Gearrscéal: An Dordveidhil

Ba é an chéad dordveidhil a fuair Ciara ná an ceann céanna is a bhí ag a seanmháthair; í ina dordveidhleadóir le ceolfhoireann i bPáras, tráth. Tugadh L’Étoile d’Irlande – réalt na hÉireann – uirthi i measc lucht an cheoil sa Fhrainc agus i gcuid mhaith eile na hEorpa. Bhí clú uirthi mar dhordveidhleadóir den chéad scoth, ó Rann na Feirste go dtí an Róimh agus ó Chonamara go Cív. Nuair a d’éirigh sí as a bheith ina ceoltóir proifisiúnta, thug sí a ‘leanbh’ – dordveidhil a rinneadh i bPáras – do Chiara mar bhronntanas dá hochtú breithlá déag. Faoin am sin, bhí Ciara ag seinnt leis an gceolfhoireann náisiúnta agus bhí sí ag cleachtadh le haghaidh éisteachta do cheolfhoireann i Londain. Bhí sí cinnte dearfa go raibh sí chun céimeanna a seanmháthar a leanúint, agus dul níos faide ná mar a chuaigh sí féin.

Cúpla bliain níos déanaí, bhí Ciara de Faoite cúrtha fuithi i Londain, í ina cónaí lena buachaill agus ag éirí go han-rathúil i ndomhan an cheoil Chlasaicí – i measc na mBriotanach ach go háirithe. Ar an mhaidin fhuar gheimhriúil úd i Rann na Feirste, áfach, bhí sí le cúpla port a sheinnt do phobail an bhaile, ach ní bheadh sé ina cheolchoirm.

Os chomhair an phobail in eaglais an bhaile, thosaigh sí ag smaoineamh faoin lá a fuair sí an nuacht. B’fhíor-dheacair dá máthair an drochscéal a insint di, ach ba dheacra fós é a chloisteáil, go háirithe agus í chomh fada sin uaithi nach raibh sí in ann compórd ar bith – barróg, fiú – a thabhairt dá chéile. Ina ionad sin, ní raibh ina chompórd ach glórtha a chéile agus iad beirt ag gol.

Thosaigh sí ag smaoineamh faoin uair dheireanach a chonaic sí í, agus í beo. Bhí sí ag cleachtadh píosa brónaí ar dhordveidhil nua a fuair sí féin mar bhronntanas ó hAmbasáid na hÉireann i bParás nuair a d’éirigh sí as. Sarabande le Bach a bhí á sheinnt aici agus Ciara ag siúl isteach sa teach i Rann na Feirste. Bhog sí ó thaobh go taobh leis an ndordveidhil agus í ag seinnt, soir is siar ar nós go raibh sí ag caoineadh in ómós do dhuine. A fear chéile, b’fhéidir, a d’imigh uainn deich mbliana roimhe. Nó a mac – uncail Ciara – a fuair bás i dtimpiste gluaisteáin agus Ciara ina cailín an-óg. Bhí go leor le caoineadh faoi ag a seanmháthair, ach ní raibh sé le feiceáil ach amháin nuair a sheinn sí an dordveidhil.

Shuí sí síos i gcathaoir adhmad os comhair mhuintir an bhaile, agus chuir sí dordveidhil a seanmháthar os a comhair. Phioc sí an bogha suas as an mbosca ina lámh dheis, agus thosaigh sí ag seinnt Sarabande. Bhí céad duine – pobal an bhaile ar fad agus corrdhuine a raibh aithne acu uirthi ó dhomhan an cheoil – i láthair san eaglais chun slán a fhágáil don Étoile, ach ní fhaca Ciara éinne ach í féin, ina luí go suanmhar sa chónra dharach oscailte. Bhog Ciara go mall ó thaobh go taobh ina cathaoir leis an ndordveidhil, mar a bhog a seanmháthair tráth i bPáras, gléasta go hálainn do cheolchoirmeacha mhóra árdnósacha.

Mhothaigh Ciara gach nóta ar nós go raibh sí ag insint scéal a Mamó, bíodh áthasach nó brónach é. Chrith a méara ach lean an ceol ar aghaidh gan fhadhb gan stopadh, ar nós go raibh Mamó á treorú go dtí an deireann. Lean na deora fad is a lean an ceol ón uirlis mhór, ach níor stop sí riamh. Bhí Mamó ann, agus bhí sí sásta agus bródúil as a gariníon. Bhí a fhios aici faoin méid sin – bhí sí cinnte de. Mhothaigh sí lámh clé a Mamó ar a gualainn dheis, á moladh, cé go raibh a corp fós sínte amach sa chónra. Ba chuma le Ciara faoin gcónra, bhí sí ar bís – in ainneoin na ndeor – go raibh Mamó ag éisteacht.

Agus d’éist Ciara féin, mar a d’éist sí léi agus í á sheinnt. Bhí Mamó ann. Fós ina ceoltóir den chéad scoth.

25 Deireadh Fómhair 2010

Líonfaimis an Bhearna idir Gaeltacht is Galltacht

Déanfaidh mé sár-iarracht anseo gan aon cliché faoin nGaeltacht – na cinn a fheiceann tú in aon aiste ollscoile – a úsáid anseo. Tá an cás níos práinní agus tábhachtaí chun a leithéid a dhéanamh. In ionad sin, déanfaidh mé iarracht tabhairt faoin bhfadhb agus, más féidir, an réiteach. 

Continue reading “Líonfaimis an Bhearna idir Gaeltacht is Galltacht”

Ní Bheidh AthGhaelú Éasca, Ach…

Ó thús na gluaiseachta Gaelaí, nuair a bhí grúpaí áirithe ag ullmhú agus ag impí ar thacaíocht an phobail ar son an neamhspleáchais, bhí ról cumhachtach ag an teanga, a cuid litríochta ársa agus chomhaimseartha, agus ar mhuintir na Gaeltachta, réigiún a bhí i bhfad níos láidre ná mar atá sí inniu. Bhí cumhacht faoi leith ag an bhfocal “Éire”, go háirithe nuair a chuireadh íomhá Éiru – nó Hibernia – os comhair an phobail mar spéirbhean chróga álainn, í ina siombal náisiúnta. Chuir gluaiseacht athbheochan na Gaeilge neart leis an íomhá finscéalaíoch sin, agus bhí muintir na hÉireann in ann glacadh leis an gcoincheap.

Continue reading “Ní Bheidh AthGhaelú Éasca, Ach…”

Poem: Be Still / Fan Socair

Irish version below / Leagan Gaeilge thíos

Be Still

How bizarre for us all 
this silence seems to be 
instead of the rush 
of cars, calls, or crowds 
from place to place 
without a single destination in mind 

As if someone, somewhere 
raised an alarm – 
the Earth herself pleading 
for a moment's rest, 
to catch one's breath 
and let the skies clear. 

And what harm? 
If we, silent, are safe 
we have this chance 
to see speed is not the saviour, 

but humanity. 

Fan Socair

Is aisteach dúinn 
an ciúnas seo 
In ionad na tráchta, 
na cainte, na sluaite 
ag dul timpeall na háite 
gan sprioc ach chun luas a choimeád. 

Ar nós gur ardaíodh 
aláram – 
an Domhan é féin ag impí 
orainn sos a ghlacadh 
chun anáil a tharraingt
fad is a ghlantar an spéir. 

Agus cén dochar? 
Más slán sinn, 
tá deis againn 
a fheiceáil nach é luas an laoch 

ach an daonnacht.

Cork / Corcaigh
31 March/Márta 2020

Gay Gaeldom Returns: Poetry and Plans

Last weekend, my partner & I travelled to Edinburgh from Cork to take part in an event organised by Scottish Gaelic poet, Marcas Mac an Tuairneir, and the University of Edinburgh’s Highland Society as part of the Scottish capital’s festival for Gaelic language and culture, Seachdain na Gàidhlig.

The theme of the event was LGBT poetry in two of the three Gaelic languages, Gaeilge and Gàidhlig. Being gay, of course, is only one part of me, but being a gay writer in a minority language means that I’m part of not just one minority community, but two. The same goes for Marcas, although we are by no means the first LGBT writers in either Gaelic language. Regardless, Na Balaich Aighearach | Na Buachaillí Aeracha (literally, ‘the gay boys‘) saw Marcas and I read our poetry in Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and English, with a few songs by Marcas and my good friend, Alison Ní Dhorchaidhe.

As Alison and I were a little late to the event (“typical Irish timing”, as Marcas aptly put it!) we had little time to prepare or compare our chosen poems, and yet common themes clearly appeared during our performance. I read two separate poems, Oíche ar an gCé and Mångata (a poem in English, despite its Swedish title), in which I touched on showing affection to a love interest away from broad daylight or public eye. This theme was reflected in some of Marcas’ poetry also, showing common experiences and subtle inequalities still experienced by LGBT people. We also read poems that touched on Armistice Day and soldiers, with the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One taking place the following day, as well as national identities and relationships – all part of an overall expression of identity and finding oneself, but told through the eyes of gay writers.

Aside from the poetry, it was wonderful to take part in a Gaelic-language event, and to see the language alive and well in Scotland’s capital. I studied Scottish Gaelic for a semester while doing my undergrad at UCD, and while I didn’t pay much attention to it then, I’ve since travelled to the gorgeous Scottish Highlands, as well as visiting Edinburgh a handful of times, to see the language ‘in action’. The state of the language and its community of speakers are in a different situation to Irish, and yet there is an energy to its younger and urban speakers, which gives me hope for a’ Ghàidhlig. At one particular point near the end of the event, Marcas sang the Gaelic song, Canan nan Gaidheal, which even my partner noted brought a warm atmosphere to the event, giving the impression that both Irish and Scottish Gaelic speakers were one community.

I must admit also, that Marcas himself was something of an inspiration to me. His passion for Gaelic, poetry, and pushing his writing ‘out there’ through various publications and competitions is something that I’ve done at times, but not with his seemingly consistent effort. While I do take part in the occasional literary event, and have two books published, I consider my writing as a creative outlet which is – first and foremost – for myself. I use writing as a form of releasing built-up thoughts and emotions, and sometimes as a form of self-therapy. Still, Marcas’ enthusiasm has encouraged me to write more, and with renewed purpose. We discussed the idea of a publishing a literary pamphlet in Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and English, and hopefully this will be a good project for 2019.

Finally, I’d like to say “Mòran taing” or many thanks to Marcas, Drew MacNaughton, and the rest of the organisers for inviting me to read in Edinburgh and be part of the Edinburgh Gaelic Festival. I returned to Ireland with a re-energised sense of being part of the wider Gaelic (or even Celtic) community, and hope to take part a little more in future. Míle buíochas daoibh go léir.

Featured image by Comann Ceilteach Oilthigh Dhùn Èideann