Writing in Irish

Colette Nic Aodha
Colette Nic Aodha

Colette Nic Aodha

As a writer in the Irish language I feel cherished and part of quite a small, caring family on one hand, and marginalised on the other hand. It is definitely easier to have your work published in Irish as there is only a small pool of artists, and new writing is always in demand. There are also more financial supports available than for those who write exclusively in English. However, writers in Irish do not have the same opportunities as their counterparts in English; their market is limited to the small number of native speakers or those learning the language. There is no international market. There is no international audience.

It is lovely when people from outside of Ireland, or those who can’t speak Irish, approach you after a reading and tell you how much they liked the sound of the verse although they didn’t understand any of it. I feel a rich history hidden in Gaelic words, one that reaches back to our ancestors and our unique heritage. The dilution of our pagan culture with the arrival of Christianity is a theme that is important to me. I have enormous respect for poetry in any language. To me, it is the medium through which beauty and harsh reality are most vividly expressed, the literary equivalent of ‘stopping and staring’. Different languages evoke different feelings and associations but poetry is word-music, it’s universal.

(Excerpt from THE LANDSCAPE OF LANGUAGE by Colette Nic Aodha, Poetry

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