Máirtín Ó Cadhain died on the 18th of October 1970. He was a man of many talents: schoolteacher, writer, folklorist, Irish language campaigner and finally university professor. He attended the local primary school in an Spidéal in the Connemara Gaeltacht and he qualified as a teacher in 1926. He lost his job because of his politics. After a period of internment in the Curragh, he was employed as a government translator. It was then that he began publishing his great novel ‘Cré na Cille’ in serial form in the ‘Irish Press’. He obtained the post of lecturer in Trinity College in 1956 and was appointed Professor of Irish in 1969. Among other things, he was a member of the group which founded ‘Gael Linn’ and he was very active in the Gaeltacht Civil Rights Movement. He wrote short stories and also wrote a huge number of controversial articles in magazines and newspapers.
Peadar Ó Flatharta gave a lecture on Ó Cadhain as part of a series organised by Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge in 2013. Alluding to Ó Cadhain’s thinking on Irish, he said, ‘We have the means and resources to undertake the task (of keeping Irish alive). We must strengthen the language step by step, hand it on to the next generation, mould it, adapt it to the modern world, and make it an integral part of the life of the nation.’ But he goes on to say that instead of that, Irish had been made no longer necessary for employment in the Civil Service and official status for the language in the European Union was not applied for.
Ó Cadhain wrote a pamphlet, ’The Irish language movement, a movement gone astray.’ Ó Flatharta said that if things continue the way are, there will be no such thing as an Irish language movement.
Irish Class. A beginner’s class starts in St. Mary’s Community Hall, Muff, on Tuesday, 20 October at 7.45pm. Further information: Muff Resource Centre: 074 9384572.