Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

DUP website embraces Irish language (ie, hacked)

Wed 12 January 2011, 8:31pm

The DUP website was briefly hacked tonight before being taken offline.

Soon after, PeterRobinson.org and JeffreyDonaldson.org were given a similar makeover.

For anyone needing translation of the (most likely criminal) defacement of their homepages, the message reads

Irish Now.

My name is Peter Robinson and I supported the Irish Language Act.

A country without a language, is a country without a soul.

Going by the name Hector Ó Hackatdawn and describing himself as “a computer science graduate, Irish language activist, and political hacker”, the culprit explained:

My motivation is to highlight the nonsensical agenda against the Irish language by the DUP. Their qualms with it are almost comical.

A longer faux press release from the same hacker can still be viewed on a mirror site. In this longer article, he begins

Athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh go léir. [Happy New Year to you all.] This is a public service announcement on behalf of the DUP.

and goes on to apologise for the actions of various past and present DUP representatives, announced that the DUP “have decided to end our childish and archaic mindset towards the Irish language” and humbly apologises for championing Ulster Scots over Irish, before finishing with statements about Iraq and Israel.

The main DUP website is now up again, and a DUP spokesman stated:

The DUP website was off-line for a short period on Wednesday evening due to malicious activity. The police are investigating the matter.

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Comments (66)

  1. pippakin (profile) says:

    I hope the police find the idiots responsible for this.

    Just who were they trying to impress? No way were they trying to convert unionists to a more nationalist stance.

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  2. Mark McGregor (profile) says:

    Yeah and throw them in gaol for a hundred years.

    All it shows is the DUP like FG have no concept of web security and a tosser with a grudge can use their site for easy publicity and laughs.

    Put them in Guantanamo with Assange!

    Then learn if you want to offend a group of people make sure you have enough password protection that one of them won’t take the piss out of you.

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  3. pippakin (profile) says:

    If I worried about people taking the piss out of me I’d never get out of bed.

    Call me an eternal optimist but I thought nationalists and republicans were busy trying to convert unionists. If there is anyone who thinks hacking unionist web sites is the way to do it they must be under sixteen and in need of help.

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  4. The Word (profile) black spot says:

    “My name is Peter Robinson and I supported the Irish Language Act.”

    A prophecy, no doubt, to be delivered in return for the end of Catholic education.

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  5. Mark McGregor (profile) says:

    To put it in context, if destruction or theft doesn’t occur this is almost identical to an office/building occupation, something the DUP themselves have done more than once (though in their case real people were actually scared)

    If the place is left open and a protestor can enter, as long as they don’t commit any damage it is an entirely legitimate form of protest IMNSHO.

    They’ll now have learnt not to leave keys in the car door while shouting at the shoeless.

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  6. Ursula Savage (profile) says:

    Whoever did this is obviously doing two things:
    1. To get people talking about the Irish Language Act, and
    2. To show how wound up the DUP will get over the mention of anything as Gaeilge.

    Seeing that no permanent damage was done and it’s not the same as the Fine Gael website hacking because no personal data was stolen, it seems it has worked out well for them.

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  7. Mark (profile) says:

    Pippakin ,

    ” convert unionists ”

    Maybe convert is the wrong word but I know what you mean .

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  8. Ulick (profile) says:

    Brilliant!

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  9. Rocketeer (profile) says:

    Cuirfidh mé fios ar na Gardaí!

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  10. Dixie Elliott (profile) says:

    This is what you’d call an Irish language act.

    Can’t see old Pete or Peadar doing another grand old Duke of York over this, can you?

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  11. alan56 (profile) says:

    A clever way of ‘road testing ‘future policy?

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  12. Munsterview (profile) black spot says:

    Hector Abu!

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  13. fitzjameshorse1745 (profile) says:

    As a supporter of the Irish language, I hope these idiots are found and dealt with. MMGs suggestion of 100 years in jail seems a little harsh.
    Its not big. Its not clever.

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  14. cynic49 (profile) says:

    I have to claim credit for breaking this story at 6.30pm on Slugger.

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  15. dennis the menace (profile) says:

    well now its back up I see that the UUP have lost yet another councillor!!

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  16. Dixie Elliott (profile) says:

    Mark (profile) says: 12 January 2011 at 11:01 pm

    “Dixie ,

    At 9.02 tonight while I was on slugger , a webpage flashed up on my scream 3/4 times very quickley , in the top corner was an articile about the mcgirr / campbell shootings .

    Anybody you know , know anthing about that ?”

    Thats two IRA volunteers who were gunned down by the SAS…What type of sick bastard are you to post something like that and claim to be a Republican?

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  17. joeCanuck (profile) says:

    Hardly anything that would warrant jail time. A talking to and a number of hours of community service should suffice.

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  18. Gerry Lvs castro (profile) says:

    Given that apparently only 3% of the ROI population actually speak Irish on a day to day basis, perhaps Hector’s IT skills could be put to better use elsewhere.

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  19. Driftwood (profile) black spot says:

    Hardly anything that would warrant jail time. A talking to and a number of hours of community service should suffice.

    Agree Joe about the mcgirr/campbell shootings.

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  20. Driftwood (profile) black spot says:

    McGirr and Campbell were 2 terrorists/drug dealers who were not the brightest of their gang. They ended up in a shootout with some Scottish soldiers and lost. i’m sure their last wish was some oirish writing on the tombstone to show how brave and nice they were, etc etc.

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  21. PaddyReilly (profile) says:

    The Irish is wrong. It is not “tugaim tacaoíocht don Acht na Gaeilge” but “tugaim tacaoíocht do Acht na Gaeilge”.

    Sadly, grammatical Irish is a dead language in these airts and pairts.

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  22. Mark (profile) says:

    Dixie ,

    Nice try Dixie , but we both know I wasn’t talking about that the McGirr / Campbell Killings .

    I was talking about someone trying to imtimidate me Dixie . One if the technicans has told me that my e mail address has been tampered it around the time those subliminal messages start to appear . The only thing I could make out were the names of the 2 vols.

    A sick bastard is someone who would do something like that .

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  23. fitzy (profile) says:

    All seriousness aside, the picture of old Peter with an Irish message next to it (a dream of the future for some) reminds me of an oldie but goodie:
    big Ian falls into a devastating coma that lasts for years. When he wakes up, his trusty deputy is at his bedside. Big Ian opens his eyes and whispers to Peter, ‘how long have I been out, and what’s happened?’. Peter responds ‘well boss, I’ve good news and bad news’. ‘well let’s have it’ says big Ian… Peter responds, ‘well chief… There’s a united ireland’. An incredible look of sadness comes over ian’s face… ‘well then, let’s have some good news’. ‘linfield beat cliftonville for the league championship’ says Peter. Finally a smile from Ian followed by an inquiry on the score… 1-8 to 2-9 responds Peter.

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  24. Munsterview (profile) black spot says:

    Since we are on the subject of hacking, this is an update of sorts on you know who !

    http://www.dailygrail.com/blogs/red-pill-junkie/2011/1/Assanges-Case-Goes-Belmarsh-Court

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  25. Munsterview (profile) black spot says:

    Some extra on Julian with good additional references.

    http://www.coffetoday.com/assanges-case-will-be-transferred-to-belmarsh/907697/

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  26. oneill (profile) says:

    … and humbly apologises for championing Ulster Scots over Irish, before finishing with statements about Iraq and Israel

    Iraq is supporting the Irish Language Act, Israel is against presumably?

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  27. Scáth Shéamais (profile) says:

    Paddy: The Irish is wrong. It is not “tugaim tacaoíocht don Acht na Gaeilge” but “tugaim tacaoíocht do Acht na Gaeilge”.

    Actually, it would be “tugaim tacaíocht d’Acht na Gaeilge” or “tugaim tacaíocht don Acht Gaeilge”.

    das, Hector abú!

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  28. Salem-is-here (profile) says:

    This made me laugh this morning, Some people need to lighten up !

    Yes it was wrong it hacked the website, but its easily fixed and no data was stolen.

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  29. So far no one’s corrected Google Translate’s Irish translation … amazing!

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  30. Cynic2 (profile) says:

    Could someone translate it into Polish and Romanian please? After all, we have more native speaker of both those languages living in de nurth than we do Irish speakers

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  31. JR (profile) says:

    You are being fairly pedantic there Scáth. there is nothing wrong with Paddys version. He got rid of the double article which was all that I could see that was making the sentence incorrect.

    I have to say, I think it was a great stunt. No harm done and gave alot of people a giggle this morning. They could have posted a hell of alot worse.

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  32. JR (profile) says:

    Cynic2,
    There are 30,000 Polish people in Northern Ireland and according to the 2001 census 75,125 people here speak, read, write and understand irish.

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  33. vanhelsing (profile) says:

    JR – you’re right about the 30,000 Polish – but I’d be surprised if there were more than that in NI that can really speak Irish.

    Yeah some people claim to and can manage about as much Irish as us Prods can French:) The odd ‘my name is’ ‘where is the toilet?’ ‘I love Ireland’ ‘is there a bus station near here?’ ‘how much is that’ and other classic conversational phrases

    That’s not speaking Irish – hell the guy who hacked the website couldn’t even manage the bloody grammar!!

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  34. Cynic2 (profile) says:

    “according to the 2001 census 75,125 people here speak, read, write and understand irish.”

    Claim to. And I did say ‘native speakers’

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  35. andnowwhat (profile) black spot says:

    What a waste of police time!!!!

    Did SF hijack Gaelic? Hell yes.

    IMHO, the best way to trake it ioff them is to embrace it.

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  36. JR (profile) says:

    I agree with you vanhelsing, there are probibly much fewer than 75,000 people here that speat irish well. It is easier to tick a census box than to spend years learning a language. There are many more out there though than some people would try to make out. I suspect in the tens of thousands.

    Cynic, What is your point? You said native speakers for the polish and romaninan languages but did not specify native irish speakers.

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  37. Munsterview (profile) black spot says:

    I speak Irish and my first encounter with an Irish speaker in the North was in a shop inside the walls in Derry. I was wearing a gold ring in my watch chain in my lapel that was mistaken for a the ring that some Irish Speakers wear and I was addressed in Irish by a shop assistant who it transpired was Presbyterians who had learned Irish from a family member who spoke the language.

    In the early nineties I was involved in a cultural event up there, I started the day in the La office, had a meal down stairs, met some other individuals in two or three other meetings and I went out to Belfast Castle in the afternoon where I joined a mixed party and greeted them in Irish.

    Some of the group reacted and I just then realized that I had spend the last few hours working entirely through the medium of Irish, something I could not have done the same at that time in an average mornings business in the South outside of a Gaeltach area.

    Belfast currently is probably the foremost Irish city for consistent use of Irish Language and it is only right that that it is acknowledged and officially recognized.

    Do anyone know how many Ulster Scots native speakers are in the North and the Ulster area ?

    I do not pose this question in any negative way, in fact I welcome all the efforts made to preserve the dialect and if anything, my complaint is that there is not enough being done to propagate and preserve the dialect in a non political context.

    I was in fact I one of the guest performing artists and I also took part in a public function up there towards the end of last year where the cultures of all three languages were equally celebrated.

    Unfortunately the Ulster Scotch issue have been made a political football and something of a joke in some quarters but it is a valued part of the culture of these Islands and it should be a cherished part of a living culture by all parties.

    At this stage both Gaelic and Ulster Scotch should be removed from the political arena and leave both to the cultural arena where they should be fully and actively supported. That also pre supposes a full respect for both from all parties in the North.

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  38. Kadfoomsa (profile) says:

    Have to say, this ‘attack’ really made my day.

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  39. RG Cuan (profile) says:

    Great stunt, and if Hector is taken before the court there will be massive support from Irish language activists and from people who just see the funny side of it all!

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  40. Munsterview (profile) black spot says:

    Van : “…..That’s not speaking Irish – hell the guy who hacked the website couldn’t even manage the bloody grammar!!….”

    So how many people speaking English as a first and natural language can manage the Bloody grammar ? I have won several National and International literary awards in my time, but as Turgon never tire of pointing out my first language is Hiberno English.

    He is of course correct, all my great grandparents spoke Irish as their first and normal language, my grandparents were bilingual in their early life and the English prevalent in my childhood community had Gaelic loan words and terms interspersed naturally through the conversation. The language may be English but the thinking patterns and structures are straight and either un reconstructuded or modified from the Irish language.

    When I write a formal history essay for international consumption, I have to switch a mindset to formal mode and police my structure and content expression right through to the end. As my late friend the poet Mick Hartnett described the process, ‘dreaming in Irish, speaking in English’ is the normal mode of expression for most Irish people in the areas of Ireland outside of the Old Pale.

    As to Irish I would not dream of submitting anything substantial for publication without first sending it to a a Third level Irish lecturer for a final correction as the substantive matters can be lost when either some pedantic prick or is more usual some political ‘Clever Clogs’ use a grammar mistake to have and argument and divert.

    My other half teach third level English writing professionally on a part time basis. Currently she is assessing the work of two people and correcting their standard of English before they submit the next chapters of their thesis. This is from people who have already secured their masters.
    I have no doubt that the equivalent situation is operative in Queens.

    So Van as to your sneer regarding grammar, shove it, it is only petty political point scoring ! As to those who have reservations about the standards of Irish, as they say in trad music circles, ” F the music, play the tune” It is knowledge of the tune that counts overall not to have it note perfect, that will come with practice.

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  41. Lighten up. It’s a laugh. No-one died. It’s political theatre and the world is better for it. If the DUP want to get their own back, they can make some crack about translating the SF website into the original German and then everyone can get all offended all over again while no-one dies ;-)

    Bring it all on.

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  42. Background info and explanation from the “hackavist” in this article in TheJournal.ie

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  43. The Lighthouse Keeper (profile) says:

    Is this activity the first manifestation of the “Ríomhaire IRA” ? :-)

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  44. Secret Squirrel (profile) says:

    Excellent stuff Mr Ó Hackatdawn.
    Good clean fun.

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  45. Secret Squirrel (profile) says:

    I see Hector did something similar, apparently, on NewYearsEve but the DUP in their wisdom did forkAll to address their security problem. I wonder have they sussed it yet or are they still clueless ?

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  46. Concubhar (profile) says:

    it seems to me that Hector’s action in this case falls into the realm of peaceful political protest, a thing which a party like the DUP would do well to bear in mind, given that party’s links to the likes of the Third Force etc. It’s also embarrassing for Sinn Féin as Hector has managed to do what Sinn Féin have failed singularily to do since getting into bed with the DUP: promote the Irish language.
    It’s also worth pointing out that Hector was spot on with his ‘apology’ for the DUP’s neanderthal attitude to homosexuality etc.

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  47. It’s a good prank, but it does little to promote Irish. Nothing about it is going to change anyone’s mind on the issue. If we want to do something constructive, we could start by tackling the assumption that if you speak Irish then you’re automatically a Shinner.

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  48. Gerry Lvs castro (profile) says:

    ‘we could start by tackling the assumption that if you speak Irish then you’re automatically a Shinner.’

    or the assumption that if you’re a Unionist you’re automatically a member of the Orange Order. So many myths…

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  49. joeCanuck (profile) says:

    Good point, Andrew (and Gerry too). But, how do you separate the Irish speaking folks from S.F.? They (S.F.) seem to have seized the issue.

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  50. andnowwhat (profile) black spot says:

    Hi Joe.

    As i said earlier, the answer to taking Gaelic away from SF is to embrace it. It’s hardly a new idea. The same goes for all elements of Irish culture. They don’t belong to either side.

    It reminds me slightly of how nationalists handed rememberance day to unionism until recently.

    Maybe we need a symbol for NI of a nose falling off to spite it’s face.

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  51. Gerry Lvs castro (profile) says:

    The big stumbling block for Unionists is that most don’t regard themselves as Irish in any other sense than geographically. Therefore embracing the Irish language makes no sense to them.

    The language means nothing outside of it’s cultural shell — barely 3% use it in everyday life, it has no import outside of the island. Whereas French, Spanish, Mandarin etc have myriad uses, Irish needs to be learned for the love of the culture and the language. Many Unionists see it in SFs narrow terms — a method of differentiating the two communities and islands and a political cudgel to beat them with.

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  52. Brian (profile) says:

    I wonder how many of those 75K who claim to speak Irish were former prisoners

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  53. Concubhar (profile) says:

    The attitude of unionists to the Irish language and identity as evidenced by Gerrylvscastro should be an embarrasment to him and his colleagues. It’s xenophobia of a high order. As for Irish having no import outside of this island, he’s joking of course or else he’s ignorant. Irish is studied in universities all over the world (US, Harvard etc, China Beijing, UK Cambridge) and is spoken all over the world by irish speakers. It’s the 25th most spoken language in the USA – according to that country’s census. If he wants to have a look at something which is irrelevant outside of this island,he should look at ‘unionism’.

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  54. Conchubhar,

    But Gerry does have a point – unionists may have a backward attitude towards the Irish language, but Sinn Fein have actively encouraged this. Who out there is actively promoting Irish as something to be shared by all? There are some, but they have no public profile to speak of. Until people stand up and say it’s OK to be a unionist and speak Irish, we’re just going to go round in circles. Roger Blaney’s book might be a good place to start.

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  55. andnowwhat (profile) black spot says:

    So if SF told unionists to put their hand in the fire……?

    Anyone know whay language the Scots planters spoke?

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  56. Gerry Lvs castro (profile) says:

    No offence Concubhar but total lack of interest and xenophobia are two entirely different things. The Unionist lack of interest is something they appear to share with a very large number of others on the island.

    I notice you failed to take issue with the figure of 3% in Ireland using the language in an everyday context. Such a figure 90 years after independence gives out a very clear message. Despite being a compulsory school subject and having had huge amounts of funding, only the tiniest minority choose to adopt Irish as their first language. It isn’t even spoken in the Dail. Given this harsh reality, why exactly would you expect Unionists to have any interest whatsoever?

    I bow to your figure of 25th most spoken language in the US, but exactly how does that translate in terms of numbers of fluent everyday speakers?

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  57. andnowwhat:

    It’s not that SF is telling unionists to do anything, it’s that they both subscribe to the zero-sum theory of politics: if themmuns are for it, then we’re agin it, and vice versa.

    Blaney suggests that there was a significant minority of Gaelic speakers among the Scots planters, and that many supposedly “Protestant” surnames may have been literally translated from Gaelic (e.g. Mac Seain -> Johnston). Exact numbers are hard to come by however. Follow my link above and have a read.

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  58. Kadfoomsa (profile) says:

    “The Unionist lack of interest is something they appear to share with a very large number of others on the island”

    Not true, unionism is very interested in Gaelic.

    They oppose every public manifestation and public utterence and each and every Irish medium school to the point of obsession.

    Every unionist party including Alliance supports where and when Irish is currently banned.

    Opposing an Irish language act is a key electoral pledge for all unionist papers except Alliance (who are still opposed).

    Opposing IME is a key policy position for the DUP.

    Being Anti=Irish language is one of the founding principles of the TUV.

    Unionism disinterested in Irish, I think not, obsessed by it more like.

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  59. Gerry Lvs castro (profile) says:

    Sounds like they’re going about it all wrong Kadfoomsa — if Unionism had advocated the model followed in the Republic, NI could be languishing with 3% native speakers too.

    Could someone please explain exactly what an Irish language act would involve and achieve?

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  60. Mark (profile) says:

    Is that a question or an insult ?

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  61. Gerry Lvs castro (profile) says:

    It’s a genuine question.

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  62. Mark (profile) says:

    The way Gaelic was taught in schools in 70′s / 80′s was a joke .Some of the teachers had’nt a clue . We had priests who taught us . They tried to drill it into you , not teach you .

    When I got 4% in my mock group cert exam , my mother went down to the priests to ask what was wrong , she was told not to worry , you only really need irish to get into UCD .

    There were never any books like catcher in the rye in Irish class .

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  63. Mark (profile) says:

    Gerry Lvs castro ,

    I don’t know what it would involve , it would achieve the obvious as in self esteem , pride , idenity , the sames things that you guys associate with the union .

    I dont know how the Belgians work it with flemish and french but they have one major advantage over us and we all know that .

    To be honest until the history of the Gaelic language is taught properly in schools and it is explained to young children how important is , it will never take off .

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  64. joeCanuck (profile) says:

    Anyone know what language the Scots planters spoke?,

    Interesting question. I did read somewhere quite a few years back that Engish, as she is spake in N.I. was quite close to how people in England spoke in the first Elizabethan era. Don’t know about the Scots.

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  65. Munsterview (profile) black spot says:

    JoeC,

    no easy answer to that : one would need to know what periods are concerned and what specific areas of Scotland were involved. Even at that there are problems going right back to earliest times. Historical scholarship cannot authorativly say for instance if the Picts were proto Celts, Celts or a genetically separate peoples. Hell even the very term Celt is disputed these days !

    The languages that evolved and the dialects that emerged as ‘English’ have a diverse streams that shaped these dialects. I have done some study of Sir Walter Scott’s early years in Scotland and I was surprised at how far the ‘English’ his aunts, with whom he spend his early childhood’ deviated from the ‘Scotch -English’ of Edinburgh and how much this again deviated from Elizabethan court English.

    Aspects of the latter are better preserved in some remote areas of Munster where Gaelic remained the primary language than it is most areas of England where english continued to evolve. Dathi O’Bruadar, the Maig poet was so dismissive of the limitations of English to express human feelings that he dismissed it as ” being a tongue but fit to sell pigs in”

    This is fairly basic but it may be of some help.

    .http://www.rampantscotland.com/know/blknow6.htm

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  66. fordprefect (profile) says:

    I thought it was absolutely hilarious. I can speak a bit of “Ulster Scots”: Twas a braw bricht moonlicht nicht!

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