Challenge Completed – Partly
I would not classify it as depressing.
I suspect that the many of my vintage who grimace and complain at even the mention of the book are actually recalling difficulties with learning Irish rather than the contents of the book.
It is very definitely a record of the time. There was infant mortality. There was emigration. The Christian belief is evident. The community spirit and co-operation was strong. Many of her siblings and children died as did her husband but these events are communicated factually and not in any pitiful or mournful way.
She met her husband days before her wedding which was not unusual for the time. The tradition was of multiple weddings prior to Lent.
The language is lovely. It is simple but the expressions could not be mistaken for being from anywhere but Ireland.
Go on. Read it.
Circles of Connections
Last night, at our conversational Irish class, Ciara Ní Riain was the guest speaker. Ciara is a doctorate student who spent some time in the Irish Department of the University of Montana and said that students starting without Irish would be close to Leaving Certificate standard within a year. That says a lot about how Irish is taught here.
In the nineteenth century, many left Beara and other parts of Ireland to work in the mines of Butte and the Irish connection continues.
Another topic on the To Do list - to join a trip to the Great Blasket.
My pace was very slow. My desire to complete was put off by the need to check so many words.
Then my best purchase – the translation of the book – let to a change of strategy. I would read a chapter in Irish as best I could; then read in English; and then go back to the Irish with dictionary and English translation together with my book of new words.
This I will return to but to complete the book within the time set, I decided to read the English version to the end.
I then carefully read the challenge I set myself and found the loophole that it did not mention which version would be read.
I will read the book in Irish – maybe within another year…..