Canon Shinkwin was talking to the older people in Borlin (Bantry, West Cork, in Irish around 1903 and asking them to speak Irish to the small children at night with a view towards arresting the decline of the language. There were 4 million Irish speakers pre famine in 1840 and in 1900 probably at least 10 million worldwide whose parents had been Irish speakers.
In some ways people continued to speak Irish but through the medium of the English language. To some extent that is still true. The rhythms of language appear normal but to non Irish English speakers appears strange exotic and sometimes puzzling. The language lives in hidden in placenames, field names in half forgotten phrase which exist in the collective unconscious.
In the Irish Civil War one of the Cronin family from Borlin was a Free State Officer and was known as ‘The Borlin…
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