Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh will launch Croí Cine at an event during the Cumann Merriman Winter School in the Ballyvaughan Room, Galway Bay Hotel, Salthill, Galway on Saturday, 1 February at 5:30 p.m.
Alan Titley will launch Croí Cine at an event in the Irish Writers Centre, Parnell Square, Dublin 1 on Tuesday, 4 February, at 6:30 p.m.
Croí Cine fills a vacuum. It contains extracts and quotations in Irish, from the earliest times to the present day. As Irish is the oldest written language in Europe after Greek and Latin, this makes it somewhat special in European culture. The earliest item in this selection comes from the end of the sixth century, about AD 598. Irish has been written in every century since then, and every age in that time span is represented here.
At one level, the Croí Cine might be seen as a collection of quotations. But it is more. It is arranged in sections (thirty-two in all), each covering a main theme or period. Many sections have introductions which help to explain events and put them into context for today’s readers.
Issues covered include attitudes towards the clergy in Gaelic Ireland; how different kinds of poetry sustained morale at different levels of Irish-speaking society (most of the population) in the eighteenth century; nationality and nationalism; the past and future of the Gaeltacht; and the main causes (there were more than one) which brought about the language shift of the nineteenth century.
Sections on special themes are interspersed with sections tracking the course of history. Nearly all provide examples of the best in Irish literature—prose and poetry—and there are sections as well on the language and its culture.
There are contemporary accounts of events, including the deportations of Cromwell and the sack of Drogheda; the Famine; and the experiences of post-famine emigrants. The mixture produces a stream of consciousness which shows the resilience and evolving nature of a nation. It is a record of how a people responded to circumstances over the course of their long history.
The extracts come from all over the Gaelic world, from every county and many of the cities and towns of Ireland, from Scotland, the Isle of Man, Nova Scotia in Canada, and the lands of the post-Famine diaspora, England, Scotland, Wales, and the Unites States.
There are talented and gifted people here, from Columbanus, ‘the first European’, to Johannes Scottus Eriugena, Aogán Ó Rathaille, Brian Merriman, Seán Ó Ríordáin, and many more.
But others also have their say, ordinary folk whose abilities were more limited, some even using broken Irish. They are all accepted on their own terms, according to their wish to express themselves. All that matters is that they had something to say, be it polished or simple, wise or witty or heartfelt, which they left on record for the generations coming after them.
With this in mind, all the quotations (except one, in Old Irish) are given in modern Irish. In addition, notes at the end provide further information.
There are two indexes, one giving brief details of individual writers. The other is new, a general index which adds greatly to the usefulness of this edition of Croí Cine. This edition is thus larger and more comprehensive than the highly regarded first edition published in 1990.
The sections of the book fall into three major categories, any one of which can be read as a continuous entity if so desired. They are:
1.Historical: 2,4,7,8,13,14, 20, 24, 27,28, 29,30,32
2. Language and culture: 1,9,15,21,22,24,25,31,32
3. Themes, as follows:
ainmneacha pearsanta (personal names) críonnacht (wisdom)
aislingí (aisling poetry) grá (love)
áiteanna (placenames) leanaí (children)
aithrí (repentance) mná (womenfolk)
bás (death) ólachán (drinking)
carthanacht (charity) pósadh (marriage)
cléir (the clergy) seanaois (old age)
conspóidi creidimh (religious disputes) suirí (courting)
by Seán de Fréine