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Posted on: Wednesday, 18 April 2012

My favourite Hay-on-Wye purchase of the weekend.

The Irish, Sean O'Faolain.

On Gaelic:

"It has now gone underground; it is, so to speak, being forgotten consciously; it still beats like a great earth-throb in the subconsciousness of the race. The Irish language is thus becoming the runic language of modern Ireland. Only a dwindling few can think overtly in it; all of us can, through it, touch, however dimly, a buried part of ourselves of which we are normally unaware; through Gaelic we remember ancestrally, are again made very old and very young."

On Irish Nationalism:

"Ireland has learned, as Americans say, the hard way. She is like a brilliant but arrogant boy whose very brilliance acts as a dam against experience; who learns everything quickly, except experience. Our Nationalism has been our Egoism. It was our lovely shining youth. Like all the appurtenances of youth it was lovely in its day. After its day is passed to attempt to wear it is a form of 'Death in Venice', a middle-aged man raddling his cheeks to keep his youthful glow in times of plague. Ireland has clung to her youth, indeed to her childhood, longer and more tenaciously than any other country in Europe, resisting Change, Alteration, Reconstruction to the very last."


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