Local dialects of Erris Irish: List of resources now available

A list of resources pertaining to local dialects of Irish in the Erris Gaeltacht will be published this week on the Gaeilge Iorrais website www.gaeilgeiorrais.ie Up to seven dialects of Irish were spoken in Erris fadó, according to local historian Pádhraic S. Ó Murchú of Turas Siar. These include, for example, dialects of Dún Chaocháin in the north of the barony (Ceathrú Thaidhg and Ros Dumhach ), Dumha Locha/Dumha Thuama dialect in southern Erris and other examples on the Mullet peninsula including the dialect of Inis Gé islanders, dialect of townlands Fál Mór/Glais/Tóin na hOlltaí, and also Cartúir/An Mullach Rua/Trán.

Examples are cited on this list of various sources and resources which have been published or broadcast to date about or in these local dialects of Erris Irish.

Some of the more widely known resources on this topic include, for example, Séamus Mag Uidhir’s "Fánaíocht i gContae Mhaigh Eo", Ó Catháin and Uí Sheighin’s "A Mhuintir Dhú Chaocháin Labhraigí Feasta!", Mhac An Fhailigh’s linguistic study The Irish of Erris, the extensive local archive of Turas Siar, "Logainmneacha agus Oidhreacht Dhún Chaocháin" and Raidió na Gaeltachta archive, to name but a few.

Approximately 130 references are cited to date and organised into seven different sections according to subject matter (for example, linguistic resources, folklore, prose, poetry and song, placenames, sociolinguistics and further internet resources ).

This extensive list may seem somewhat academic at first glance, but there is much variety in the content listed – articles, archived sound recordings, audiovisual material, books – in English and in Irish, which may be of interest to native speakers, students and also the wider community. Further information is also available on certain sources by clicking on the given hyperlink.

A working group of three researchers undertook this project, which is being co-ordinated by Gaeilge Iorrais. They are most grateful to those who offered assistance, information and encouragment to date.

This is how Liam Mac Congáil, the main author of the list, spoke about this important work: "Over the past few years many people have asked me about resources relating to Erris Irish: what are the best books for learning it, is there much written in it, where would one find recordings of the dialect?

"My go-to answer has been that there are many resources but they are scattered here and there – it’s difficult to find them. Indeed, until recently you’d be hard pressed to learn one of the local sub-dialects if you weren’t able to spend a reasonable amount of time in the Gaeltacht in the company of native speakers.

"With this list, we aim to document all of the resources relating to the language in Erris. There’s a wide range of subject matter to interest everyone; those who are learning the language and those who already speak it. If one were to spend just half an hour each day working with some of the materials listed, they’d succeed in picking up the local dialect, accent and vocabulary, without delay.

Laoise Ní Dhúda, local language planning officer, added the following: "We hope to encourage those at home and abroad to take an active interest in this important part of our linguistic and cultural heritage. We give due recognition to those who speak these unique local dialects of Irish which were spoken and continue to be heard in our Gaeltacht area, and also hope to inspire others to do so."

This working document is now available at http://www.gaeilgeiorrais.ie/index.php/canuinti- local-dialects. Please get in touch by emailing [email protected] if you have any feedback or relevant suggestions on this matter.


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