Why is my website bi-lingual?
So, a couple of people who have visited my website have asked me how come it's bi-lingual. Interestingly, this question has only come from other Irish people.
For those of you from other places (doubtless all with their own cultural and historical quirks) I should perhaps explain that the Irish language in Ireland is a complicated animal!
It is an old and beautiful language and is also the first official language of the Republic of Ireland. Yet only about 3% of the population speak it as their first language. I am not among their number. I, along with the other 97%, 'learned' it in school. I was not alone, however, in disliking it and not learning very much. If you had told me then that I would devote considerable time and energy later in life to learning to actually speak the language I'd never have believed you. Life is strange!
I think it was partly living in America that did it. During the time I lived there I found my love and appreciation for my own place on the planet growing. But I can pinpoint the moment in time when my attitude towards the language in particular changed utterly! It was when I read, one Sunday morning while living in New York, an essay by the Irish language poet Nuala Ni Dhomnaill. She mentioned that in Old Irish there had been no way to make the distinction between what in English we would can 'this' world and 'the other world'. Apparently for the speakers of Old Irish there was no 'other world'... we were all - people, fairies, spirits, gods, ancestors - all in this world together. That was the moment that I realized I had to learn to actually speak the language!
And my love and appreciation for it only grows over time... which is why I chose to make my website bi-lingual - to celebrate it as the deep and integral part of Ireland that it is.