Monday, November 29, 2004


Speaking Irish is making a comeback.

"What has happened is that Irish has become cool and trendy. You could call it the yuppification of the language," said Padhraic O Ciardha, an executive at TG4, a state-sponsored Irish-language TV station that began broadcasting eight years ago...

"When I was a kid in the '60s and '70s, Irish was very uncool. When we'd go into Galway, we'd speak in a whisper. Irish was the badge of the rural, the backward, the culturally repressed part of Ireland," he said.

But as Ireland transformed itself from one of Europe's poorest countries into one of its most prosperous, as it reversed a century-long trend of population decline, and as it sought a sense of its own individuality in the age of globalization, the Irish rediscovered their language.

Over the past 20 years, the number of schools in which Irish is the language of instruction has increased tenfold, and some of the schools are far beyond the Irish-speaking enclaves on the country's periphery.

"In Dublin, it's become a kind of yuppie totem to send your kid to one," O Ciardha said.

There you have it, speaking Irish is now the yuppie thing to do, that's something I never thought i'd type.


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