Suddenly, I was transported back 50 years to a short period I spent in a local school in Glencastle, Co. Mayo, before I moved to Dublin: Ms. Hensey’s Irish and enunciation are so exquisite as to make understanding almost unnecessary, but I suddenly found that all the Irish I had picked up in those few short months came flooding back to life.
Ms Hensey is now presenting a programme — Binnneas Béil — on RnaG daily from 2pm to 4pm. 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 as one is likely to encounter, this side of the grave: if you translate that last sentence into Connacht Irish, it gives you a very good idea of what I am writing about.
Gazing past the island in the direction of America, I can only 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.