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It is fitting that a book set in a cemetery has come to be known as the graveyard of translators. Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s masterpiece Cré na Cille was described in the New Yorker as “too good to translate” although different individuals have tried. It is widely regarded as the finest novel in the Irish language.
In this week’s episode, Peadar (who has read it) tells Darach (who hasn’t read it) all about the wonders of this novel, where the occupants of the graveyard are doomed to gossip amongst each other about the petty concerns and jealousies that poisoned their lives. Comparisons to Ulysses (and Star Trek) are considered, as well as the validity of different approaches to translation, Ó Cadhain’s relationship with Brendan Behan, and the overlapping Irish obsessions with death and property.