Iris Éireann Féin

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In amanna nuair a théann tú isteach i siopa nuachtán, cailleann tú dóchas. Feiceann tú na céadta iris. Tá siad iontach tarraingteach ón taobh amuigh, le clúdaigh gheala lándaite.

In amanna nuair a théann tú isteach i siopa nuachtán, cailleann tú dóchas. Feiceann tú na céadta iris. Tá siad iontach tarraingteach ón taobh amuigh, le clúdaigh gheala lándaite. Ach go minic ní fhaigheann tú ach raiméis istigh: réaltaí, cairde na réaltaí, iarchairde na réaltaí, gaolta na réaltaí, páistí na réaltaí atá ann nó atá le teacht, agus bunús an ama, réaltaí nach cóir dóibh a bheith ina réaltaí. Tá irisí eile ann cinnte a bhaineann le caitheamh aimsire, agus tá cuid acu oideachasúil. Faigheann tú cúpla ceann faoi chúrsaí reatha i siopaí áirithe. Ach ná bí ag lorg iris Ghaeilge i siopa i nDoire: tá an saol róghairid. Is irisí Sasanacha iad formhór na n-irisí anseo. Tá sin ceart go leor, go háirithe más Sasanach thú. Ní seineafóbach mé, ach sílim go bhfuil nuachtáin agus irisí Éireannacha tábhachtach dúinn mar phobal. Is maith an rud barúlacha a fháil ón thaobh amuigh, ach tá sé riachtanach barúlacha a fháil fosta ó dhaoine a bhfuil taithí bhunaidh acu ar imeachtaí an uile lae anseo.

Ach tríd an dorchadas, tá solas beag ag lonrú go fóill. Bunaíodh Ireland’s Own sa bhliain 1902 agus tá ráchairt ollmhór ar an irisleabhar clúiteach sin go fóill. Tháinig agus d’imigh a lán foilseachán i rith na mblianta, ach cosúil le sruth Tennyson, téann Ireland’s Own ar aghaidh gan stad. Deir daoine áirithe go bhfuil sé seanfhaiseanta, ach ní drochrud é sin. Ní thig linn an clog a thiontú siar. Ach ní ceart dúinn ár n-oidhreacht chultúrtha agus na luachanna a thug an seandream dúinn a ligean ar dearmad. Seachtain i ndiaidh seachtaine, cuireann Ireland’s Own an seansaol os ár gcomhair, le gearrscéalta, le hailt stairiúla, le heolas ar an dúlra, le hailt ar nósanna, le hamhráin agus lena lán eile. Spreagann sé scríbhneoireacht nua. Spreagann sé léitheoireacht nuair atá daoine ag léamh níos lú. Go fírinneach, ní bheadh an tseachtain mar an gcéanna gan é.

You sometimes despair when you go into a newsagents. You see hundreds of magazines. They are very attractive from the outside, with full-colour glossy covers.

But often there is only rubbish inside: celebs, friends of celebs, people who used to be friends of celebs, relatives of celebs, children of celebs that have come into the world or are on the way, and, most of the time, celebs who shouldn’t be celebs. There are other magazines, of course, that cover leisure pursuits and there are some educational magazines out there. In some shops you find a few current affairs magazines. But don’t go looking for an Irish language magazine in Derry: life is too short.

Most magazines that you get here are English. That is all right, especially if you are English. I am not xenophobic, but I think that Irish newspapers and magazines are important to us as a community. It is good to get opinions from the outside, but we also need to get the views of people who have first- hand experience of daily life here.

But through the darkness, a small light is shining still. Ireland’s Own was founded in 1902, and there is still a huge demand for that famous magazine.

Many publications have come and gone over the years, but like Tennyson’s brook, Ireland’s Own goes on for ever. Some say that it is old fashioned, but being old fashioned is no bad thing.

We cannot turn the clock back. But we should not forget our cultural heritage and the values that older generations have handed down to us.

Week in, week out, Ireland’s Own gives us a picture of life as it was, through short stories, historical articles, information about the world of nature, articles on customs, through songs and much more.

It encourages new writing. It encourages reading at a time when people are reading less. Really, life would not be the same