Council using online translations: An cúpla focal Google

To describe the Irish language as a sacred cow or its revival as a white elephant risks the aggressive opprobrium of a certain kind of Gaeilgeoir.

Council using online translations: An cúpla focal Google

To describe the Irish language as a sacred cow or its revival as a white elephant risks the aggressive opprobrium of a certain kind of Gaeilgeoir.

Accusations of betrayal, of anti-Irishness and sharpest of all, being a West Brit will flow. Emotion will trump analysis.

Another kind of Gaeilgeoir, one who loves the beauty and cadences of our language may recognise the charge and naturally be saddened by it.

The thousands of students eating a Gaeltacht bricfeasta prepared by a bean a tí this morning will enjoy their rite of passage undisturbed by sacred cows or white elephants.

The proportion of Gaelscoileanna pupils who will use Irish as they eat their bricfeasta remains a mystery probably best unexplored.

This ambiguity, often bordering on opportunism, is exemplified by the report that Cork County Council uses Google Translate to populate its website with information in Irish.

It may not be the only public body to do this but it does show how lagmhisniúil our commitment to the language can be; How we embroider indifference with hypocrisy.

That official keeper of the gate, An Coimisinéir Teanga, has described the practice as “unacceptable”.

This raises many questions — and offers many challenges to those who love the language just for what it is.

One answer may suggest how Irish might be revived on a popular scale: What have the Welsh done to restore real pride in their language and make it everyday that we have not?

More in this section

Lunchtime
News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up
Revoiced
Newsletter

Our Covid-free newsletter brings together some of the best bits from irishexaminer.com, as chosen by our editor, direct to your inbox every Monday.

Sign up