one incident I asked the rest of the people in the pub what the commentator had just said.

“Haven’t a clue” was the universal reply.

These weren’t slow people but reasonably well educated.


A few years back, at St. Pius Church, African children were performing on the altar.

At one stage the MC and compere said “That means Good Evening in our language”.

He then proceeded to ask “What is Good Evening in Irish?”

He looked as if he expected the audience of about 150 people to shout the answer back in unison.

No Reply

However, he looked surprised when there was first a hushed silence and then a few murmurs of conversation as people discussed it between them before a young girl shouted out the answer.

Perhaps a lot of people knew but just didn’t want to say.

It didn’t seem that way though.

First Lessons

When I learned French in school one of the first things you learned was Bonjour, Bon Soir and Bon Nuit.

I have asked local people why, when they had been learning Irish Gaelic from the age of five they couldn’t speak it better or at least understand it.

The most popular response was that you knew you didn’t need it and would never use it so what was the point.

Not Stuck

However, if you had been learning something since the age of five surely more of it would have stuck.

When I meet French people I’m usually able to hold a conversation with them.

However, I’ve already seen that when someone wants to talk in Irish Gaelic to local people they can’t converse.

It’s a bit of a mystery – and also a shocking waste of the time and money spent teaching it.