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A Conversation with Louis De Paor

Episode #10

In this intriguing episode of “The Language Question”, we explore the fascinating world of Irish language and literature with renowned poet and academic, Louis De Paor. From growing up bilingual in Ireland to advocating for the integration of the Irish language in mainstream media, Louis offers unique insights into the challenges and rewards of living a life steeped in Irish language and culture. Join us as we journey through his personal experiences, professional endeavours, and heartfelt reflections on the enduring importance of the Irish language in contemporary society.

Podcast Notes

Growing Up with Irish

Louis shares insights into his early life immersed in the Irish language. We learn how his family and community shaped his perception and appreciation for the language, paving the way for his future endeavors in both the academic and creative worlds.

Irish Language Experience in Australia

Louis recounts his time in Australia and how the Irish language influenced his experiences abroad. Even miles away from home, he didn’t leave the language behind, rather, it remained a crucial part of his identity. He talks about how the Irish language enabled him to connect with the Irish community in Australia, providing him with a sense of belonging and cultural familiarity to a degree.

Invisibility of Irish Language Literature

A central topic of our discussion is the lack of recognition and visibility of Irish language literature in mainstream media. Louis critically examines this ‘literary apartheid’, advocating for the inclusion and integration of the Irish language in mainstream outlets. He highlights the need to break down the perceived linguistic divide and to celebrate Ireland’s rich literary culture in both languages.

Motivation and Dedication to the Irish Language

In the final part of our conversation, Louis discusses his unwavering dedication to the Irish language. He challenges the notion that the use of Irish is an eccentricity, suggesting that bilingualism is an enriching experience that has shaped his identity.

Join us on this exploration of one man’s extraordinary journey with the Irish language, which uncovers deep insights into the current state and potential future of Irish language literature. Be sure to listen in full above or download the transcript below.

More on Louis de Paor

Louis De Paor

Louis De Paor is a leading Irish poet and professor of Irish Studies at Ollscoil na Gaillimhe. As well as publishing eight collections of his own poetry, Louis has been a contributor and editor of a number of major modern collections of Irish poetry, including “Coiscéim na haoise seo” with Seán Ó Tuama and “Poems of Repossession – Leabhar Na Athghabhála”.

Louis is also a former editor of the acclaimed Irish language journal Innti (founded by Michael Davitt, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Liam Ó Muirthile and Gabriel Rosenstock).

Louis lived in Australia from 1987 until 1996 where he lectured at the University of Sydney for a time. He also presented an Irish radio programme in Melbourne, before returning to Ireland in the late 90’s.

In 2000, he was awarded the prestigious Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award, the first poet writing in Irish to do so.

Learn more about Louis and find his work here:

Free Irish Learning Resources Guide

Whether you are just starting out or have already begun your language learning journey, I have compiled a collection of resources that should help you along the way.