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Irish speakers are referred to in Ireland as a community, a lobby group or even a kind of secret society: a bloc of people with specific and predictable values and objectives, distinct from the mórchultúr of mainstream Irish society. This expresses itself in many forms, from characterisations on radio debates to the sexual othering of Irish speakers (the “hot Gaeilgeoir” stereotype).
The truth is, of course, that Irish speakers stand in the same queues as anybody else. You might even be going out with one! In fact, most of the Motherfoclóir regulars are currently dating outside the flock. But what are the realities of such mixed relationships like?
In today’s episode of, Darach and Clodagh meet author Valerie Loftus and Derek O’Brien, her fluent fella. They talk about Oireachtas widows, slipping into Irish, defending the language when there’s no Irish speaker around and the “ecumenical matter” approach to bluffing a conversation as Gaeilge.
Valerie’s book “Thanks Penneys” is published by Mercier Press and available in bookshops now.
You can check out Gaelchultúr’s courses at http://gaelchultur.com/en/